In 2007, Mary’s Mine (Maria Friberg) put some demos on her Myspace page. Shortly after that she was contacted and signed up by the successful Sundae Soul Recordings record company, who released a vinyl version of her single Marvin. It sold out within three months. Now, with an excellent new single Another Day due out in May, we thought it was about time we found out more about this petite Swedish soul singer.
S Soul – Hi Maria, let’s start with your background, are your family musical and how were you introduced to soul music?
Maria – Mum is an actress and Dad is a poet, but my grandparents on both sides were musicians. I sniffed out some soul myself, mostly the kind of soul that was popular at the time; Sade, Prince etc. But the older stuff, like Stevie Wonder’s Fulfillingness’ First Finale, was introduced to me by a friend of the family. He played Boogie On Reggae woman and, wham! I was floored. I even named my label after the song – Boogie On Records.
Where did the name ‘Mary’s Mine’ come from?
Mary’s Mine is the part of me that is expressing herself through soulful music. Stevie Wonder captured my heart in my early teens; after that, I was totally hooked on soul music. So when I started writing songs, I wanted to express that this is something very special and personal for me. Something beyond my everyday name, and symbolizing the heavy force and source of love I felt – and feel. And it felt good that it sounded like an alter-ego. That’s how the name came about.
Alter-ego? That sounds interesting. How would you describe both Marias?
Ha ha, I’m not schizophrenic, but it’s easier to have like a protected area where you can create. It’s vulnerable and illogical when you’re in that process pretty far from food shopping lists or dealing with Skatteverket (the Tax Office). But now I come to think of it, Marvin Gaye did write good songs about just paying taxes…
What was it like getting the call from Sundae Soul Records?
Wonderful, of course. I put my demos on my Myspace and soon after that Pete Collins from Starpoint Radio (UK) contacted me (thanks Pete!) and he spread the word to Sundae Soul Rec. and radio stations in the UK. So when the first vinyl Marvin (Sundae Soul Edit) came out, I had most of my fans in England, Germany and Japan.
Now you’ve even started your own label, why was that?
It seems like Swedish Record Companies are cautious when it comes to this kind of genre. Even though I got positive feedback nothing ever happened. So I felt I couldn’t wait any longer.
Why do you think Soul is continually overlooked by Scandinavian radio stations?
I really don’t know. I have no good answer to that. It’s a pity though; in other parts of Europe, the Soul Scene is so vital.
And you’re a vocal coach, right? Can a really bad voice like mine be saved, and have you ever told anyone there’s nothing you can do?
The voice is an instrument, a vehicle for expression in many different ways. There are no bad voices! It’s a unique mark of who you are. But if a person feels that they, for example, want to have a more steady, free, flowing voice – Yes, everyone can improve these skills.
You can learn about pitch as well. There are a few people who can’t improve that much when it comes to pitch. But hey, the point is to have a good time singing! Whether it’s off-key or not! I think everyone (some secretly) feels better when they sing.
‘Another Day’ (produced by Povel Ohlson) is the first single from Mary’s Mines’ forthcoming album. With the song ‘Another Day’, and the song ‘Strong’ (which I’ve also heard a sneak preview of) I sense a fight, a need to do something, can you tell me more?
When the album was ready, I saw a common thread running through the songs; vulnerability in different forms. This wasn’t something I’d thought about when I was writing them though.
Another Day and Strong are examples of expressing ways of protecting that vulnerability. I am definitely a fighter, but with a pretty thin skin at times.
Another Day is about the fear and courage you go through when you want to break free from something and really change your life. If it’s for real, it’s hard.
Strong is about the inner guidance that, after setbacks and damage done, just grows stronger. When you realize you’ve been treated badly, you’ll stand up for yourself in a new way.
Another Day – Mary’s Mine
Are you planning any videos?
Yes! I hope to have something ready in June. However, as an independent artist running my own label – time is an issue… But I have some ideas; it would be great to realize them.
And finally, are you related to Marie (Maria) Friberg (1852–1934), the Swedish opera singer of the Royal Swedish Opera who was known for her relationship to King Oscar II of Sweden?
Ha ha! I didn’t know about the opera singer Maria Friberg! It’s a pity, but we’re not related; not that I know of anyway. Would have made a good story.
The single, Another Day, will be released May 15th 2012 on Boogie on Records/Distrosongs. The album will be released on 19th September.
For more information visit www.marysmine.com