Atlanta-based and Chicago-bred Mahogany Marie takes a multi-genre approach to creating her powerful and soul-inspired music. She talks with us about influences, struggles...and what keeps her moving forward both in life and with her music.
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi Mahogany! Thanks for taking some time out to talk with us today!
Mahogany: No...thank you guys very much for the opportunity!
TFC: First, tell us a little about you. You're a solo artist, correct?
Mahogany: Yes, that is totally correct. I am a hardcore, "can't-help-it-even-if-I-tried" artist. I'm originally a musical theater chick who is still much in love with singing, dancing and acting.
TFC: We see a lot of past musical theater students move on to modern, contemporary, mainstream music. And a description of your sound?
Mahogany: My sound is a mix of Erykah Badu, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, Janelle Monáe and Amy Winehouse all rolled up in a ball that I call soul-infused urban folk with dashes of pop.
TFC: How old were you when you chose music as your path? What was the "aha" moment, when you knew this is what you wanted to do?
Mahogany: I have always loved music, but I have to say that "aha" moment was when I was a very young girl sitting in the back seat with my younger sisters and we were all singing an old Stephanie Mills song at the top of our lungs. All of a sudden everyone stopped singing but me, and started staring as I sang louder and louder. It was such a strange moment, I was about 8 at that time. A few years later in 4th grade I started writing songs and I was hooked. There was no turning back and I didn't care how long it took, I wanted to be a singer-songwriter.
TFC: It has to be amazing to remember that moment! You're originally from Chicago, but are now living in Atlanta. Was music the primary reason for that move?
Mahogany: My mom. She had been begging me for 6 years to go. I kinda was in a transition in which I lost everything...job, car, long term relationship...EVERYTHING. Two years ago I figured I had nothing left to lose. I was in such a bad state and I had given up on my dreams honestly for about 7 years until I started over in Atlanta. It has been the best decision I have ever made.
TFC: Hard times are when a lot of artists decide to really push for it. What are the differences in the two music scene's...between Chicago and Atlanta, for an independent artist?
Mahogany: The major difference is the variety and mere mass of independent artists that have migrated to the Atlanta scene. Chicago music is basically more of a scene that really supports what's on the Top 20. I didn't have a problem in either city promoting my music. I will say the nicer weather in Atlanta makes it easier to grind on your craft longer and harder because you aren't snowed in as much during the winter months. If you are truly different and really treat your art as a business, Atlanta and Chicago are great areas for music . My mom was my biggest determining factor for my move to be honest, however.
TFC: What about your songwriting process. Do you tend to roll with lyrics first or does a melody get you and lyrics get added to it?
Mahogany: The melody hits me, or I may have a track in which the music itself compels me to write. I also "free-style sing" often in jam sessions, and sometimes those become songs.
TFC: Who have been your biggest personal inspirations?
Mahogany: My mom, dad, grandparents, and fiancé are my foundation and rock in the really tough yet rewarding business.
TFC: We watched a pretty cool video on one of your social media sites. I believe the name was "The Unbroken"? We're pretty sure you had used the term "throwback" in the comments, so I'm guessing it isn't a "new" video, but it was new to us! Really cool concept by the way! Where'd you come up with the idea for that video and what was the filming process like?
Mahogany: My fiance came up with the theme of making it a tribute to "The Walking Dead". We worked on that video for three months. It was tough because this is when I lost my job as well. It was done about two years ago and we totally put our heart and soul into it. At times people may have thought we were crazy for filming in sub-zero weather and pulling off such high-quality content when honestly just a bunch of extremely talented people from humble beginnings made a dream project come true. We are still creating content to this day under Mobi Media/Mobi Pictures.
TFC: What can we look forward to in 2016 from Mahogany Marie?
Mahogany: A brand-spankin' new EP this summer, new music videos with even better quality, and LOTS AND LOTS of live shows! :)
TFC: As you may already know, The Fan Connection is a social media/e-commerce site for musicians and their fans. Some of the features we'll be releasing this year on TFC include a new music player with radio-like format, private chat rooms for artists and fans, professionally run Fan Clubs and merch stores where YOU can make money, and live video streaming. Of the few mentioned, which do you think will most benefit you as an artist and why?
Mahogany: The Fan Clubs and chat rooms, because honestly without fans, there is no artist. Their loyalty and commitment is how we stay in business. The bigger the platform for that, the more likely the rest will follow (views of the videos, fans wanting to buy merchandise, etc).
TFC: Thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better! We hope to see you here on TFC often!
Mahogany: Thank you so much again. It was definitely fun and a pleasure.
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