Today we’d like to introduce you to Margie Mays.
Margie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
The path I took to my “now” sounds a little nonsensical, but it has always been focused and driving towards the same goal. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always known I was going to be a singer. I’ve been getting this question a lot recently (to talk about my story, or journey as an artist), and the best way I’m able to describe it is that I was born with a “chip in my brain” that told me “Margie, you’re going to a be singer.” However, I was raised in a family of doctors and academics. This wasn’t exactly “the right path,” and I got a sense of that early on. My childhood was filled with sports camps and extracurricular activities, not singing lessons. However, I did try to verbalize my creative desires early on.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I told my parents I wanted to make a living being a singer. Their response? “Did someone put you up to this?” I was crushed on the inside, and decided I would do this all on my own. Fast forward to when I was 11 or 12 years old, I was playing competitive squash tournaments around the country. One weekend, there was chatter amongst the squash community that a famous squash player (essentially a Michael Phelps of the squash community) was starting a team at Stanford University. I remember googling that with my older sister that night. I saw the campus and saw it was in California, which, to my 11-year-old self, meant freedom. From that moment on, I swore to myself I would go to Stanford and become a singer. Ironic, I know, those things AREN’T actually correlated, but to me, that was my path to creative freedom.
I followed that path. While secretly listening to every Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood album I could get my hands on, outwardly I was quite determined. I graduated valedictorian of my high school, and applied to my one school – Stanford – and was accepted. I attended, and did a bit of everything – sports (for a while), music, and schooling. The balance was healthy. I was in a pop/rock a cappella group there, and that was when I started getting some validation that my voice was as powerful as I felt it was. My singing bug had been spiked there, however, with no turning back. While my parents were no less than thrilled with my academic accolades while at my university (I ended up majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Communication, and graduated with honors, Phi Beta Kappa society). My 4 years was ending and I was at a for in the road. While my friends were off to make six-figures at high-powered banks, or going on to be future doctors, I knew I would be unhappy if I followed suit. I was looking in the mirror every day, very happy, but I always knew I was en route somewhere else. I knew it with every fiber of my being.
That spring of my senior year, I applied to music school in LA. Only one school still was accepting admissions. I was accepted, and the day after I graduated, I gave my diploma to my parents, and drove down from Stanford to LA. I’ve been here ever since and have never felt so full or at home. I studied the next two years at music college, majoring in Vocal Performance. I’ve been honing in on my craft ever since.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
First and foremost, I am a vocalist. As a singer, the music industry is multi-faceted and pretty big. To give you a sense of this, saying you want to be a “singer” in the music industry is as general as saying you want to be a “doctor.” There are many parts of the industry – session work, artistry, songwriting, casual bands, voiceover work, musical theatre, teaching, and more. As I’m a recent music school graduate, I am definitely still making my way through the scene and trying to see what sticks. Music school gave me quite a tool belt of skills, and the industry ends up pushing you in a direction that you are most fit.
As I made my way through music school and starting getting gigs and sessions, I started getting a small taste of what each realm might feel like. At the current moment, I’m being pushed into the artist realm. Right now, I know my technical voice pretty well; what it can do, what are its strengths and weaknesses, etc. My newest endeavor is answering these questions as I find myself as an artist: those include, finding who I am as a performer, what kind of music do I want to sing and does my voice want to sing; how do I want to make people feel when they watch me perform; what do my audiences LIKE when they see me perform; what sticks; etc. That is a pretty big task, and the answers will absolutely change as I evolve throughout my career, but the process is really just a lot of singing and performing and slowly but surely, I start picking repertoire that does have a thread of my identity through it.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
For me, art and music is really about freedom. We have so much chaos going on in the world, and an oversaturation of opinions and conflict right now. To me, music is a window to take people AWAY from all the chaos for a moment. I love to get lost in a song; let the academics, the politicians, the children, the doctors, the grandparents, EVERYONE, get lost and imagine and dream for three minutes and thirty seconds. I want people to feel heartache, nostalgia, love, pain, happiness, longing, humor, youth, ALL the feelings. I always want to protect the integrity of music, which is allows us to be free as we are lost in the heart and soul of the sound. With such power, however, does allow an avenue for change. If one is an artist with a platform, it is important to enact for social change when you feel you have a following actually ignite and implement real change out there (or resist change that is happening that should not be happening).
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The two best ways to find my work is on my website, margiemaysmusic.com. That has a lot of my session work/vocal reel and demo work. There you can get a taste of what I do behind the microphone – I do a lot of different voices and genres. I’ve got a great animation (credit to Clare Carrellas) that helps showcase my many voices. The other peek into my work is my social media – Instagram, mostly. I’m working on some projects right now and the best way to follow those is my Instagram. That is where I am most active and can share the most about my current and upcoming projects with the public.
- Website: margiemaysmusic.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/margiesaunders/
All pink photos are by Kaia D’Albora; black & white photo of my profile by the piano is by Bia Jurema; the black & white photo of me smiling is by Kaia D’Albora; the rest of the photos are uncredited.