Born and raised in Southie, Mary Kate (Walsh) Eckmann, 30, is an aspiring singer and songwriter who headed to New York City to pursue her dream. That dream is now a reality with her new breakout EP, TRUE COLORS, debuting on August 17th. She will be in South Boston to perform in her hometown at Olliepalooza and she couldn’t be more thrilled about it! “To have myself start a fresh chapter in the place where my dream began is a dream within itself. I consider myself very lucky to be able to come back here with open arms. I’ve done a lot in the arts within Southie, and to be able to give back with a performance to show kids interested in the arts that if they want what I have given myself, they can absolutely achieve it.”
We sat down and had a little Q&A with Mary Kate:
Who are your music influences?
Growing up, I always gravitated to rock music and I looked for stage presence and showmanship. One of my favorite bands ever is Foo Fighters because they show it’s ok to give your heart and soul on stage while rocking out. Being goofy and silly while performing is human, and if you really want to remain true to yourself in this industry, you have to have a sense of humor. Steven Tyler is another rocker who I’ve always looked up to throughout my music career because he has always given his heart in all of his music and not cared what the industry thinks. These two rockers, their attitudes, it’s so important to just do your own thing in the art you’re creating for the people who choose to pay attention. This is what inspires me to keep moving forward.
What is a typical day for you?
My days are kind of mundane! I wake up around 7:30 make myself and my husband some coffee, check my emails and social media sites while breakfast is being prepared, and if I don’t have to rush off to a job, I give myself an hour of tv time while I eat breakfast. I have a stationary bike at home as well as other gym equipment and do about 60-90 minutes of exercise (depending on the day) and do some breathing exercises to make sure my body can keep up with me vocally. I’m not Beyonce, but that lady knows how to breathe while working her stage. I do a lot of work from home: rehearsing, writing, artist/venue research. I try to call my parents (Pat and Mary Walsh) everyday to keep them posted on what I’m doing and visa versa and my husband and always have little dates even if it’s just a quick walk around our neighborhood. I’ll even take myself out and about in the city to find more inspiration. But I’m really a homebody. I love how I have a life where I can do everything for my music from my little home.
How long have you lived in New York?
I’ve lived in New York for 6 years! My cousins laugh when they hear me talk about locations and subway directions because they say it sounds like I was born there, but I’ll never forget where I’m from! Ick, the Yankees.
What is one thing you’ve learned on your journey?
You are the only person between you and your dreams. Once you pull yourself out of self doubt and put in the hard work, dedicate yourself to what you truly want, anything is possible. This is such “cliche” advice, but it’s so true. We are human, and very over critical of ourselves, which makes it difficult to do what we feel will make us the most happy. You have to remember NO ONE wants to see you fail. Shine like you’re meant to in the field of your choice. I finally am and it’s taken me a very long time to arrive at this point. But I’m here, I’m happy, and I can’t wait to show all of you what I’m capable of in my music!
Mary Kate began performing at the Fourth Presbyterian Church children’s theater under the guidance of Burn Stanfield. (https://caughtinsouthie.com/people/characterofmonth/burns-stanfield) She performed in Sleeping Beauty in one of the theater’s first performances. She also played the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.
You can see Mary Kate perform at Olliepalooza on Wednesday, August 12th from 3pm-7pm at Moakely Park.
To learn more about Mary Kate visit: www.marykateismarykate.com
YouTube: Miss Mary Kate
Photo: Yoav Levin