It started with a map…

 

So this is happening on my computer right now.

 

As you know, I’ve been in the studio since July working on the album. As you also know, we wrapped up production on it last month. As you may have heard, I’ve been planning the album release tour since September, and it’s beginning to take some nice shape if I do say so myself.

But what you probably don’t know is how these things get put together when it’s an indie artist like myself. So I figured I’d let you know how I fill my days, and how I end up traveling so much.

 

Usually the first question that I get from people when I talk about the album or tour is “How do you pay for all this?” 

To answer that – I work a lot. When I was just starting out in the business I used to try to act like I was making all of my money from musical pursuits, but let’s be real here – that’s not true. In a way it was – when I was living in Philly, my source of income was shows, teaching voice lessons and singing funerals for nearby churches. Out here, it’s performances, teaching voice lessons, waiting tables, transcription work, film production jobs, etc. Whatever it takes to get the album finished and the tour funded. For the album, of course, I did an IndieGoGo fundraiser and raised just over $5,000, about 1/3 of the cost of creating the album. And that’s doing it “on the cheap” with gracious discounts from talented friends and referrals. I am SO grateful for my generous donors because it lightened the load and made creating the album the way that I wanted to much more possible.

But if we’re being realistic, it’s just a damn expensive pursuit. So here I am, temping as a receptionist, writing this blog on my lunch break.

 

You can see why independent musicians (like myself) get upset when people think that they should get music for free. I’d love to make that music for free, too. But everyone deserves payment for their expertise – studios, engineers, musicians, instruments  – the list goes on. And that’s just production. Once that’s done, it has to be mastered. There’s design work. Photo shoots. Reproduction costs. Shipping costs. Promotion costs. Merchandise costs. It costs to put it up for sale online. It costs to run the website. It costs to have your domain name. It costs to copyright your material. Not to mention the usual – rent, food, phone, insurance, etc.

And without a label, all of that cost falls on the artist who, until a cd is purchased, is not getting paid.

 

This is not a complaint, mind you. It’s an explanation. This is the profession and life I’ve chosen for myself. One I Love with all of my heart. But there’s nothing easy or cheap about it. And sometimes I think people get hung up on the “glamorous” side of it. The things that I feel extremely lucky for, which is all of the interesting and different day-to-day experiences, the people I get to meet and the places I get to see. But while it may look like a carefree life, it is an extremely tiring road that continuously tests you. Not one of the beautiful musicians that I know is “living like a rock star.” They’re living so they can do what they love. And I find that to be a most admirable way to live.

 

The next question I get is usually “Do you have a manager?”

I do. Her name is Mary Scholz. 😉

 

“Well do you have someone that does your booking for you?”

I do. Her name is Mary Scholz. I currently manage myself and do my own booking, and have been working this way for the past 7 years. When I’m working on a tour, I map it out first, literally on a map, as well as a calendar, and then start contacting venues and booking agents in the cities I’ll be stopping in. Sometimes I’ll contact another songwriter from that area. Sometimes a friend will put me in touch with someone they know in a town that’s new to me. We work out show details, artist cut of the door charge, etc.

Then I save. Gas. Tolls. Food. Drinks with friends. The occasional site see cost.  And I rely on the generosity of the people who open their homes to me to cut out hotel costs. And I rely on the promotional work of the awesome fans in each city who invite their friends to come to the show. And that’s how I get to meet so many new people. And that’s how I get to sit on stage and talk about life, love, loss, loneliness and laughter.

And I’m GRATEFUL for it all. Grateful that I’m able to work. Grateful for the jobs that I acquire. Grateful that I live in a country where I, as a woman, may freely pursue the life I want to lead. Grateful for the talented artists who have donated their time when I was in crunch time crisis mode with the budget. Grateful for YOU because you’re still reading.

I’m not sure what my point is anymore. I look at that map and it is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It’s a lot to save for. It’s a lot to do solo. But it’s going to be amazing. I’ve got a publicist on board for this tour and already so many amazing hosts lined up for cities that I can’t wait to return to, and cities that I can’t wait to introduce myself to. And I’ve worked 9 shifts this week at three different jobs and I’m about to fall asleep.

 

And I think I just wanted to chat about what’s been going on in the world of Mary Scholz.

Did you make it through? You deserve a gold star. Also, I love you. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Album Teaser!

