If you were watching The Kelly Clarkson Show earlier this month, you might have seen MacKenzie Porter and her band perform, and you might have been mesmerised. 

The Canadian country singer-songwriter sung her touching ballad “Pay Me Back in Change”, accompanied by her six-piece band under a beautiful gazebo. “I’m so damn broke on love / You better cough it up,” Porter achingly sung, her band’s tender instruments perfectly backing her powerful vocals.

Incredibly, this was Porter’s debut TV appearance as a solo artist, yet she showed no outward signs of nerves, her voice pristine and unshaken. At the end, the studio crowd were hugely appreciative, their clapping and cries completely sincere. It was the sort of performance that will inevitably lead to many, many more TV bookings, on The Kelly Clarkson Show and beyond.

Because MacKenzie Porter could be your favourite country artist. Already a major star in her home country, becoming the first woman in the 21st century to have six #1 songs on Canadian country radio, she now has her sights set on the rest of the world.

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She’s already started cornering the US market, for one, scoring a big hit last year with her Dustin Lynch duet “Thinking ‘Bout You”, which soared to the top of the US Billboard Country Airplay Chart. “Thinking ‘Bout You” even fared well on the US Billboard Hot 100, cracking the top 30.

And Australians, who live a country in love with country music, will also find so much to enjoy in Porter’s music.

“Pay Me Back in Change” features on her second studio album, titled Nobody’s Born with a Broken Heart, which also happens to be her first full-length album released on prominent American country label Big Loud Records. Some of the album tracks were penned as far back as 2017, some were made as recently as last year, but what unites them all is their encapsulation of real and relatable experiences, particularly the universal sensation of heartbreak.

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Six years of heartbreaking tales make Nobody’s Born with a Broken Heart an emotional listen, but Porter’s stunning vocals carry all of the lyrics with impressive force.

“The message I want to get across is in life we all have these experiences, whether it’s actual heartbreak in a relationship, work heartbreak, family heartbreak or whatever your situation may be,” Porter said about the album’s major theme.

“You always feel a little broken from different situations that you had envisioned to go a different way in your head, and overall that builds who you are as a person. All of these songs are like little moments of heartbreak for me that have really built who I am proud to be today and that was the whole meaning of the record.”

Porter’s new album has been receiving positive reviews from the country music press. “Porter’s determined talent drives the 19 track collection forward,” hailed Holler., while Building Our Own Nashville said it’s “an album filled with gloriously addictive tracks.”

Listen to Nobody’s Born with a Broken Heart in full below, and find out why it was our Record of the Week at the end of April.

Now that her album is finally out in the world, Porter, who just became a new mother, is gearing up to co-host the 2024 CCMAs alongside US country star Thomas Rhett in her native Alberta.

MacKenzie Porter’s Nobody’s Born with a Broken Heart is out now via Big Loud Records.

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