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The moment Makena Hartlin blended with the music scene, she began climbing the staircase toward success with no signs of stopping. It all began at home, as a young girl, when she found her voice singing along to Disney movies. Even at the age of three, her home setting was not enough to fulfill the passionate desire to perform for audiences. She would sing songs on counter tops at the local banks, for the deli workers in grocery stores, and thrived on her audience’s vibrant applause. As she grew older, she fell deeper in love with music and the art of performance.
Although music was a constant in her life, it wasn’t until the age of 13 that a certain artist hooked her into a genre that would take her further than she could have imagined. Growing up in a quiet suburban town southwest of Chicago would not normally be the typical breeding ground for country singers, but the magic of this genre captured her from the moment the ringing of steel guitars and fiddles, and melodies of Gary LeVox’s voice in Rascal Flatts struck her ears in 2006. The essence of contemporary country music had struck a major chord with Makena, and she began to dig deeper into the roots of this vast, heartfelt area of music.
As an early adolescent, she idolized country queens such as the Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert, and kings such as George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Kenny Chesney, while dreaming of one day being able to grace the world with country music as they did. In her sophomore year of high school, Makena bought a starter guitar from a local music store and was determined to learn how to play it. Overcoming the frustrations of learning an instrument, she taught herself how to play chords to accompany her singing, and immediately began writing her own songs.
Faced with the decision to go away to college or live her dream, she wholeheartedly chose to continue her pursuit of music, with an overwhelming full-speed-ahead attitude. She continued to perform in local singing competitions, winning countless awards and gaining exposure.
Makena played her original songs live for the first time in September of 2012 at a local festival, and from that point on, opportunities came knocking at her door. From December 2012 to June 2013, she has opened for national acts and industry legends such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jo Dee Messina, Mark Wills, Steel Magnolia, John Michael Montgomery, Tracy Lawrence, Joe Diffie, Keith Anderson, The Bellamy Brothers, and various other musicians. In that time frame, Makena wrote well over 100 songs.
Currently, she just debuted her solo EP with renowned producer, Neil Kernon, and continues to perform her music onstage at every opportunity. Her powerful vocals, with a high range and unique clear warm tone, compliment her songs which range from high-energy catchy foot-stompers, to tear-jerking ballads, all lyrical stories with honesty, humor, and the ins and outs, ups and downs of life as we know it. With the power to leave audiences dancing, laughing, singing, or a falling tear, and the passion and drive to give the gift of music to the world, Makena Hartlin has launched a career toward success and “ain’t ready to land”.