I can’t believe I didn’t post this already – here’s a teaser clip of the darkest song on the album. It’s called “One More Day,” and it’s about being addicted to the pain of being with someone. Just me, a piano…and some beautiful, beautiful cellos.

It’s a rough mix, no mastering…but I just couldn’t wait for you to hear it.

Written by Mary Scholz
Cello arrangement by Chris Thomas
Tracked by Stewart Hidalgo and Chris Thomas
Mixed by Brandon Slavinski

(Okay I didn’t record this song on that piano in particular – but I did record the last song of the album on it…that you’ll have to wait for…)

Album Pre-Production – Brooklyn, Baby!

Hi Friends! (Written Feb. 9th)

 

I’m writing you from a snowy Saturday morning here in Brooklyn. The winter storm “Nemo” rolled through last night and left Brooklyn fairly quiet this morning. Of course you can’t keep New York quiet for long – they had the streets plowed and the sidewalks shoveled in no time. Everyone might be moving a little slower today but they’re still up and at-em.

 

I arrived in New York on Wednesday and have been working with my good friend Nathan on arrangements and pre-production for the album since Thursday morning. Some of you may remember him from my previous two EPs – he co-produced and played on those!

 

 

I’m already so excited to share what we’ve been up to – and yet there’s still so much work ahead. It’s funny how some songs, even though you wrote them yourself, still seem to hide from you. Some of the tracks are exactly what I’ve imagined for them – and some of them have surprised me and found their way to be completely different, both in tone and instrumentation. But I’ve learned that the melody and lyrics lead you – and I’m so inspired by what is finding it’s way out.

 

 

It’s going to be a long but awesome process, and I hope you’ll all be along for the ride. 🙂

 

 (out in the snow in Brooklyn – taking a break from our work!)

“The Girl You Thought You Knew (I’m Sorry Baby)” – Acoustic Version

NEW MUSIC MONDAY!! I’ve been talking a lot about this upcoming album – here is a look at what’s to come. This is an ACOUSTIC version of the first song that will be full band on the album. We’ll be kicking off fundraising soon, so here’s a taste of the new stuff! Please enjoy and share! (Thank you to the awesome Brian Alan Plummer for directing, shooting AND editing, Brandon Slavinski for his skills in the studio and Mark Strand and Ariel Delgado for their help at the shoot!)

Music and Lyrics Written by Mary Scholz

Lyrics:

I’m sorry baby but I tried
Sorry for telling you those lies
Sorry for messing with your mind
I never meant to make you cry

You say you can’t believe the things I do
Can’t believe the words I say
But I’m just trying to catch the truth
So I can throw the scars away
Well you had your distance to review
You had your miles in the way

I’m sorry baby but I tried
Sorry for telling you those lies
Sorry for messing with your mind
I never meant to make you cry

Well I’m not the one you wanna hold onto
I’m just the one who got confused
Your eyes they can’t see through the bruise
From the girl you thought you knew
Well my lips are twisted and refuse
To find the words to say to you

I’m sorry baby but I tried
Sorry for telling you those lies
Sorry for messing with your mind
I never meant to make you cry

You were everything, everything, everything
And I came so close to being, close to being, close to being
All the things that I’m supposed to be, supposed to be, supposed to be
But am I supposed to be for you or just for me?

I’m sorry baby but I tried
Sorry for telling you those lies
Sorry for messing with your mind
I never planned to say goodbye

My Life Under the Covers – As Long As You Love Me – The Backstreet Boys

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz

Song Four: 

“As Long As You Love Me” by The Backstreet Boys

(written by Max Martin)

The Song that Taught a Girl to Stand Up for Herself…and that she was More Than Good Enough…


You knew this was coming…
Anyone who knows me well or has had a conversation with me about my musical influences through life knows that I was and will always be a die-hard Backstreet Boys fan.

And I’ll tell you exactly why.

I was first introduced to the Backstreet Boys at the age of 12. My friend Jillian was a fan. We had just finished the 7th grade. The songs were catchy. The boys were cute. And I got to go to my first concert since James Taylor when I was much younger. I made a sign that read “Brian I hope your heart Quits Playin Games” and thought I was the most clever girl in the world. (Brian Littrell had a heart murmur due to a hole that he had…in his heart…their first big single was “Quit Playin Games With My Heart…”)
We sang along and knew all of the dance moves and had an amazing time.

