Today we’d like to introduce you to Macy Dot Neal.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My parents realized at an early age that music was my primary language. At the age of two, I was discovered at a local football game after belting out every word of the national anthem, a song my parents didn’t realize I knew. After that night, I began receiving invitations to sing at public events, and my journey began. My parents and I have clocked countless hours on the road — setting up, tearing down, and loving every second on the stage.
Music has always been my passion. Before I had an opportunity to take formal lessons, I created music on my own. I organized flashlights to make stage lights and created videos of me singing and playing the guitar. Later, I began taking lessons. Many nights my parents would make me stop practicing to make sure I got to bed on time, but I would inevitably get caught with my room light still on — lyrics running through my head and me feeling the need to get them on paper. I grew up in Lindale, Texas, at a time when our hometown celebrity, Miranda Lambert, was rising to stardom. I remember my parents, as school district administrators, letting television crews onto campuses after hours to film pieces of Lambert’s documentaries. We borrowed her prom and red carpet dresses to create displays in the school trophy case when she was nominated for entertainer of the year. I sang the national anthem at events where both Lambert and Kacey Musgraves performed.
My guitar teacher, John DeFoore, taught both of them, so I felt personally connected to their stories. While taking piano and guitar lessons, I was also a member of my Junior High Band, where I played percussion. During this time, I was also playing gigs on the weekends where I would perform covers and originals acoustically. I started singing my originals in public at the age of 11. At that time, I was also working with Shawnda Rains, a vocal coach out of Denison, Texas. I was able to meet other young country artists and travel for group performances. In addition, I performed as a finalist in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame John Ritter Showcase for three years, the Nashville Spotlight Showcase at CMA Fest in Nashville for two years, John Rich’s Redneck Riviera Opening Celebration at CMA Fest, Nashville Opry Mills Unplugged Series, and Nashville NAMM at the Kyser Showcase. My family moved to Austin the summer before my freshman year, moving us to the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Some of my Austin area performances include SXSW, Rodeo Austin, ACL parties on South Congress, the cherished local tradition celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Metropolitan Park and numerous local venues, including the historic Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos and Poodie’s Hilltop Roadhouse in Spicewood. Through the years, I’ve been blessed to open for artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Gary P. Nunn, Zane Williams, The Powell Brothers, Randy Rogers Band, Chris Colston, Craig Campbell, Chase McClanahan, Darrin Morris Band, Chrystal Yates, Wayland Hicks, Parmalee, Thompson Square, Riley Redding, Austin Layne, Brother Roscoe, and several others. In addition to playing music, I am also a Varsity Cheerleader at Lake Travis High School in Austin.
Last year I was asked to perform at the pregame event for my school (Cavs Zone) and that’s where I met my producer. I was introduced to Ramy through a mutual friend and he ended up playing drums with me at the event. Soon afterwards, we started working together. He encouraged me to write songs that represented me and what I stand for. I wrote ‘Hot Mess’ with Karleigh Paige, whom I’ve grown up knowing. I had told Karleigh that I really wanted to write a song titled ‘Hot Mess.’ We actually wrote it over the course of two days on zoom. In the beginning, I had no intentions of releasing the song, but once it was finished, I loved it so much that I knew I wanted it to be my first release. We started the recording process and then COVID hit. It delayed the release but honestly made me more grateful that I was given this opportunity. I’ve recently been accepted to Belmont University and admitted to their songwriting program. I will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee, next fall to major in songwriting and music business.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My mom took a position in Austin, the summer before my freshman year, moving us to the “Live Music Capital of the World.” I had to leave my guitar teacher and mentor. And, while I missed my weekly lessons tremendously, his encouragement for my songwriting inspired me to carry on, diving into the next chapter of learning and connections in the Texas Hill Country. Even though moving as a freshman to an entirely new town was stressful, I consider it a huge part of my story that makes me who I am today. I left a place where I lived my entire life and felt connected and established. I have been blessed to have amazing educators pour into my life as a high school student. They have challenged me to grow and have been tremendously supportive of my music dreams.
I am also grateful for the local businesses and venues that have booked me to perform. The last half of my junior year and all of my senior year has been very challenging trying to navigate and accept the “new normal” in our world due to the pandemic. Although it makes me sad that my friends and I have missed out on a lot of the “normal high school experiences,” I am grateful to have music as an outlet. I’ve been given lots of extra time to write and create. 2020 hasn’t been all that bad… I released my debut single, had the honor of being named Young Artist of the Year by the Texas Country Music Association, and I’ve been accepted into my dream college.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a singer, songwriter, musician, and entertainer. I love writing songs, singing, playing guitar and piano, and performing on stage. I love each individual art because they require unique and creative ideas. I started developing a strong passion for writing after I started working with John DeFoore, my guitar teacher. I had always loved writing, but he taught me to write songs that represented me and told a true story from various perspectives. I recently released my debut single ‘Hot Mess’ that I co-wrote with a good friend of mine, Karleigh Paige. We wrote it over the course of two days on zoom. Originally, I had no intentions of releasing the song, but once it was finished, I loved it so much that I knew I wanted it to be my first release. ‘Hot Mess’ was released on October 10, 2020, and within the first two weeks, it gained 4,000+ streams on Spotify and within three months, it was played in over 45 countries and on various radio stations across the world. ‘Hot Mess’ was even featured on legendary radio show host Bobby Bones’ Instagram and recognized as the number one song on an Indie Country Radio Station. The song is realistic, genuine, and relatable… and honestly, a female anthem.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
I think success is accomplishing personal goals you’ve set for yourself. I’ve always been a believer in setting goals and having big dreams. Success can be obtained through many different perspectives, but to me, it’s writing songs that people can relate to, staying authentic, and creating music that makes people feel good.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.macydotneal.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/macydotneal/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/macydotmusic/
- Twitter: Twitter.com/MacyDotNeal/
- Youtube: (username: Macy Dot) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbwgcd-evGe2nCdYrGAOyVg
Main image (hot mess): Eric Spille