Shooting for the stars
This 13-year-old was accepted to the Orange County School of the Arts where she currently attends classes. She and her family made the decision to pursue Mackenzie’s dream to create a future in music, and last year they moved to Irvine so she could study at this specialized institution. Now in the eighth grade, she is beginning her second year in the school’s Musical Theater Conservatory.
Moving an entire family to a new community so that one child can try to reach her dream might seem incredibly difficult, but the Wrap family was in a good situation to make it work. Mackenzie’s parents, Mike and Karen Wrap, have been married for 32 years, and Mackenzie’s two siblings are much older than she. Lindsey, her sister, 27, is an attorney. Her brother, Tanner, 23, is attending graduate school, majoring in Forensic Psychology in Counter Intelligence at George Washington University in Washington, DC. So, Mackenzie and her parents were able to make the move to Orange County a little more easily with Mackenzie being the only young child.
Even so, the challenge of starting studies at a new school where all the students are very talented must have been a tough transition, but Mackenzie seems to have acclimated to the change.
“It’s actually really inspiring and it kind of challenges me to work harder and push myself harder,” Mackenzie said. “It’s really great to be around the same kind of people because you share the same interests and you get to kind of help each other out. It’s a lot of fun.”
Furthermore, the Wrap family was completely convinced that Mackenzie’s pursuit of a musical career was meant to be.
“About five years ago, she must have been about 8, we were awoken in the summer in the middle of the night by her singing the National Anthem at midnight, standing in the dark on her bed,” Karen said. “So, we quickly realized that she really has a passion for singing. It is her love. There’s no doubt about it.”
Unlike most kids, Mackenzie does not prefer a lot of today’s popular music, Karen said, adding that Mackenzie has been referred to as an old soul. Mackenzie, who also plays the guitar and ukulele, loves to sing the blues.
“She loves blues … Ella, Etta, Janis Joplin. Those are some of the people she gravitates to a lot,” Karen explained.
“I just really like the soulfulness of it and it’s just a different type of genre that you don’t hear much of anymore,” Mackenzie said.
In addition to her studies at the Orange County School of the Arts, she travels to take lessons from personal coaches. She has a voice coach in San Diego, a voice coach in Sherman Oaks and an acting coach in Glendale.
Mackenzie has already compiled an impressive list of gigs. She has performed in the “Step to the Mic” competition at the Long Beach Indie Film, Media & Music Festival. She has auditioned for many television shows and plans to audition for “The Voice.” She has performed at the Orange County Fair, the San Diego County Fair and at The Gardenia supper club.
Additionally, Mackenzie has chosen the American Heart Association as a worthy cause to support the best way she can. She has sung the National Anthem several times for Heart Association events, mostly in the Inland Empire region.
Last Sunday, Mackenzie returned to San Diego to perform at Scripps Ranch Marketplace, providing the final performance in the shopping center’s summer series of free, live entertainment on Sundays in August. She impressed the crowd with her incredible voice and confidence. For example, she belted out a stirring rendition of “That’s Life,” a song covered by such musical legends as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, James Booker, Shirley Bassey, James Brown and Van Morrison. Mackenzie’s rendition held its own and the mesmerized crowd was deeply appreciative.
As for Mackenzie’s future ambitions, the sky is the limit.
“I hope to someday be on Broadway but as I go along, I would love to tap into TV and film and maybe even blues and jazz music,” she said.
Learn more about Mackenzie on her Facebook page.