McKenzie Eddy is busy. Charleston's own tomboy, hip-hop songstress and impresario, promoter, curator, coffee-peddling, big-picture thinker is currently working on two different albums while running her King Street shop King Dusko, programming eclectic late-night entertainment, and forging partnerships with her Upper King brethren. She's recently finalized New Year's Eve plans for King Dusko that involve early evening hors d'oeuvres and acoustic performances followed by a late-night performance with Angie Aparo at Rarebit.
Eddy rose to prominence after graduating from the University of South Carolina and moving to New York, where she became Damon Dash's assistant and then president of his label, BluRoc Records. She eventually helped mold the entire aesthetic of Dash's media collective, DD172. Concurrent with that, Eddy was launching a music career . In 2011, she released three collections and two in 2012, including the 14-track soul-hop/electro-folk LP, Slow Your Horse Down, Son, and the self-titled debut of her acoustic duo with Jamaican-born singer/songwriter Kat C.H.R., the Canary.
At the moment Eddy's collaborating with Aparo on music she describes as "'70s Nick Drake-ish" stuff. She and Aparo met at a Cranford and Sons show on Hilton Head, and they've been working on the album for six months. They hope to have it finished by the end of the year and out sometime in 2014 with a tour in the fall. They've brought along a variety of guests, including John Cranford and Ben Fagan.
Not surprisingly, Eddy speaks highly of Atlanta-based Aparo. "He's got such an involved process, more so than anybody I've worked with," she says. As for the forthcoming LP, she says. "It's something totally different than anything I've done before. We're feeding many elements into it that I really can't talk about just yet. It's going to be really cool. It's definitely the most artistic thing I've ever done."
Aside from that, Eddy's also self-producing a solo set with her frequent collaborator drummer Quentin Ravenel of Ben Fagan and the Holy City Hooligans. "It's just some stuff I'm writing on piano, and it's very cool because it's one of the first things that I've totally undertaken to produce myself," she says. "It's like James meets Sade."
Eddy's more recent efforts have drifted toward dreamy pop and folktronica and away from the hip-hop on which she cut her teeth. However, her tastes have always been broad, and it's not like she's ruling out a return to her earlier style. "I don't have anything against doing that. I just kind of let my life drive my heart," she says.
The prolific Eddy has also recorded a record with the Disco Biscuits' Mark Brownstein that's just sitting in the can. The pair would love to release it, but they'd also like to find some time to go out and support it. The hope is that time will come sometime next year.
Until then, Eddy will keep on doing what she has been doing, and that includes running her King Street shop. Not surprisingly, she encourages her employees to seek out artistic pursuits of their own. "I've told everyone here, and just in general, I don't want you to be here because you want to sell coffee. I want you to be here because you want to figure out a way that utilizes the space for your own artistic benefit, and that's the point of it," she says. "That's something that I learned from being in New York and from Damon for sure. He always did that for the people around him. He did that for me, and that's allowed me to do what I'm doing."