That’s the surface level reason.

Not only were their songs well crafted (thank you Max Martin), their harmonies tight and their shows incredible entertainment, they showed up in my life just when I needed them most. And they have continued to do so over the years.

As a kid I definitely went through bouts of depression. No one knew about it – I was very, very good at hiding it. There were many reasons for this – I felt largely out of place. Artsy in a school and neighborhood of athletes. Italian/German mix in a school with hard core Irish Pride. Glasses. Braces. Frizzy hair. I got picked on for having long hair when it was cool to have a short ‘do. I got made fun of for having crushes on the nicer, less popular boys in the class. I stood up for those boys when they got picked on but still was largely unrecognized by them. I felt guilty for having anything but gratitude and happiness towards life as I had been blessed with a loving family and a really nice, safe childhood. Being aware of this made me even more sad.
Despite the blessings, I had some rather dark moments.

I have always been aware that for whatever reason, I have been given the ability to experience intense joy and intense sorrow – usually coupled together, which I always found confusing. And I knew that there were so many more kids who had such difficult lives and struggles, so I felt…guilty. And invisible.

So where do the Backstreet Boys fit in? Well, if you’ve ever listened to any of their music, you’ll notice that most of their songs are geared towards placing them in the role of the guy on the outside, who sees a girl in pain and swears he’ll love her more than whoever is making her sad. A genius marketing tool as far as this adult music business individual is concerned. The 12-year-old-girl listened and believed.
She knew that those boys weren’t singing those songs to her…but she also knew it meant that somewhere, someday, someone would feel that way about her.

And somehow that was enough.

They also taught me to stand up for myself.
When I was in grade school, everyone listened to rap. I had no problem with it, but I just wasn’t digging Biggie Smalls the same way as I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs to BSB. So when we were assigned to cover our notebook with photos of things that inspired us, I included them. Kids laughed.
“The Backstreet Boys?!”
“Weren’t they here over the summer in concert? What did you go to their show too?”
(laughter)
I didn’t laugh it off or deny it as I might have before.

“They were – of course I did. We sat in the second row and it was AWESOME.”
(Silence)
Then, a popular girl, and I assume closet BSB fan…wide eyed…
“You sat in the SECOND ROW…?”
“Like I said. Totally awesome.”

I remember feeling so empowered by not backing down from who I was to appease people who thought they had a right to decide how I should feel about things.
Never mind that we sat in the second row of a section not exactly in front of the stage…
I made my point. My name is Mary. I have my own opinion and I don’t give a crap if you have a problem with that. Kids actually started treating me differently after that.

Theirs was the first cd I bought when I bought my first cd player. In keeping with tradition, every time I have gotten an iPod or any kind of music player…theirs is the first music I load on or listen to on it. It’s a lucky charm of some sort of mine.

They continued to release albums coinciding with difficult times in my life – deaths in my family, bad breakups, strained relationships…and they’ve always reminded me to be myself and keep looking forward.

So I will never deny them as a musical influence or their impact on my life. As a singer/songwriter it’s “cooler” to claim all of the amazing folk music influences that I do truly love…but I’ll always be completely honest about what a big deal this boy band was and is for me.
I’ve seen them in concert every summer that they’ve toured (minus this recent tour with NKOTB due to my travel schedule) and I will continue to buy their albums and be grateful for the fact that they saved a very sad 12 year old girl.

I picked “As Long As You Love Me” simply because it is my favorite.

And Max Martin, who wrote this song…well he’s the man behind the boys. Genius song writing – his (very shortened) list of hits speaks for itself.
Songs co-written by Max Martin:
Backstreet Boys:
As Long As You Love Me
Quit Playin Games With My Heart
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
I Want it That Way
Larger Than Life
Shape of My Heart
Robyn:
Show Me Love
N’Sync:
Tearin Up My Heart
I Want You Back
It’s Gonna Be Me
Britney Spears:
Baby One More Time
You Drive Me Crazy
Oops!…I Did it Again
Stronger
Bon Jovi:
It’s My Life
Complicated
Celine Dion:
Love Is All We Need
Faith
Kelly Clarkson:
Since U Been Gone
Behind These Hazel Eyes
Daughtry:
Feels Like Tonight
Katy Perry:
I Kissed A Girl
Hot n Cold
California Gurls
Teenage Dream
Last Friday Night
The One That Got Away
E.T.

