The moment Makena Hartlin blended with the music scene, she began climbing the staircase toward success. It all began at home, as a young girl, when she discovered her talent 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.
As an infant, her mother would play her lullaby cassette tapes in her crib sung by Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey, Bono, Whitney Houston, Led Zeppelin, and many other musical icons. The combination of early exposure to the greats and a natural given talent would be responsible for Makena's passion later on her life. Throughout her childhood, she would enter many singing contests and win awards constantly, while singing national anthems at sporting events, gaining her experience singing in front of people at a young age.
As she grew to early adolescence, she continued to immerse herself even deeper in a vast spectrum of music including Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and would later idolize constantly transforming artists like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Patty Griffin. With such a wide range of influences and tastes, she was destined to have a unique place in the music world.
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. Makena graduated high school in spring of 2012 with a burning desire to chase her dream with a full-speed ahead attitude. She played her original music live for the first time at a local festival in October of 2012, and she soon found herself in a whirlwind of opportunities faster than she ever imagined. By December 2012, she was on the Congress Theater stage in Chicago opening for Jo Dee Messina, Mark Wills, and Steel Magnolia. Since then, she has opened for numerous industry household names and national touring acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Charlie Daniels Band, Kenny Loggins, Chase Rice, and various other musicians.
Her work caught the attention of legendary producer, Neil Kernon, with whom she recorded and released her first solo EP in summer 2014. She currently continues to perform her music at every chance and thrives on inspiring her audiences. With her powerful, soulful vocals, she compliments her highly emotional tales of the mountain highs and canyon lows of life as we know it with her own unique blend of blues, jazz, and folk inspiration. 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 shows no signs of stopping.