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Biography

Daniel Taylor Mackenzie spent the first nine years of his life growing up amidst the suburban comforts of Westchester County, New York. During these early days little Danny was exposed to the best music his parents’ record collection had to offer: Elvis Presley, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Frank Sinatra and, of course, The Beatles.
 
Although he enjoyed torturing the family with his vivacious sonic experimentations on the piano, Danny’s formal music training actually began when he picked up the “recorder” at age seven. His recorder teacher thought he was so talented on the weird little flute that he recommended that Danny take up the clarinet, and so it was that Mackenzie got stuck with the nerdiest of all instruments.
 
Danny became Dan at age nine when his parents got divorced and he moved to West Germany with his mother, recently acquired stepfather and two brothers. Within a year, a cutie-pie baby sister was added to the tribe! The clarinet lessons continued, but Dan began his secret rebellion by starting his own record collection, which soon ranged from Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel to the B-52’s and UB40 . After squeaking out the required half-hour practice on the clarinet, he still loved to bang on the family piano, which eventually led to his earliest “compositions”.
 
Having returned to the USA to in the mid-80’s to live with his father and attend high school, Dan started getting into 80’s guitar rock bands like The Smiths, R.E.M. and Echo and The Bunnymen . Since, however, the keyboard was his only viable instrument (clarinet? don’t think so…) he was also enthusiastically exploring synth pioneers Thomes Dolby and Kraftwerk.
 
Mackenzie did “perform” at a couple of talent shows in high school, but it was not until he matriculated at Brown University that he set about actually putting his own band together. He soon decided that singing was cooler than playing his cheapo keyboard, so he elected himself lead singer and assembled a group of talented musicians to form “The Casuals” , a hard-partying ska band in the mold of The English Beat.
 
The Casuals just barely survived through freshman year, but Dan had picked up a guitar and learned a few chords, so he spent the remaining three years of carefree college exsistence in a power-trio called Miklos Factor . During this time of musical budding Dan also bought a bass and played a few gigs backing up the brilliant (and now quite famous) Lisa Loeb , who was at the time teamed up with Liz Mitchell (presently singing and writing with her splendiferous band Ida ).
 
Upon graduation Dan transplanted himself to Los Angeles with his new band “Onion” ( a hybrid of Miklos Factor and his friend Dan Seiden’s band “roundband” ), and began life in the real world, insofar as that term can actually be applied to the Southern California region.  After only two gigs, the band was offered a record deal with Michael Douglas’ fledgling label Thirdstone Records , but Dan broke his femur in a motorcycle accident and things got a little messy. The band fired their managers (translate: friends), turned down the deal, and then broke up.
 
Dan returned to New York after less than a year in LA to get back together with his high school sweetheart and form a new band; “HUG”. When the old romance found a more harmonious state as a new friendship, Hug shrugged and Dan found himself lured back to the sunshine and cheaper rents of Los Angeles. There he re-teamed with his original drummer and good pal Anthony Avildsen to form another trio, but great bands do require a certain magical chemistry, and when the two failed to find the perfect third, Mackenzie decided to go solo.
 
Under the tutelage of such unwitting mentors as Joni Mitchell, Sting, Tom Waits and his more recent favorite Ani DiFranco , Dan began honing his chops as a solo acoustic performer and writing more lyrically direct songs. He supported himself by acting in TV commercials and doctoring screenplays for independent films while cutting his teeth in such popular LA clubs as Largo, Troubador, Luna Park and Viper Room .
 
At one point, Dan was offered a production deal by the wonderful Me’shell Ndegeocello , who, though she was initially wildly enthusiastic, ended up flaking out on him. Mackenzie was disappointed but found great affirmation in having garnered the respect of a musician he held in the highest regard, so he forged on. He would occasionally put a band together and record a demo. Then, in a fit of uncontrollable perfectionism, he would disband the band and shelve the demo…
 
Despite putting his career in a holding pattern, this back-to-the-old-drawing-board helped Daniel find his voice (literally)  as a singer and (figuratively) as a songwriter. In the late nineties, he started getting work composing soundtracks for documentaries and independent films. In 2000, Daniel finally took the plunge and recorded his first full-length cd. His debut cd “Shakytown” was shepherded by fBoo Music , an independent label and studio owned by the album’s co-producer Keven Brennan and his wife Robin . Keven and Dan subsequently teamed up for a good stint as soundtrack composing/producing partners.
 
“Shakytown” soon captured the attention of KCRW DJ Anne Litt , who began airing a few of Mackenze’s tracks on her popular program “Weekend Becomes Eclectic” . Dan also had a few song featured in various TV shows, including SHO’s “The Chris Isaak Show”, WB’s “Popular” and FOX Family’s Higher Ground”.
 
   In 2002 Daniel was finally able to put together his own home studio which he dubbed “The Guest House”, because he was, in fact, living in a guest house in the Pacific Palisades. There he continued to generate a modest living as a freelance composer while recording a new album. The latter cd “Good Things” (available at www.cdbaby.com/dmackenzie )is being released in September 2003 by Universal Records in the Philippines (of all places!). 
 
    In early 2003, as Mackenzie began work on his third album, (tentatively titled “songs to learn by heart” ) he was hired by Original Productions to write, produce and perform a theme song for the new Discovery Channel program “MONSTER HOUSE”. Within a week of completing the theme, Daniel was signed on as the show’s sole composer. As the first season winds down, Mackenzie is putting together another new album of songs from MONSTER HOUSE to be released by Discovery/Original Productions in time for the Holidays.
 
In the meantime, the show has been picked up for another season, and Daniel is putting the final touches on his new solo album, which will be available at cdbaby.com while it is being shopped to record labels. Mackenzie currently resides in a tiny apartment in Beverly Hills, and continues to perform locally at The Mint, Temple Bar, Hotel Café and Tangier.