MARY DESIREE: Music is my sanctuary

25 07 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!


“Music is my sanctuary,” says Mary Desiree. “It’s my shelter from the wind when I feel angry or upset. To me music is like libraries and diners… When I’m feeling mad or upset about something – that’s where I go to find peace. Or I just sit down and write a song!”

Mary Desiree, the 21-year old singer and songwriter from Queens comes across as a quiet girl with a radiant smile, but this is a classic case of don’t-judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover. Her music speaks of heartbreaks and loss. “Music is very personal to me,” says Mary. “Every song I write is based on something real, something that I have experienced. This is my way of dealing with things.” She admits, however, that the first few songs she ever wrote were a lot happier. “I was a high school sophomore taking vocal training classes and writing a well-structured song was a homework assignment. And just like any normal sixteen-year-old I wrote about love and wore a heart on my sleeve. It was very cheesy. But that was years ago. Time passed. I got introduced to new things. New experiences happened. My view on the world had changed and, naturally, so did my songwriting.”

Now Mary Desiree is a waitress and a mother, but often enough she picks up her guitar and makes the magic happen. “Having so much to do every day makes me tired and more irritable. And when I get irritated – I write. It’s a great way to release emotions. Anger is my inspiration nowadays and songwriting is my way of coping with it. I realized that the songs that I wrote when I was upset and angry – they are the most beautiful ones. It’s strange… I am normally a pretty happy person.”


Mary Desiree claims to usually write the words first and focus on the melody as a background for her poetry. This type of songwriting makes her songs lyrical. Her voice is capable of a wide range and while her music is catchy, the lyrics are not simple and mirror a girl who has a lot to say.

“I am a female singer, so that’s where a lot of my musical inspiration comes from – from other female singers,” says Mary. “I look up to girls like Alanis Morrissette and Kelly Clarkson. Why? Because their music is the popular music, the so-called ‘top 40’s,’” but those women write and perform their own songs and make a living doing what they love – entertaining their audiences. That’s amazing!” Mary also mentions Alexz Johnson as one of her early influences – “I used to religiously watch Instant Star, the Canadian TV show, and Alexz’s character Jude Harrison was all I wanted to be – a rebellious and competitive winner. Her song ‘Darkness around the Sun’ is still one of my favorites.”


Mary Desiree recently auditioned and was called back for The Glee Project Season 2. When asked about it Mary gets a bit shy, but only because she didn’t expect anything out of it at first. She talks of the audition experience with passion and delight. “I auditioned online,” she tells me, “it was one of those auditions where you talk about yourself and your struggles for a bit, then play a song, and hope that the judges actually view it. So I uploaded my video at the end of July of last year and didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think anyone cared. And suddenly in late November I got a call from California from The Glee Project Season 2 casting. They asked me to come to Los Angeles for the second round! Only eighty people got called back – forty girls and forty boys, and most of those people auditioned in person and not online. I must have been very lucky.” Mary says she felt intimidated at first, because of the overwhelming amount of talent who got called back. “I tried out and didn’t make the cut,” she says, ”but I will definitely try again this year for Season 3. Now that I know the process I won’t be as nervous and hopefully will go even further.”

I ask Mary why haven’t we seen her on American Idol yet, and she just laughs at my question. While listing contemporary female pop singers as her primary influence Mary also expresses her distaste towards the talent-searching television shows. “Unlike many other songwriters who are trying to make it playing music I never wanted to audition for such shows as American Idol or The Voice. Those shows are very competitive and the producers seem to be looking for a ‘star’ and an ‘image’ they will be able to sell instead of the actual voice. I don’t want to be a puppet.”


“As soon as I get some more time off – I will focus on a very strong record,” Mary tells me while holding her son Noah’s hand. “It would be great to at least record a well-produced EP and have something professional to show for myself when trying to make it as a songwriter. I have enough material, but not enough time to devote. My son is my world right now and I want to focus on him first. However I am currently working with Robert Gill, the singer and guitarist of a rock band Black Doctor Jr., and he is helping me to record a few tracks of mine at the band’s home studio. Hopefully something worthy is going to come out of these sessions.” In the meantime Mary plays as many shows and open-mic nights as possible, promotes her music and never forgets to smile. “I recently got some shirts made with the words ‘Not a Stepford Wife!’ on them in reference to my song ‘Stepford Wife.’ They’re pretty cool! I already promised one to Gabriel Castellar, the guitarist of L Train. He really wants to wear that shirt during their shows!” she laughs again. Mary tells me she is planning to collaborate with Gabriel Castellar and Crystalla Gonzalez of L Train in the near future, and hopefully with fellow Queens-based singer/songwriter Jeanne Marie Boes too. “It will all happen in the near future and I hope all these plans will work out,” Mary tells me and smiles her radiant smile again.

Ignas Bautrenas is a short story writer and journalist born in Vilnius, Lithuania who currently lives in Astoria, NY. He attended Hunter College from 2004-2009 and graduated with a BA in English. Ignas currently writes for,, and other publications.


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