All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

659

Mary Ann Redmond: On the Verge

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
I think the most important thing is defining your own truth...and after that, being courageous enough to honor it...My truth is being able to play and sing and squeeze some marrow out of it.
Mary Ann Redmond's powerful, passionate voice inspires critics to poetic heights. Dan McClenaghan, reviewing her Prisoner of the Heart CD for this site, wrote: "she can belt it out to shake the walls down or caress a lyric like she's petting a cat." Goldmine admired her ability to go from a "fragile whisper" to a "riveting roar." Others use words like "soulfulness," "sass" and "spine-tingling," and compare her to everyone from Judy Garland and Etta James to Janis Joplin, Dusty Springfield, Aretha and Tina. Guitarist/singer-songwriter Redmond has been popular for a decade in the D.C. area where she lives,headlining at Wolf Trap and working an average of 200 nights a year. She's on the verge of her national breakthrough after years of roaming the musical range, when her peers honored her with 14 Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies) for Best Female Jazz Singer, Best Female Blues Vocalist, Best Pop-Rock, Best Roots Rock/Traditional R&B, Best Urban Contemporary.

Redmond is no cookie-cutter vocalist, singing about things she hasn't experienced: she writes songs that come straight from her gut to settle in yours, with melodies that stick in your head and grooves that start up your feet. Her latest CD, Here I Am, is a stunning, versatile mix—and available, like Prisoner of the Heart, through amazon or Redmond's Web site.

In our phone interview in January 2003, Redmond turned out to be as real as her music: earthy, warm, honest and funny. It was a refreshingly diva-free zone.

All About Jazz: I played the CD for some friends and they all want to know the same thing, WHERE *IS* SHE?

Mary Ann Redmond: Awww, that's nice. I'm ready. I've never been one to seek out fame and fortune and all that, but I love what I do. It's fun. So I'm blessed.

AAJ: So you're ready for the big national push?

MAR: Well, I'm ready to work a little harder. I think that's basically what it entails, and my friend Jeni Haight—my operations manager and best friend in the world—has just been sort of running amok—like, "we're going to do this if I have to drag you up the mountain sort of thing." And I've got my other friend John Jennings, who produced Mary Chapin [Carpenter] and helped with my last record, Here I Am—he's just incredible—he's going to be doing the next CD. We've got the songs sort of sketched out for that, but we haven't been in the studio yet. We'll see what happens with that.

As for me, I'm always working and staying afloat—it would be nice to actually have the money in the bank before the rent payment is due, but either way is good. It keeps life exciting the other way, you know, hand to mouth—keeps you motivated. (laughs)

AAJ: You said something about songwriting being like psychotherapy you don't have to pay for.

MAR: Yeah, when you write songs you get to work through your issues—it's all healing. I truly believe life is about how much crap you can pull away and how real you can be and truth—honoring your truth—but it's not always easy, and I don't always get there...but I'm workin' on it.

AAJ: I'd love to see you perform.

MAR: You ever come down to DC? My best gig is the State Theater down here. The guy who owns it, he's so nice, keeps asking me to call him and rebook it, he's been asking for March or April, but they're probably booked by now—maybe May or June. It's a gorgeous old theater. Post-interview update: The Mary Ann Redmond Band will be at the State Theater on March 15.

We're supposed to be up in New York soon—some interview with the House of Blues radio. I'm gonna go up there and talk to the peeps, see what they want to know—see if there's anything I can tell them. I wanna be booked there but I don't know... it's like, who do I have to sleep with to get a gig around here? (laughs)

AAJ: Oh, THAT old song...

MAR: It doesn't work when you're 43, it's more like, "Well, do you have a niece? Can you send up your daughter?" I don't have a daughter, but thanks for pointing that out to me.

AAJ: ...and have a good day.

MAR: Yeah, have a nice day. I'll just take my spinster ass outta here and sit by the fire with my cat.

AAJ: It's inevitable that you'll end up in places like the House of Blues once you stop staying in that little burg you've been in.

MAR: I'm ready. Right now I've got the coolest place that I'm renting—it's a log cabin on 2 1/2 acres, with a stone fireplace and a Jacuzzi upstairs that has its own hot-water heater because it's just so big... it's hard to get me out of there. It's lovely, it really is fun. Before this I lived with some roommates who were kind of party animals, and just to be able to walk around nekkid is a real good thing—to have your own space.

AAJ: I wouldn't want to leave that, either. Meanwhile, I was reading about all the different Wammies you've won. You said you were going for polka and metal next.

MAR: I don't remember saying that, but it's pretty funny.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Compared to What

Compared to What

Self Produced
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors Interviews
Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: September 7, 2018
Read Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony Interviews
Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 5, 2018
Read Bob James: Piano Player Interviews
Bob James: Piano Player
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: September 3, 2018
Read Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create Interviews
Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision Interviews
Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Dan Shout: In With a Shout Interviews
Dan Shout: In With a Shout
by Seton Hawkins
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention" Interviews Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Jamie Saft: Jazz in the Key of Iggy" Interviews Jamie Saft: Jazz in the Key of Iggy
by Luca Canini
Published: October 20, 2017
Read "Nduduzo Makhathini: Jazz Is a Shared Memory" Interviews Nduduzo Makhathini: Jazz Is a Shared Memory
by Seton Hawkins
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "David Sancious: From Monk to Sting" Interviews David Sancious: From Monk to Sting
by Luca Muchetti
Published: June 8, 2018
Read "Dan Monaghan: The Man Behind The Swing" Interviews Dan Monaghan: The Man Behind The Swing
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Rufus Reid: Composer, Educator, Bassist, Gait Keeper… And Prophet" Interviews Rufus Reid: Composer, Educator, Bassist, Gait...
by David Hadley Ray
Published: October 12, 2017