Named as an emerging star by David Porter as part of the Consortium Memphis Music Town program, Mary Owens is a Memphis artist who is certainly making a name for herself. Pulling from many styles, including R&B, soul, pop, jazz, and alternative, it is hard to describe her using only one genre; she encompasses a style she has dubbed as “soul-pop.”
Memphis Flyer music editor Joe Boone describes her best when he said, “Mary Owens takes an impressionistic jazz approach with a voice that hovers over the chords until it strikes like lightning.”
Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, this singer/songwriter began singing and performing at a young age in school and church productions. Her mother, a pianist, and her father, a guitarist, always encouraged her to explore musical interests.
“Living in a musical household really allowed me to freely find my creative niche,” says Owens. Owens was introduced to many different musical influences by her mother and father and every one of those influences have shaped her immensely diverse sound.
As a self-taught pianist and guitarist, Mary began writing and playing her own songs at the age of seventeen. However, it wasn’t until Mary moved to the musically rich city of Memphis, Tennessee that she began to study music business and truly develop her career as an artist.
Mary garnered the attention of her peers quickly around The University of Memphis campus just by singing some of her favorite songs acapella outside of the music building. She covered artist ranging from Blackstreet to Lauryn Hill and drew crowds to hear her carol songs that no one would even think she knew. Mary artistically knew how to stand out by fitting in.
“I just remember when I first moved to Memphis everyone was talking about jazz and blues, and I knew then this was where I needed to be,” Owens says. Mary was signed to Blue Tom Records in 2014 and has appeared all over the Bluff City in venues such as The New Daisy, The Hi-Tone, and Otherlands. “Being a Blue Tom artist has definitely opened major doors for me and my career,” says Owens.
Mary recorded her debut album at the legendary Royal Studio’s with the aid of Boo Mitchell. With many historic musical influences, Owens puts her own spin on Memphis soul.
Over the past year Mary has been pretty busy. She has taken the experience she gained through The Consortium’s Emerging Stars program and devoted it wholeheartedly to this album. Mary’s album release concert will take place at the Hear 901 Music Festival at The New Daisy on April 11, 2015.
“I’m super excited for people to hear what I’ve been working on as a collective project—a little nervous, but more so excited to see their reaction,” says Mary.