Deaf girl feels the beat

Beats are blaring from two subwoofers facing 7-year-old Mackenzie Ripley, a gregarious girl who makes her own music in her dad’s Parkdale apartment. Pressing on the keyboard with a small finger, Mackenzie rolls her chair closer to a vibrating speaker and touches it with an open palm. The room is buzzing with sound — sloppy, slightly off-kilter electronic beats — but Mackenzie cannot hear it. She feels it instead. Born deaf, Mackenzie took an interest in making her own beats when she was only three years old, following a path blazed by her dad, a 31-year-old music producer named Graham Wood. “She grew up in the studio,” Wood says. “I’ve been making beats for a long time, she always saw me messing around with the gear and stuff. She would always feel the vibrations.”

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