Mary C and the Stellars Talk "Right on Time" and Premiere "Out of My Mind"
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 17:06:34
Mary C and the Stellars are bringing soul back.
On her Right on Time EP, the New York chanteuse strings together sultry and silky sonic tapestries that are as wild as they are warm. Her voice hits instantly with true natural power, and the songs themselves fashion a unique and undeniable gem in Right on Time. You've got to hear it to believe it….
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Mary C and the Stellars talk Right on Time and premiere "Out of My Mind"!
Listen to the song below!
What ties the Right on Time EP together for you?
I grew up in New York. Growing up here, there are so many influences around you constantly. There are all different types of music. I grew up in a house of musicians and artists. My mom is a jazz singer now, but she started as an R&B singer. I was always listening to a ton of soul music and funk. My brother was always playing old school hip-hop, prince, and rock. My palette was very eclectic, to say the least. There's a little bit of everything in New York too. I wanted the EP to represent New York. I felt like the common thread to tie it together would be soul—whether it's soul rock, soul funk, or blues mashed with soul. Basically, the hope is that it's a soulful album. It's still eclectic at the same time. I think it's very representative of myself and the city I love and was raised in.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
It is. I started writing songs really young. I still have my Pink Panther journal/songbook from when I was in Kindergarten, if you can believe that. I was always writing when I was a kid. I was fascinated with music and being able to be a storyteller and using music as the vehicle. I always focused on my songwriting. I felt like, more than anything, that's what people would connect with. Initially, I thought I was writing for women. As we're touring more, I've noticed that there's a ton of men in the audience too. The age range is very wide. It's everything from young teenagers to 55-year-old guys in the back that are connecting with the lyrics in the songs. Connecting as a storyteller is the greatest feeling any songwriter or artist can have. The writing is obviously the dearest and most special thing for me. I wanted to be able to tell stories.
What's the story behind "Out of My Mind"?
I was recently having a conversation with a couple of friends who aren't from here, but they moved here. We were talking about how the days when artists could just pick up and move to New York City and make it on a dollar and a dream are long gone. It's a grind and a struggle. It's something that I think everyone has related to that—no matter how successful they are. Whether you're a performing artist or not, it's one of the songs that's more about the grind of everyday life, still having this dream or goal, and losing it a little bit mentally. I think everybody can relate to it. You could be sitting in a cubicle looking out the window and thinking, "God, I have to get out of here". It's that mental escape that's teetering on a breakdown but not quite yet.
Where did "Paper Moons" come from?
That's a little bit of poetry. Obviously, I'm a huge blues fan. I listened to a ton of blues growing up. My mom's a jazz singer, and I grew up listening to blues and all of that. I'd fallen in love with the idea of a "Paper Moon". It was a visual reference for me, but it turned into a little bit of a love song. You're loving something from far away. This is the imagery of it. It's somewhat abstract and different from my literal songwriting. That's what the blues is. Blues is about the feel and the emotion behind the song and the melody versus the literal meaning behind each lyric. It's one of my favorite songs to perform.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies what would be the cinematic equivalent?
I never even thought about that. Wow, that's a good question. I'm a movie lover. I grew up around the film world. My brother is an actor. My second home was on set. My parents had to be on set with my brother when he was younger so I'd get dragged along. Movies and music definitely go hand-in-hand. My music is the soundtrack to my life. I don't know how to correlate it. I was in The Breakfast Club! When I see old movies from the eighties that I love and this generation falls in love with, I think there's something about The Breakfast Club that's still so relatable to every single person. There's something in each of those characters that people find within themselves in some way. At the end of the day, they all want to get the hell out of detention. I write about that escapism and wanting to get out of your head a little bit and just dream and follow those dreams. I tend to write in that direction. It's real and relatable, but there's a fantasy element to it. I'm not sure though [Laughs].
You were in The Breakfast Club?
I was! My brother is Anthony Michael Hall. My mom had to be there because he wasn't eighteen. John Hughes needed someone to play the role of my brother's mom and his little sister in the scene where the kids get dropped off. That's literally my mom, myself, and my brother in that opening scene. I can't tell you how true to life that is with my mom yelling at the two of us to stay in check and keep in line [Laughs]. It's funny.
Have you heard Right on Time?