Mack Wilds is taking the music industry by storm! After a successful run playing Dixon Wilson on 90210 for five years, the actor-turned-singer-songwriter just released his debut album, New York: A Love Story. It’s a definite chart-topper!
Celebrity Teen Scoop chatted with Mack about the inspiration behind his debut album, what it was like working with Ne-Yo on the lead single, “Own It,” and what inspired him to make the switch to music. He also revealed that he is “a big kid” who loves playing video games and watching cartoons!
CTS: Tell us about your debut album, New York: A Love Story. What is the inspiration behind the album?
Mack: “The album is about my ode to New York City and my hometown pride, and it also has a bunch of stories about love and loss. The album has all that. I made an album that will take you somewhere and make you feel exactly how I felt growing up New York City.”
CTS: What is the story behind the lead single, “Own It”? What was it like working with Ne-Yo on the song?
Mack: “The first verse in the chorus was written by Ne-Yo, and I worked on the rest of the song Afterwards, we came together and critiqued the song, cleaned it up, and made sure it was super ready. The story is about ‘owning it’– not just doing something, but doing it to its fullest extent. It’s about not just halfway being a writer or halfway wearing something. You have to own it. In the story, the guy is on the top of the world and ‘owning it,’ but he needs someone to share it with. You need someone to ‘own it’ with.
It was amazing to work with Ne-Yo. I worked with him before on Red Tails and I knew him before that. He’s always been like a big brother and I really appreciate his critiques and his mind. He is an amazing person and I appreciate him so much.”
CTS: What were some of the highlights of making the album?
Mack: “I think the whole thing. Making the whole album was the highlight. I can’t just pick one specific moment; it was like a dream to work with SalaAM ReMi and people like DJ Premier, Havoc from Mobb Deep, Pete Rock, James Poyser, james Fauntleroy, Rico Love, and Ne-Yo, of course. Having these people in my corner was definitely a dream.”
CTS: You just performed “Own It” on BET’s 106 & Park. What was that experience like?
Mack: “It was fun! The crowd was definitely so hyped up and gave me all of the energy I needed to do the performance.”
CTS: You performed the song again today on The Wendy Williams Show. Tell us about it!
Mack: “Again, I think I had the benefit of having the crowd that knew the lyrics. Seeing them mouth the words that Ne-Yo and I crafted together perfectly was truly amazing.”
CTS: Most of your career has been in the acting industry. What inspired you to make the switch to music? Who are your greatest musical influences?
Mack: “I always loved music…music was my first love before everything. I started acting when I was about fifteen years old. Transitioning to music was kind of like coming back home and going back to my first love. I am realizing my dream.
In regard to my greatest musical influences, there are many people. We would be on the phone all day. I really admire Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, Jay Z, Rakim, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, of course, and Donny Hathaway. The list goes on and on.”
CTS: You played the role as Dixon Wilson on 90210 for five years. What was your favorite part about being on the show? Are you still close with your 90210 co-stars?
Mack: “My favorite part was just waking up every day and going to work with who I consider the best cast and crew that I’ve worked with in a long time. It was amazing. Every day felt like going to school and I never wanted to miss a day.
I am still close with my 90210 co-stars. We don’t talk every day, but I definitely talk to the cast just to make sure that everyone is good and still on their paths. I want to see what everybody is up to.”
CTS: You also have a promotional tour coming up. Could you tell us about it?
Mack: “I will be running around the nation and making sure that people really hear the music, feel it, and understand what we’re coming with. We’re not playing any games.” [laughs]
CTS: Who would you like to tour with the most?
Mack: “Honestly, I would love to tour with anyone who is willing to make an amazing tour. I would prefer a hip hop artist, but definitely anyone who is willing to make something amazing.”
CTS: What do you like to do in your free time, when you aren’t singing or writing songs?
Mack: “I really like photography and traveling. I also like going to museums for inspiration. I am a big kid as well, so I am a big fan of being in the house and playing with my nieces and nephews, playing video games, and watching cartoons.”
CTS: What advice do you have for young people thinking of getting into the acting industry?
Mack: “Stay persistent. If you really want to do this and are willing to do this without fame, fortune, or anything, just stay persistent. You’ll get exactly where you want to be.”