How many times have you heard Journey’s “Faithfully” sung by different artists?
Singer MacKenzie, 31, sang his own version for America’s Got Talent Season 19.
He had already passed the auditions with his rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares To You”, where he received a standing ovation.
And for this judge’s round, he chose to perform his rendition of the classic Journey song.
“Faithfully” was written by Journey keyboardist, Jonathan Cain, in 1983. They were on their tour bus, which was on the way to their next show.
Jonathan Cain woke up with a different kind of inspiration.
Since he joined the band in 1981, Jonathan has been writing most of the Journey songs at that point with Steve Perry, the band’s lead singer. Most of the time, he’d have inspiration for a song come up. He’d start writing it but would almost always ask for help from Steve to finish it.
This time though, Jonathan felt different.
It was the end of one of their shows and he was inside the empty venue. The riggers were disassembling the stage and, as he watched them bring down the equipment, a thought came to mind.
“Man, you know, these guys are sacrificing this time with their families or loved ones to be out here with us. And I started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a song we could sing for all of us, because we’re all missing our loved ones, and all making that road sacrifice?'”, Jonathan shared with the Tennessean.
That thought accompanied him as he boarded the bus and he just had to write it down.
He ended up writing, on a napkin, the first four lines, “Highway run into the midnight sun, Wheels go round and round, you’re on my mind, Restless hearts sleep alone tonight, Sending all my love along the wire.”
Even until he reached his hotel room to sleep, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s why the next day when he woke up and saw the napkin with the lyrics, he started to work on it.
“God gave me that song… I’d never had a song come to me so quickly that it was anointed, supernatural. Literally, in 30 minutes I had written that song. I had the napkin in my pocket and I put it on the piano. I had a big grand piano there by the orchestra. I played through it and I thought, ‘Man, this is good,'” Jonathan told Dan McIntosh. “The Lord gave me permission to finish it. Normally I would go to Steve Perry or somebody and say, ‘Help me finish this song.’ No. God gave me the mind to finish it, and the rest is history. That would be a love song to God, absolutely.”
And it was so fitting that MacKenzie would choose this song for the judges’ cut on AGT.
He told the judges he’s had a bumpy road to get where he was with his singing career. He’s been singing and writing songs since he was eight years old. When he was 18, he entered Berklee College of Music to study perfect his musical styles.
He moved to Los Angeles afterward, where he worked hard to build his musical career as a songwriter, performer, and vocalist.
He got his big break when he was tapped to become the lead singer of the New Power Generation. The New Power Generation is composed of members of the late Prince’s backing band and was formed as a tribute to Prince.
Together with NPG, MacKenzie has traveled and performed for audiences in Russia, Australia, Europe, and the United States.
For the Judge’s Cut, he performed “Faithfully” by Journey, where, once again, he received a standing ovation.
Watch the video below to learn what the judges said about MacKenzie’s soulful performance.
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