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Mackenzie Shiver's 'Rejection Letter' LP Due April 2021

The ten original songs on the LP were co-produced by friend and frequent collaborator, engineer and producer, Kevin Salem.

Mackenzie Shiver's 'Rejection Letter' LP Due April 2021

Singer, songwriter and pianist, Mackenzie Shivers is set to release her third full length album, Rejection Letter, on April 2nd, 2021. Shivers retreated to Cape Cod as the pandemic hit to seek refuge from her home in New York City and armed with an old guitar purchased by her great-grandmother, gifted to her by her father, the pianist experimented with alternate tunings guided by Laura Marling's online guitar tutorials. Released from the pressure of touring and promoting, she unexpectedly wrote a batch of songs that would become the foundation for Rejection Letter.

The ten original songs on the LP were co-produced by friend and frequent collaborator, engineer and producer, Kevin Salem (Rachel Yamagata, Lenka), and feature performances by Yuka Tadano on bass, drummer Cody Rahn and lush string arrangements by Oliver Kraus (Sia, Adele, Florence and the Machine.)

Rejection Letter's soundscape is bolder and braver than past projects digging into more personal, lyrical territory that includes the expression of female anger, questioning the contemporary world, deciding to have a child and struggling to conceive, and the desire to help others feel less alone in their uncertainties and fears. This album is Shivers' way of speaking up, speaking out and embracing her rebellious spirit.

"Before I made this record, I had poured my heart and soul into an artist grant that I was really hoping would help fund the album," says Shivers. "I remember so well receiving the 'please try again next year' email, and I was gutted. This business comes with a lot of rejection, and I hold myself to very high standards, so that can create a very unpleasant headspace. I soon realized that 'Rejection Letter' reflected much more than my dismissed grant application. It represented my outlook on life and what is happening in our country, in the world."

Shivers' cinematic, moody, and honest electro-acoustic songs touch upon fears of global warming and bringing a child into a world that may be uninhabitable ("Afraid"), a thought provoking stroll through London's Primrose Hill during Brexit ("The Roses"), an exploration of anger, "I'm trying to get mad, but I'm afraid of anger," ("Martha's Vineyard"), all of the questions that come with deciding whether or not to have a child and the daunting tick of the biological clock ("Mess"), cancelling a tour overseas in March of 2020 as the threat of the pandemic hit home for the entire world ("Blistered Sun"), social injustice and political unrest featuring backing vocals from Shivers' mother, sister and husband ("100 Miles"), being hard on oneself and the struggle that comes with it ("Butterscotch"), struggling to conceive ("Kids"), the fruits of studying Laura Marling's open D Joni Mitchell guitar tuning and the songwriter's first foray on writing on the guitar ("Gold"), and it wraps up with the title track, written on the way home from a session at Salem's studio in Woodstock about not receiving a much desired artist's grant ("Rejection Letter.")
While writing songs during a pandemic wasn't difficult, recording an album under these circumstances was challenging. "Usually, when making an album, I spend four days with my band recording everything live," says Shivers. "This time, I spent a week recording solo with Kevin Salem. We were almost always in separate rooms or masked and socially distanced. We really dug into the material and gave the piano, guitar, and vocals more quality time and attention than I'd ever given them before. Some songs ended up exactly as I had always pictured them, and others we turned on their heads."

"The work we put in that week laid the groundwork for the rest of the band to collaborate remotely. Cody Rahn tracked drums with Kevin for a couple days and I was patched in over Facetime. Then Yuka Tadano tracked bass the same way. The strings were recorded by cellist Oliver Kraus in LA. All the while Kevin and I were arranging and adding in weird sounds from our respective homes. He created some really cool soundscapes with his electric guitar, computer, pump organ, you name it. He was also giving me a Protools crash course over was great. We made it work, and we had a blast."

"I'm proud that I found a way to make this record during a very scary, chaotic, uncertain time. I wanted to make something that would give my listeners permission to get angry, to commiserate. My goal is always and ultimately to remind people they're not alone," says the songwriter. "I feel like this is me at my best and most complex to date. You get to see new sides of me through this music - a darker, moodier, sometimes angrier side. But it's still whimsical. It still balances that dark with the light."

Prior to Rejection Letter, Mackenzie Shivers has released two full length albums, 2014's Neverland and 2019's The Unkindness, and three eps, 2016's Living in My Head, 2017's Ravens and 2019's Holiday EP, Midwinter. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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