Bluesfest locals: Mack & Ben

July 4th, 2022 by  |  Published in Bluesfest locals, Features, Interviews, News

Mack & Ben - promo

Mack & Ben

The Bluesfest locals series will introduce you to the talented music makers from the Ottawa area performing at this year’s RBC Bluesfest. Come on out early to Bluesfest and discover some great new music!

Mack & Ben

Friday, July 8
6:30pm to 7:30pm
River Stage


MACK & BEN is a groovy, smooth, harmonious and heartfelt pop/soul group fronted by brother-sister duo Mackenzie and Ben Di Millo. Pulling together bits and pieces of R&B, pop, soul, folk, and everything in between, this mixed bag of a band is fresh, fiery, and
full of funk.

Performing as both a ferocious full band, and as an intimate duo – MACK & BEN is an adaptable collective that both grows to fill a room, and contracts to create cozy and contemplative concert experiences. Coming off of a killer recording week at the Tragically Hip’s Bathouse Studio, MACK & BEN are thrilled to be bringing their new tunes and new vibe to the stage this Summer, and to your earbuds in late 2022.

The Talent

Mackenzie Di Millo – Vocals
Ben Di Millo – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Sarah Bradley – Backing Vocals
Stephen Adubofuor – Drums/Percussion
Clayton Connell – Keys
Caylan Penny – Bass
Alex Moxon – Guitar


What was your reaction to the news you’d be a part of Bluesfest and who was the first person you told?
When we received our offer to join the Bluesfest lineup for 2022, we were completely ecstatic. It was such a fantastic feeling to be invited to take the stage this summer, especially after the whirlwind of a time the live music industry has had over these last few years. We were most excited to, of course, tell our band members, and those extra special friends and fans who have streamed, shared, and supported us wholeheartedly on this sweet, groovy, musical journey!

Please describe your sound.
MACK & BEN sounds like sweet and surprising ear candy that stays tucked in the pockets of your mind for weeks. A blend of catchy and complex, Mack’s thoughtful lyrics, and imaginative melody lines (she says modestly!) paired with Ben’s captivatingly creative licks and musical arrangements create the foundation for the MACK & BEN sound. Add in the imaginative spark of Stephen Adubofuor on Drums, Clayton Connell on Keys, Caylan Penny on Bass, Sarah Bradley on backing Vox and Alex Moxon on guitar, and MACK & BEN really comes alive in a playful, groove-filled, head-bop kind of way.

How did you get started on your musical journey?
Mackenzie here. Oh, goodness! Conveniently enough – Ben and I lived one bedroom apart from one another for the first 25ish years of our lives. (If you missed that – we’re siblings!). Growing up, we were so lucky to be consistently surrounded by music at home. Be it Dean Martin, Stevie Wonder, or The Rankin’s – music was always playing, and we were ALWAYS playing along. Our grandfather (Papa – as I’m sure you all can call him too) used to carry a handheld tape recorder with him to, as he would say, ‘capture memories’. He is now in possession of a pretty horrifying recording of Ben and I at two and three years old absolutely screaming the words to The Rankin Family’s “We Rise Again” at the top of our lungs – it is definitely not our most recommended listen! I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened (campfires and kitchen tables were a possible starting point) but we just sort of fell into performing together. From Church solos, to elementary school talent shows, high school assemblies, to where we are now (and everything else in between), we’ve managed to separately explore other groups and genres while still sticking together. There’s a certain undefinable magic that happens when you get to write, play, and share the stage with someone that you truly know so well. We feel pretty lucky to be able to count on the relationship that we’ve built and use it as a foundation for creating sweet tunes with an even sweeter group of musicians and friends.

What can music fans expect from your show? Will you be playing any new music at Bluesfest and/or releasing new music ahead of your performance?
Expect the unexpected! Haha. By that I mean, MACK & BEN was only really starting to rev up when the world shut down. We are coming out of this downtime with a ton of new, honest and authentic music – a fresh and more refined idea of the sounds that we want to share, and an absolutely killer roster of musicians with whom to share them. We will be releasing our debut EP towards the end of 2022, but are really looking forward to testing these new vibes out on a lovely Bluesfest crowd.

What artists are you hoping to catch during this year’s Bluesfest?
So tough to answer! Our inner 10 and 11 year old selves would be ecstatic to know that we are sharing our date with the ever-chill, always cool Jack Johnson – so that’s awesome. It’s difficult to pick just a few, but we’re looking forward to catching Tash Sultana, Raul Midón, and of course, Alanis to start! Such a great lineup – Ottawa is feeling lucky this year!

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