Three Great Things: Jocelyn Mackenzie

Plus a first look at her great new video, “The Brave Ones.”

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the release of her new video, “The Brave Ones” — directed by Lindsey Augusta Mercer —  shared some of the things that are bringing her joy in these difficult times.
—Josh Modell

1. Clairaudience 

Ever hear a little voice in your head that beckons you to call a friend, and they say, “You called at the perfect time!” Or ever hear a song swirling in your mind that sounds fully formed, but you know it doesn’t exist yet? Those are two common examples of clairaudience, a psychic sense that everyone has access to. It means “clear hearing,” and it’s something I’ve been tuned into since I was a little kid. It’s an extension of my awareness that bridges what I can hear with my physical ears with a more nuanced, sensual, unseen experience of the world. It’s been a major tenet of my songwriting process for as long as I’ve been writing songs, and it’s also a tool I access when offering psychic mediumship readings. To hone my clairaudience, I practice deep, focused listening (next time you drink a seltzer, stop and listen to the bubbles…), meditation, and have delved into a lot of great YouTube tutorials, but sometimes I’m struck with a clairaudient frequency that knocks me off my feet out of the blue. 

Writing “The Brave Ones” was a fully clairaudient experience. I was in the shower one day and the lyrics and melody “I have a geisha in my lung” burst into my head as if someone were standing next to me singing into my ear. I was thrilled — it was such an unusual melody and message, so I let my mind go blank and “turned off my physical hearing” to see if there was anything else for my inner hearing to enjoy. The entire first verse and chorus, lyrics and melody, poured into my ears, fully formed.

This sense is a true gift to me, especially as a songwriter. It allows me access to music that I wouldn’t be able to tap into otherwise. And it means that my songwriting process is portable — I can go anywhere, with no instruments, and all I have to do is get quiet enough to hear the music that is already there. During quarantine it was especially comforting knowing that getting still, going inward, and embracing silence allowed me to feel connected and creative.

2. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

I went to my first Mermaid Parade in 2006, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Of course I was devastated that it was canceled this year due to quarantine, so when my sweet boyfriend asked if I would show him some videos and photos from years past to show him what we were missing, I immediately started to cry. 

The Mermaid Parade is more than a fun freakshow event. It’s a celebration of the divine feminine and a community expression of creativity, diversity, and abundance. It truly is a one of-a-kind atmosphere of inclusion, mutual adoration, and reverence for something greater (and more glamorous!) than ourselves. Everyone there is so ingenious with their costumes and creations, and instead of going up to each other to ask “Where did you get this?” the operative question is “How did you make this?” It’s a celebration of makers, bodies, freedom, self-expression, and individuality. Oh, and glitter and boobies. And hot dogs! And throwing fruit into the sea to welcome summer! Did I mention the glitter and boobs?

I love making things, and I love making things for the body, so as an artist, performer, and professional weirdo, it scratches a lot of itches at once for me. Even just thinking about the Mermaid Parade gets me inspired! I love planning my costume and figuring out how I’m going to make it and what type of mermaid I want to embody each year.

And I dunno, Coney Island seems to be a real apex for oddballs like me to go to relax, so I love that everyone there is just letting it all hang out with no judgement, and nothing but support for the beautiful mermaids of all shapes and sizes that parade by. It’s a blast! We also filmed “The Brave Ones” music video on Coney Island, so I feel like the shoot was my own personal extension of the Mermaid Parade. Fingers crossed for next year!

3. My #BuJo

OK. This feels like kind of a True Confession, and frankly I’m feeling a bit vulnerable right now. But I’ll say it. I love my BuJo. 

BuJo is short for Bullet Journal, which is essentially a customized planner that will easily blow up your Pinterest feed if you let it. The idea is that instead of getting a premade planner with a calendar and space for your daily tasks, you create your own planner around your personal needs… and then decorate it to high hell with adorable fonts and doodles. It can get… pretty nerdy… and my friend who introduced me to the idea last year said, “You’re either going to love this, or you’re going to hate this.” But I unashamedly love it. It helps me feel organized, on top of my stuff, and creative all at the same time. As much as I have a very strong right brain, woo woo life, I can also be very left brained and routined, so having a space that’s colorful and inviting where I get to organize my thoughts and keep my act together is the best of both worlds. 

At the top of quarantine, there of course wasn’t much going on, so I paused my BuJo and strangely felt the loss. But now with the album release there’s been a lot on the To Do list, so the BuJo is back in action — now with Halloween-themed doodles and color palette of course. I even have a daily checklist for my self-care — like, have I meditated, called a friend, gone outside today, or rested? If I don’t put those things on my to do list every day I easily forget (especially resting!), so I love that my BuJo keeps me engaged in my own wellness and creativity at the same time. 

I love my BuJo, but let’s just say, my manager is afraid of it. 

(Photo Credit: Ester Segretto)

Jocelyn Mackenzie is a Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter, percussionist, songwriting coach, artist, and stylist. She will be releasing her first full-length solo album PUSH on January 29 via Righteous Babe Records. The album was written for string quartet, voice, and synth percussion about healing through radical self-love and for this project she collaborated with Sam McCormally, Emily Hope Price, Franz Nicolay, Adam Schatz, Jo Lampert, Barrie Lobo McClain, and more.

(Photo Credit: Ester Segretto)