'Crazy Talk Under the Bonsai Tree of Life!'
A few years back, when she was an English major with minors in Religious Studies and Public Relations and specializing in Film (got all that?), Mary Abraham remembers trying to study for finals in her dorm room at Michigan State University and being distracted by an endless stream of songs that kept popping into her head. Shortly after graduation, she snagged “the coolest job in the world,” becoming Events Coordinator and eventually Promotions Coordinator for Detroit 's taste-making Hot AC station, 96.3 WDVD.
A native of Warren , Michigan — hometown of none other than Eminem - Abraham worked at the station for a year and a half, and could have had an incredible career behind the scenes. But there was one beautiful “obstacle” on her road to success: her singer/songwriter muse - cultivated by gigs at East Lansing hotspots like The Riv, Rick's American Music Café and The Blue Note – just refused to let her go.
Now, with the release of her acclaimed debut EP 'The First Five', she's drawing on her incredible experiences in the radio promotion world to launch her own career as an indie artist—with impressive out-of-the-box results.
Chatting recently with Mary, and being that she is a hometown native of Warren, MI - which is quite close to where we operate out of in Berkley - I first wondered where she managed to get out and play in the area? "We really try to play all over – cities like Ferndale, Taylor, Livonia, East Lansing, and even Port Huron. Our next push is to play more on the west-side, like Ann Arbor and Dearborn, and head out to Grand Rapids as well. We haven't played a show in Berkley yet, but hopefully soon!"
You have been quoted as saying that your job as Events/Promotions Coordinator for Detroit's 96.3 WDVD was “... the coolest job in the world” ... please explain what about it made it so?! "I LOVED my job at the station! It was in fact the coolest job in the world because I was around music so much – it played overhead as I worked; I was able to sit in on meetings between my PD and local record label reps as they pitched new songs for possible air-play; I worked with labels on setting up artist meet-and-greets, sound check parties, and ticket giveaways, and I was able to utilize my passion for writing by creating on-air copy. Plus, I got a chance to meet a lot of bands and attend some very fun events. For someone who was twenty-two, just out of college and eager to learn more about the music industry, a job like that was a dream come true!"
Being that this is your debut EP entitled 'The First Five,' I was wondering when the new album 'The Rest Of Them' will be forthcoming?! "Well, I’m not sure if it will be called “The Rest of Them”… but I can tell you that we are working on new material right now and selecting what to include on an upcoming, full-length album!"
Please tell us more about why you hand-picked these five tracks and which one stands out to be the one that encapsulates you at your lyrical best? "I wanted tracks that were all different stylistically but still held some common thread, or motif. Falling in and out of love, and ‘redefining’ myself because of it, seemed to pertain most to my life at the time I was recording. I would say “Entropy” is the track that probably best showcases my lyrical skills. It truly came from nowhere. I sat down one day after having the flu and wrote it. Maybe it was the dehydration – I’m not sure!" [See question 7]
A playful profile on your website (www.maryabraham.com) features a section called “Fun Facts About Mary” ... but what "fun facts" couldn't be admitted to in this section and yet can be mentioned here?! "Something that I couldn’t admit to on my website but I could mention here? Russell, I think you’re fishing for something that’s either sexy or embarrassing… and I think I’ll head in the direction of 'embarrassing' ;) I do have a tendency to wear my crazy on the outside some days and say things that I should probably keep to myself, or, just save for close friends (for example, statements like ‘wear my crazy on the outside’). Just a few weeks ago, I had a guy literally walk away from me in a bar while I was mid-sentence, because I went on for probably five minutes or more about how 'Karate Kid: Part III' was the worst 'Karate Kid' of all; because who would ever believe that the Sensei’s Vietnam buddy, who also happens to be a martial arts expert, could turn Daniel Son to the dark side and save Cobra Kai, all while Mr. Miyagi is attempting to start his bonsai tree store??? Well… you get the picture!"
And, out of curiosity, where was this love for Monster Trucks and WWF born?! "My love for WWF was basically instilled in me as a child growing up in Warren, MI in the eighties. I think I came out of the womb wearing a ‘Hulkamania’ tank top, and then I tore it off. My siblings, cousins, friends, and I were all obsessed with WWF and spent our weekends not only watching wrestling, but watching the wresting cartoons, the Pile Driver videos; eating the ice cream bars; jumping on our beds with WWF sheets and acting out various, cool wrestling moves on one another - as well as our 'wrestling buddies' - like the ‘Figure Four,’ the ‘Boston Crab,’ and the ‘Chicken Wing.’ Monster Trucks came later. I was always curious as to what all the hype was about – why ‘Saturday! Saturday! Saturday! One Night Only!’ seemed to send the kids in my neighborhood into a panic to get tickets to the latest Monster Jam. Just after graduating college (yep, I had my degree at this point and was in fact, an ‘adult’), my friend and I decided to take a road trip to Chicago to see a Monster Truck Exhibit. Upon seeing it, we were hooked. Why? Basically…because monster trucks are cool! They’re big, bright, loud engineering marvels that are somehow personified and jump over cars, kick up a lot of dirt, and do some pretty sweet tricks. Since se! eing the exhibit, I’ve been to my fair share of Monster Jams and even had the opportunity to judge the free-style competition at the last one ever to be held at the Pontiac Silverdome. Quite rad, I must say!"
For fun, and taking the titles of a few of your new album tracks, please let us know:
'Hey Love' - Are you currently in love with any one ... or any thing? "I am not currently in love with anyone – just with making music ;)"
'Someone Like You' - How would you describe yourself in just three words? "Entertaining, Resourceful, and Tall!"
'Entropy' - What ... ?!?!??!?!!? "To put it VERY simply, it’s the measure of disorder or randomness in a closed system. Also, as it pertains to the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics, it is the inevitable deterioration of a closed system, or the universe as a whole, where everything will eventually become uniform. I always loved “entropy” because its inevitability always reminded me of Buddhism’s ‘Four Noble Truths’ in that we must accept 'life is suffering' in order to free ourselves from expectations and disappointment."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "There’s about a hundred. I always wanted to do a cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Strange Love’ and maybe a slower version of Ah-ha’s ‘Take on Me.’ I’ve heard that one punked out and it sounds great – now I would just love to hear it slowed down, too. I’ve sang the Outfield’s ‘Your Love,’ and U2’s ‘All I Want is You,’ which is a great song to sing from a female perspective. Cheesy songs… hmmm… I’m a big fan of Foreigner, Hall and Oates, and Lionel Richie. I think belting out any one of their songs would be a blast!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I LOOOVVVEEE PENGUINS TOO!!!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Mary's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: 'The First Five' songs represent a unique songwriting partnership Abraham developed for a period of time with a fellow MSU student. What is his name?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'MARY ABRAHAM SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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