You get the idea….

My Life Under the Covers – “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz

 

Song Two:

“Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of James Taylor is my Dad. He always loved singing along in the car wherever we were headed. Like Amy Grant, I don’t remember the first time I heard one of JT’s songs, but they are intertwined in so many of my childhood memories.

 

Ah, childhood memories.  This one brings me back to the summer, too.

 

I have various events in mind, the first one being my very first concert, which was at the E Center in Camden, New Jersey (now the Tweeter Center).  I remember sitting on a blanket on the grass enjoying our lawn seats and watching the people all around. It was most definitely the start of my insatiable need to be at big events – I love the communal feeling of hundreds of people gathering together in the name of a mutual love (usually music) and kicking back and relaxing. Or not relaxing for that matter. Dancing, laughing, protesting (depending on the large event I was attending – I just love to be amidst the power of a gathering of people.) Live 8 was incredible for me (Philadelphia, 2005) – thousands of people gathered to listen to music and raise awareness of world issues? Bring it ON.

 

But back to the E Center…I remember feeling bad for my Dad who shuffled off a number of times to buy food or drinks for us three kids while my Mom kept an eye on us – we were so young! I knew that he was the one who wanted to sit and listen the most, even though he never said a word of complaint.

 

I also remember loving to listen to him sing, and loving how my Mom’s response would be “if you had pursued singing you’d be famous like James.” People love to hear my Dad sing. He cantors at our church every Sunday and is always greeted afterword by warm comments from congregation members about how they love knowing he’ll be the one going up to lead the song.

 

He plays the guitar like JT too – always so protective of that beautiful old Martin he has.  Dad (and Mom) bought me my first guitar (a Takamene), taught me how to string it and tune it, and showed me some of his tricks.

 

The reason I selected “Carolina in My Mind” is because as a kid (from maybe the 4th to the 7th grade) we would vacation in North or South Carolina, depending on the year. We always drove, and many of those long hours were filled with sing-a-longs. Most vividly I remember singing with every James Taylor album and the soundtrack to the animated Disney movie “Tarzan.” It’s the reason for the line I wrote in my own song, “Find Myself,” which reads as follows:

“Carolina, where have you gone?

Nights when the moonbeams shined so strong

And all of my days were filled with song…”

 

FUN FACTS about “Carolina in My Mind”:
James Taylor wrote and recorded this song in 1968 while he was recording at Trident Studios in London for Apple Records (Label of the Beatles).  He was writing about being home sick for North Carolina.

 

The line “A holy host of others standing around me now” is in reference to the fact that the Beatles were recording The White Album just a few rooms over.

 

The original recording, released as a single and then later re-recorded for his Greatest Hits album, credits Paul McCartney on bass and George Harrison on backup vocals.

 

Awesome. 

 

After watching the video I’m sure some of you are wondering who that other family is! Well my best friend growing up, Maggie, moved to Georgia when I was in the 5th grade. So our families would meet up in the Carolinas for vacation – it was always a total blast 🙂 Love to the Scholz and Kelly families!

My Life Under the Covers: “Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz

 

Song One:

Baby, Baby by Amy Grant

It’s hard to say when my affection for Amy Grant music started – as long as I can remember I was singing along with her. In the car, on my tape deck (yeah tape deck!), with my Mom and most specifically with my cousins Joe and Mary Liz and my Aunt Maureen.

 

I can remember riding in the back seat of my aunt’s station wagon, headed past a big green grassy field somewhere in Delaware on a hot summer day, headed for the yard sales we had found and circled in the newspaper.  I’m not sure how old I was, but it was right after Amy’s “House of Love” album came out and we were singing along with THAT tape. If I close my eyes I can still feel the warm wind whipping past my hair through the windows as we sang along.  I may still have the empty Coke-a-Cola bottle that was painted all different colors – my big find at the yard sales that day.

 

“Baby Baby” was released as a single on January 18, 1991 , putting me in the first grade.  The album name was “Heart in Motion” – by far my favorite Amy Grant album. (That and “A Christmas Album,” released in 1983…pre-Mary!) “Heart in Motion” was released in March of ’91 and went on to sell five million copies by the end of ’97. It was Amy’s first non-Christian album (although it did see those themes occasionally throughout). I recently purchased it on vinyl – you could say I was semi excited to find it hiding in the heavy metal section of a record store in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

 

There are so many songs on that album that I love, but I chose “Baby Baby” because it was the first song I heard off of the album that would eventually become one of my all time favorites.

