Photography: Essie May Gouldson / @emgphotographs

If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would you say?
Dreamy indie-folk music shaped by subtle lyrics and emotive instrumentation.

Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved music but the idea of being able create it myself used to seem so far away. I’d say what initially got me into making music was when I picked up one of my mum’s old acoustic guitars that were just laying around the house. At first, I’d just learn all my favourite tunes and feel great about it. But when I was about fifteen I bought a journal and started to write my own stuff. Gradually, I began writing songs on the guitar with what I’d note down in my journal. Then, a few years ago I ended up making and recording my first EP with Milan Reid in his home studio. It still feels quite surreal being able to make my own music and I’m grateful that I can do so.

 Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
I specifically remember listening to Amy Winehouse’s cover of Valerie when I was quite young and then that leading me to her Back To Black album. I absolutely loved the way it sounded. Ever since, it’s always been one of those albums for me that I can revisit, listen in entirety and finish it feeling inspired in a different way than I did the last time I listened. The older I get, the more the meaning of the album changes for me and I think I’ll always find inspiration from Amy Winehouse’s music.

 What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
It tends to be a mixture of other art and whatever emotions I’m feeling while I write. Usually, I’m influenced by something I see or hear from an album or a film, if it really strikes me. Or even after having a conversation with someone; maybe they said something, and it sort of just stuck with me. I almost always write whenever I’m feeling low or nostalgic or caught up with something that has happened or is happening in my life. All these things sort of weave and wind together in their own strange way and make a song or something other.

What was the first gig you attended?
It’s quite funny because I’m pretty sure it was a Kylie Minogue concert held at the O2 in London, when I was around 11/12. It was a grand first experience for a gig as she really puts on quite the show!

Why is music important to you?
Music is important to me because whether I’m listening to it or making it, it always provides for a cathartic experience. The catharsis can come in all sorts of forms and at any moment. Like from a beautiful point in a soundtrack during a poignant scene in a film, or in an immersive album or even just a heavy writing session. I think it’s important to have some form of release and escape in life. Music just sort of lets you breathe.

“I think it’s important to have some form of a release and escape in life. Music just sort of lets you breathe.” Mary Hennessy

How have you been spending lockdown?
I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which is nice because before lockdown I hadn’t sat down to read in a while. I think my favourite read during lockdown so far must be Alex Garland’s The Beach. It really made for some engaging escapism during this time! Apart from watching way too much Netflix and spending endless hours playing The Last of Us Part 2, I’ve been doing some writing when I can each day. I’m hoping to get started on making more music as soon as I can.

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Haley Blais, she has this addictive bedroom-pop discography that you can just fall in love with. She also has her LP coming out next month too, so she’s one to look out for if you are craving new music.

@maryhennessy
As The Light Goes Down is out now
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