We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Jennings and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Another incredible artist friend of my, Caroline Hill, gave me words that I have lived by for over 10 years now. Don’t follow trends because you will always be a step behind. Just do you and let the trend find you and you can be front and center. That has been one of the most liberating and true notions in the world to me. Instead of trying to write the perfect pop song or make the most on a trend accessory, I just do what feels right at the time. If people like it, AWESOME, and if they don’t that’s ok. At least I can sleep at night knowing that I did what artistically felt right. And who knows? Maybe they will love it 2 years from now! I have had songs get placed on TV when they were already 5 years old. I started wearing and making bolos when it was definitely not universally cool. And it still isn’t really haha! But I love being a little bit weird and operating off the beaten path. I’d rather be remembered for my uniqueness than my ability to blend in.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am guessing I am the only bolo-tie making, musician mom at the moment and I am certainly owning that unique brand haha! I have had some big (and small) wins over the years both in music and bolo ties. I toured with the country and shared the stage with some amazing artists like Mike Doughty and Jeffrey Gaines, played festivals like SXSW, had music placements in Dance Moms, Roadtrip Nation, WWE Monday Night Raw, The Jim Jeffries Show and even horror movie The Devil Seed (I’m a horror movie fanatic). And, some awesome musicians and actors like The Brothers Osborne, LP, and A Thousand Horses have worn my bolo ties. Jimmy Fallon was even spotted wearing one! But to me the bigger wins come from the personal interactions. Very little means more to me than a teary eyed stranger coming up to me after a show telling me that one of my songs spoke to their feelings. Music has done that for me and now I get to give that back. I love getting a review from a bolo sale saying that the bolo they got completely elevated their outfit and they received tons of compliments. I want my art to make someone else get the feels. I don’t think that sets me apart from other artists. In fact, I bet that sentiment connects artists more than anything. I am looking forward to this pandemic being behind us and being able to do live shows again in a safe way and connect with people in person. The silver lining is that this pandemic has given me time to immerse myself in my songwriting and push my own boundaries in recording as well bringing my artistry to a place a didn’t know it could go.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting Atlanta I would probably say hold off on unnecessary travel until the pandemic is behind us but that’s the mom in me haha! The pandemic has certainly changed a lot and closed a lot of doors which is really sad. With that said, there are still some awesome places still kicking that will only get better once Covid is behind us. For live music I love Smith’s Olde Bar. I have played there many times and they always have great indie music to discover. For a random, exciting and interesting time, it would probably start with shopping down at Little Five Points and end with a hang at Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium or The Clermont Lounge and Hotel. Both are great places to go with friends and have great entertainment. I will leave it at that. For food I say Le Petit Chou and Homegrown for sure! I could eat at both of those locations every day and not get tired of them. If the visit was a week or longer, we would definitely make the short trip to my hometown, Gainesville, GA, and spend a day on Lake Lanier. I grew up on the lake and love going back.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people to whom I could dedicate this Shoutout that it’s hard to know where to start. Overall I would say my family and friends are the reason I have had any success but I am going to give this specifically to my Dad. When my mom passed away (20 years ago this year) he gave me a huge opportunity. He suggested therapy but also gave me the chance to record my first album (although I am sure he would have hooked me up with both if I had needed it). He knew that music had been everything to me since Mom passed and that recording an album would probably be one of the most cathartic and therapeutic things I could do and he was right. It took off from there. In those 20 years, has played bass in my band, come to shows, watched livestreams, shared videos, worn my bolos, you name it. I think he thinks I could creatively do no wrong and that kind of support is pretty invaluable for an artist.
Bolo Photos (red background, butterfly in hair, smiling) by Laurel Black Graphic Design Picture of Girl in Bolo by PoseManikin