MacKenzie Porter, the opening artist in Capital Hoedown, poses for a photo with her violin in hand.

The first artist in the Capital Hoedown lineup has played for crowds of 10,000 and opened for country star Kenny Chesney, but entering Canadian Idol “would be a lot of pressure,” MacKenzie Porter said during a break in rehearsals Tuesday in Calgary.

“The thought has entered my mind many times,” she said.  “But people would constantly compare Kalan and I,” she said, referring to her older brother and 2004 winner of the singing competition.
At Lebreton Flats today, she is opening again for Chesney, as well as Tara Oram and Doc Walker.

It’s been a year since Porter began performing solo, though she is no stranger to the stage. Raised on a cattle and bison ranch near Medicine Hat, Alta., she’s studied piano, violin and voice for 17 years and toured with Kalan.

After moving to Vancouver to pursue an acting career, she met and partnered up with fellow musician and actor Andrew Jenkins to form the band The Black Boots.

Now she fronts her own band, which is “nerve-wracking and exciting,” she said.

“The last two shows were bigger than I could’ve imagined,” she said.

Porter has been on an upward swing since a young age, both in music and in film.  She won a role in the television series Dinosapieni in 2006 and was recently named one of TV Week’s Top 11 Vancouver Actors in 2011.  

After her performance at Capital Hoedown she plans to spend a few days in Ottawa relaxing with family.

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