 

I had the opportunity to see Amy in concert a few years ago – and by that I mean my Mom and Dad took me for Christmas J – she was phenomenal.  It was the anniversary tour for “Lead Me On,” the album that preceded “Heart in Motion,” so they didn’t play any of my very favorite tunes….but her encore was “Tennessee Christmas” off of “A Christmas Album,” so I was pretty darn pleased about that.

 

I used to love watching Amy in interviews – I most specifically remember her being on Oprah alongside Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (two other musical influences of my childhood) and talking about how she didn’t feel she belonged up on stage next to these two huge voices. But it was something about the subtlety of her voice that was so appealing to me. You could just feel her through it.  And I remember singing along and feeling like I could feel my own emotion in it. Back in the purest, “I sing in front of the mirror because I can’t get enough of it” days.

The Arts Saves Lives – Help Save the Arts

It’s taken me two full weeks to figure out what I wanted to say about this. I’ve written many versions of this blog, but when I woke up today I realized what it was that I really wanted to say. It’s not going to be very eloquent – in fact I think it’s going to get a little choppy. But I just want to get to the point.

 

The Arts saves lives. It has continually, throughout my entire life, been an irreplaceable outlet for me. It has saved my life numerous times.

 

The world knows me as a positive, happy person. Which is the truth. But I have my undercurrent of sadness and  points of depression. And one of the things that continually came to my aid in these times was the arts. Music. Acting. Painting. Writing. I don’t know where I would be today without them. Certainly not living the life I am or pursuing this career. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be as happy, or feel as fulfilled. I was made to do these things – born to lead a life pursuing the arts. What would have happened if I was never provided with the education that taught me just how to use the things I felt inside of me?

 

What about the kids who maybe aren’t born to pursue a career in the arts but learn how to communicate through music, or find therapy in painting? What about the ones who learn how to make friends because they find common ground with their classmates who also feel the need to be on stage?

 

Education in the arts is not just about learning a craft, but developing crucial communication skills that can and will be applied later no matter what other field a person eventually enters. Additionally, the arts allows a person to communicate not just with others, but with themselves. Learning about yourself and learning to have love and confidence in yourself is one of the most important lessons you can learn in school.

 

As a voice teacher, my favorite moments with students are the ones where you can see them become proud of themselves – proud of their work. No longer afraid to let their voice be heard because they know that it matters. Because it does matter.

 

An arts education provides learning about cultures all over the world. Cultures that our children need to learn about to better understand how our world moves. How economies work. What is held sacred to others. Understanding each other is the only way the world can move forward in a positive way. Learning about passions expressed through art from all over the world helps provide that understanding.

 

You may not connect with another person because you come from two very different locations and upbringings. But what about that moment when you both realize that you have the same favorite song that came to your aid in a time of suffering or crisis. Suddenly you understand something about each other. A huge step towards having compassion for those who are different from you.

 

Education in the arts allowed me to learn about myself, kept me from bringing harm to myself when I was in my darkest moments, and helped bring light to my life every day.

 

Don’t discount the power of education in the arts just because you think it is not applied to life as readily as math or science. It is applied daily, in everyone’s lives – musicians, accountants, engineers, teachers, actors, mechanics. We are all alike – please don’t take away what teaches us that this is true.

Please sign this petition to keep the arts in the Upper Darby School District.

www.saveudarts.org

Grammy Week 2012!

Well, Grammy week 2012 has come and gone and left me completely exhausted! As you can guess it’s a big week in music here in LA – tons of networking events that have you dressing up, running around and meeting a million people. I kind of loved it 🙂

 

Here are a few photos from the week! I had the opportunity to attend the Planet LA/ VH1 Save the Music Foundation Pre-Grammy Party on Thursday, the Renaissance/HMMA Pre-Party Saturday and the Rolling Stone After Party on Sunday!

 

As for the actual award ceremony, I’m making my way there, I’m making my way…

 

Loved all of Adele’s wins – she is amazingly talented and her album is equally amazing.

SO sad about Whitney Houston… she is a musical icon and I will always associate her and a couple of other beautiful women singers with the beginning of my love of song. I’ll get into that in another blog…

 

   

 

Rolling Stone Grammy After Party!