MARY Shanker’s musical journey began when she received piano lessons for her sixth birthday.
Having put her hard work and talent to good use in the intervening 16 years, the Royton singer/songwriter is now reaping the rewards. A former Crompton House pupil, Mary released her debut single ‘I Just Need Time’ last month. Her first album ‘Brand New Day’ is available from June 21 from which will come a second single of the same name.
With her gig diary filling up nicely as well, these are exciting times for Mary, just less than a year after graduating from Salford University with a first in her popular music and recording degree.
“My mum used to play piano up to grade eight and also taught at one point,” Mary told the Correspondent.
“For my sixth birthday she got me piano lessons and from then on I realised I was doing something I enjoyed.
“I feel very lucky to be doing something I enjoy doing as a job,” added Mary, proficient on the flute and also a self-taught guitarist.
“When I first started gigging, it was difficult to take the piano round the pubs and clubs.
“So, I thought it might be a good time to learn something more mobile,” she laughed. “So, I started to learn the guitar.”
Mary’s single, featuring and co-written with friend and former student Jordan Kalonji started life as a song written as part of a composition module for her university portfolio.
“Over time I have developed it and when I realised I wanted to put together an album I thought this song would be a good single to put with it.
The song was produced by Hugh Shepherd and captures the message of not rushing in and giving yourself time.
Mary cites Adele and Demi Lovato among her pop influences and says Duffy’s Mercy was a defining song in her pursuing her musical dream.
“That started my journey,” she confirmed. “It was a song I did on karaoke when I was probably in year six.
“I’d never previously sung in front of people before but I got a lot of good feedback. As a result the song always features in my set.”
There are plenty of familiar standards as well as new album material in Mary’s sets.
“I do include covers because I like to play songs people want to enjoy, listen to and sing along to. There’s a mixture of songs from the 90s and noughties.”
Mary’s album also follows her pop loving roots but with other influences. “Overall the genre is pop,” she says. But there is a bit of soul, some acoustic and a bit of ambient stuff as well.
“The stories are about growing up, becoming an adult, meeting lots of different people.
“I like to think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. It’s a journey I have taken and I am sure other people will have taken too.”
• To listen to Mary’s music find her on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.