Is It Light Where You Are, her 2021 debut, was a profoundly moving case in point. An album born out of personal turmoil, its subtle yet innate sadness drips from each and every bar to the point of submergence. Soft Landing, however, is a very different animal.
While its predecessor created an effect akin to being underwater, Soft Landing comes with a sense of elevation. The beats are faster, the dynamics more pronounced, the colour pallet bolder. It’s unsurprising, therefore, to discover that Mackey found herself in a very different place to the one she occupied during the making of her debut.
“Everyone always talks about the difficult second record, but this was the easy second record for me,” Mackey tells Headliner as we join her via Zoom from her East London home. That coolness in her singing voice is immediately detectable in conversation, yet there is warmth in her demeanour - a calm contentedness that is in keeping with her current headspace.
“I had such fun making it. The first album was quite a protracted process. I started writing it, then went through a huge breakup, moved, spent ages fine tuning it and producing it, and just as we were about to finish it Covid happened. So, it didn’t come out for ages, and by the time I was touring it I was in another relationship, I’d moved on and my life had changed so much… it was like a very horrible, slow birth.
“With this one I had a real reaction to that, so I gave myself from April to September last summer, booked in studio time and mixing in advance, and was like, I have this summer to make the record and I’m going to put it out. So, it really fed into a lot of the ways in which I wrote and a lot of the production aspects. It became about catching first and second take performances, rather than me spending ages fine tuning and spending a day picking a snare sound. It was about gut instinct and capturing a sense of immediacy. And I still feel really connected to it.”
The protracted process Mackey speaks of resulted in a degree of self-indulgence that she was determined to shed with Soft Landing.