Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've interviewed all sorts of folks for this space. And really, we'd thought we'd at least dipped our toes into just about all of the different parts of Houston's vast, vast talent pool. There was one that we missed though: The youth section.
Ma'am's and sirs, introducing the flagship artist in our Artist of the Week youth branch*: the incredibly talented country singer-songwriter Mary Sarah.
*Think of it like Baby Gap, except less expensive. Oh, and since we're here, a question: Why does Gap make all of their shirts so wide in width and short in length? It's like they're designing them for really thick midgets.
Not yet old enough to drive, Mary Sarah has already partaken in a multi-city tour, recorded proper music and done countless other things you fledgling full-grown artists have been talking about doing for the past two years. So we hit her up for an interview to talk about all sorts of things, including Black Sabbath, punching Justin Bieber in the nose and how her schoolmates handle her awesomeness.
FYI, there are lots of exclamation points. Teenagers are excitable.
Rocks Off: Standard AotW opener: Tell everyone everything they need to know about you and your music in exactly six words.
Mary Sarah: Voice for those who need one. (From being a voice for those who don't have one!) I came up with [this] when I was 10!
RO: We guess the (second) first question that needs to be asked is, "How?" How on Earth are you, you who can't even legally drive yet, able to do all of this? Didn't you do a 40-city tour or something? That's pretty danged impressive. We mean, at 15 years old we were doing well to remember to brush our teeth.
MS: I have an amazing supportive family who sacrifices a lot for me. My sister writes music with me, my brother does my website, my dad plays guitar for me sometimes and my mom is the tour-bus-on-the-road roadie that keeps it all together! It's a TOTAL family effort.
Yup. I was on a 40-city, six-month tour that was a rock concert for kids. We did 18 songs and I solo'd on six of them and sang on most of the others. And, sometimes i forgot to brush my teeth [laughs]! We would roll out onto the bus like, at 5:30 a.m. and my mom and I would haul the luggage out to the bus and boom!, we were onto the next city.
Boom is a good word. We toured from Minneapolis to Chicago to Indiana, West Virginia to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York and everywhere between! TOTALLY a blast.
RO: If you got into a fistfight with Justin Bieber, how decisive do you think your victory would be?
MS: First of all, it would never happen, because I have a MAJOR crush on him. But if I did, I'd lose because it's him. Then I'd challenge him to a sing-off, loser has to sing harmonies on a duet and of course, he'd lose because I'd have to sing lead. He'd lose, of course. And I'mma better singer. Boom!
RO: You've got a video up of you performing a cover of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. How hard did your dad petition to get you to do that?
MS: Actually, he petition[ed] me to do it. But after I saw Glee do it, I said absolutely. It's such an amazing song. It crosses all those generations. My dad is a MAJOR Journey fan!
RO: Can we convince you to take a couple of stabs at some other classic rock songs? Perhaps "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath? Nothing could be more awesome than that.
MS [laughs]: I am Iron Man. Hmmmmm... maybe a country version? Hmm... on second thought, maybe like a bluegrass countrified version like Hayseed Dixie does? How about another request? I'll try most anything.
RO: The kids at school, how do they handle all of your success? Like, did you notice you became profoundly more popular when everyone began to realize that, oh my God, you're totally going to be the next Taylor Swift?
MS: I was home-schooled until this year, so for the most part, everyone knew me as a performer and really has been accepting of it. It was kinda known before I went back to school, so it was just a given. And I think I heard that like, 1,000 times.
It's really not annoying, because, Taylor Swift is such a great role model, unlike so many others, so when they say that it really makes me feel kinda cool. So, keep on sayin it, tweeps!
I really don't flaunt it around, and try to just be myself without telling many people. When they hear me sing, they are like "Dude, you can REALLY sing" and it blows them away, but I don't want them to feel like I'm special or better that them just because I have the voice and can sing.
So, that answer is no. And yes. But hey, I'm a girl so I can say both. We lead worship for our youth at River Pointe Church, so they also know me from that.
RO: Anything you want to make sure gets mentioned? Now's the time to do it.
MS: Pursue your dreams. We always say "Hard work beats talent when talent won't work hard." You have to work your dreams into reality, and I want to encourage people to NEVER GIVE UP! Also, my fans are the best ever! You guys are the reason for my singing!
I want to help change the world with a song, and my word this year is "Contagious." I'm contagious, infectious and gonna go viral, but only with your help. LOVE YOU FANS!
Help Mary Sarah go viral by following her on Twitter at @marysarahmusic.
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