Mary Adams is a singer and songwriter raised in a small, rural town in northern New Jersey. She started writing and professionally singing locally at fourteen. For some years, she found herself pursuing adjacent paths of the entertainment industry in her residence of New York City- never actively attempting an effort with her own music. Enter living through existential twenties as well as a pandemic, and eventually, the stifling need to come home to music provided safety when there was nowhere left to go. A versatile repertoire of compelling lyrics, dynamic vocals, and soulful melodies featuring piano, strings, guitar, and beyond, her lullaby-Esque debut single “The Lucky Song” is just a glimpse into this ambitious Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter’s wistful journey of raw expression and abstract storytelling.
Watch the official lyric video of “The Lucky Song” on youtube:
Hi Mary, thanks for taking out time to respond to us. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Mary Adams – I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and performing professionally since I was fourteen. I worked more as an actor since then, but I didn’t seriously start doing the work in the music industry until very recently. Honestly, it can be overwhelming because there is so much to know as an independent artist. Although you have all the information at your fingertips with the internet, it can be complicated and difficult to make a tangible plan. It’s also of course expensive. But I really believe the main reason I abandoned music was that you can’t fail at something you didn’t try. And this was something I just couldn’t fail at. So I slowly but surely pushed through my fears, bought the tools I needed, took an online course with Berklee College of Music, established my own label and publishing company, and put out my first single! Songwriting and releasing music has been my dream since I was a kid and having never showcased any music I wrote beside a handful of live performances, I’m just so excited to share that part of myself now.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Mary Adams – I was using a keyboard that was my mom’s from the ‘90s for years. When I finally upgraded to one that can be recorded as all types of instruments directly into the recording system, I could only afford to get one that plays when it’s plugged into the computer- meaning I wouldn’t be able to travel with it or play with it for live shows. Weeks later, just as I was getting ready to go live with my music, a perfectly good keyboard and stand (with more keys than my own) showed up outside by my little apartment building’s dumpster, signifying it was there for free. I couldn’t believe it, and it was perfect timing.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Mary Adams – When I was eighteen, my voice cracked the first time I sang the national anthem for the Brooklyn Nets. Luckily, you couldn’t really tell in the footage, but I guess the lesson there was practice, practice, practice, and sometimes even when you practice you will still have more improvement and development to do so don’t be too hard on yourself because it’s like that for everyone. And keep practicing!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Mary Adams – I cannot begin to explain how excited I am for my next release. I wrote the music on the piano when I was fourteen and most of the lyrics in my late teens. To revisit such a meaningful song and finally create the product in a way I have only ever heard in my head is an indescribable feeling of fulfillment. And it’s the first time I think a lot of people will hear a part of myself that I don’t really let others in to see. Music is amazing because of the way it can build a connection between people’s experiences. I just hope it can provide comfort and healing the way other music has done for me. That’s always the ultimate goal with songwriting, I guess- hoping it gets to live its own life and tell the listeners’ stories so it becomes theirs too.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Mary Adams – One time I met Henry Winkler. I was like fifteen and I embarrassingly gave him my business card and he reacted as if I hand-knitted him a sweater. He looked at it so sweetly for a moment and said, “Thank you so much!” and tucked it away in his shirt pocket before we hugged. That really stayed with me because he made me feel so important. I know not everyone in the entertainment industry is going to make you feel that way, and a lot is probably going to make you feel the exact opposite. I want people I meet and work with to feel the way I felt with Henry Winkler.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Mary Adams – Listen to yourself and identify what you need, especially if you’re an independent artist wearing all the hats. Sometimes I get so bogged down with the logistical business side of things because I haven’t been creative in a while. Whether it’s being creative, resting, etc.- you won’t be able to accomplish anything if you aren’t listening to what your body and spirit need to continue.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Mary Adams – Failure will never hurt as much as not trying. It was so painful for me to be so disconnected from the part of myself I always considered my identity for so long. Even when I had doubts about how far it could take me (and still do), I never stopped believing in how alive I felt from making and playing music. Focus on your passion and let that drive you to learn, grow, and TRY.
Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind, or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Mary Adams – Planning and physically writing tasks I need to get done is really important to how I operate and focus. So I make regular time to sit down and write the tasks in my planner and when they need to get done. I also need to make time to feel inspired, and I’ll do that by listening to music that excites me, watching interviews about other artists’ writing processes, and messing around with ideas on paper or an instrument. I’m very much a work in progress when it comes to self-care. It can be so hard to carve out a routine when you have so many other things weighing on you. But I’ve learned the hard way that the good stuff can’t happen unless you take the time to replenish yourself.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Mary Adams –
1.) Sometimes, not doing anything is exactly what you need. Sometimes that will go on for a long time. Be patient with yourself. Unlike when I wasn’t allowing myself to be open and share my music, there are times when I just simply can’t write. When I’m not in the right headspace and nothing is coming to me, it’s impossible to force it. Let yourself breathe and validate the off days because they’re necessary too.
2.) Doing more of the thing will you make you better. Just write everything and let it be bad. If you put a filter on yourself, the good stuff behind the not-so-good won’t be able to make it through.
3.) Make a plan. Visualize what you want to be doing, and determine the steps you need to make to get there. If you have a plan and vision in front of you, you’ll always have an established point to remind yourself of the process when it gets tough. And that happens a lot!
4.) Make opportunities for yourself, because no one is going to do that for you- especially at the beginning. Through social media and the internet, you have to keep expressing yourself and making things! Just enjoy yourself, because maybe it will be contagious and others will see your joy and want to follow it.
5.) Everyone feels like an imposter. Just focus on doing what you love. There is no such thing as a “real” artist, there are only people who create. This is a big one for me that I have to keep reminding myself. I do that by focusing on my projects and letting only my own opinion validate my work.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Mary Adams – The motivation I used for actually going through with sharing my music was making the younger version of myself proud. I had such a powerful belief in myself and my dreams, and for that, I want to be more like her: “Everything seemed possible when I looked through the eyes of a child. And every once in a while; I remember, I still have the chance to be that wild.” – Nikki Rowe
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Mary Adams – My parents have never stopped believing for a moment that I could make a career out of being an artist, and they have always unconditionally supported me. They truly allowed me a limitless space to play and create, and I think that played a pivotal role in how I believed in myself. No circumstances of my life would have ever reasonably provided me a path to success as an artist, but they always believed in me pursuing my passion and going for it anyway. I know I’m so fortunate for that. I’ve also been so lucky to have many friends who never stopped believing and supporting me. I could get emotional thinking how crazy lucky I’ve been to have people from different parts of my life looking out for me. I have no idea how to even put this into words, but I am also incredibly fortunate to have my best friend, who also happens to be my fiance, and who also happens to be everything that brings light and pure happiness to my life. (I REALLY can’t wait to share the songs I’ve written inspired by him!) Sometimes, the worst parts of myself can make me feel like I’m very alone. But truthfully, I know that could never be true. I just feel so fortunate to feel the love I do.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Mary Adams – I hope my music can inspire compassion, kindness, and understanding. Whether it’s finding solidarity in shared experiences or understanding the complicated parts of healing as a human, I hope my music can provide a universal space that encourages people to take a pause and see themselves in others.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Mary Adams – It is impossible to name just one person! Taylor Swift, Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Sara Bareilles, and Dolly Parton are some of the incredible artists I admire for their work ethic and artistry. I would love to learn the most important lessons they’ve learned. Also, many of them make music that feels personal to so many people. I’d love to learn the ways they’ve mastered their creative voice and the way they’ve made people feel they have a home in their music.
How can our readers follow you online?
Mary Adams – I’m grateful for social media because it gives me a space to be more “me in real life” as opposed to “me in my music” because the version of myself in my music is much more serious and poised. I’m honestly the most comfortable when I can be goofy and my uncomfortable, anxious self.
You can follow me on Instagram: @itsmaryadams
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