26.4.2023 Moving on to the next floor

Life doesn’t always go on the way you planned. Actually, most of the time it doesn’t. Unexpected things happen and you can’t predict it. Some things end and others start. Projects end and start. People move, people change. Relationships end and new ones begin. Relationships also change. Eras end. And a new era begins sometimes without us noticing.

Unplanned things translate into songwriting too. Sometimes I start to create a new song with a form, structure or vision in my head, but it turns out to be something different. The song takes you somewhere very far from your original idea. The outcome of the song is completely different than the starting point. And sometimes you have to let go of the vision you started with, in order to let the music flow.

There are also phases that seem to last longer than you’d expected. And sometimes you have to make an active decision to move on. It might not feel good, but still, it can feel right. The only way to make room for something new in your life, is by giving up something else.

Photo by Vili Mäentausta

I have to admit, many times I’m afraid to be the one who’s making those big decisions and changes. But, to let things flow and give space for the change, I have to take risks and shake some patterns in my life. And when I hesitate to move on to the next floor, I feel like I’m blocking the energy. So, I must make a move, stop resisting the truth and stay away from force of nature.

When nothing moves, it’s like a water in a glass or in a pond. The water doesn’t flow. It doesn’t go anywhere and it just stays still. In order to get the water flow, you need to open a dam. And so have I done. Many times in different situations. When you’re making hard decisions, it feels just like that – opening a dam. Even if it doesn’t seem that way in the beginning, it has always been a good thing.

All this in my mind, I can say to myself and other people: Trust the process. Trust the change. It will be okay. Even though it hurts, it’s better to move on. Things will flow again. It is not healthy to be in still water for too long. Rivers flow, that’s what they’re meant to do.

I have been processing these things in the song ”2nd Floor”, like this still water and being in- between situations. It tells this feeling when you don’t know what to do or say to make things go forward. You know that the status quo can’t continue without hurting yourself or others. And that hard decisions must be made. Still, these hard decisions can be made from the heart – and with love. Sometimes saying ”no” is the act of love. For everyone.

Be back later, big kisses!

With love, MJ

19.8.2022 Summer moves on with music

Word association, starting with: Summer.
Summer. Sun. Ice-cream. Beach. Swimming. Water. Boat. Birds. Trees. Woods. Nature. Natural. Body. Core. Dancing. Partying. Singing. Happiness. Joy. Smiling.

My mind has been spinning with all the things that occurred this summer. It’s been a bit different than before. It’s almost over, but I believe we still have some nice time with these last days of August. The program I had for the summer included various things. Although it hasn’t gone quite as planned, many wonderful things has happened. It’s been full of work, but also some free time.

I’ve been on gigs singing and playing in front of a live audience again. That feels very special after this long period in pandemic! I was doing some jazz gigs and some party band gigs, mostly performing cover songs. It’s been great being on stage and performing live music again. I’ve been also practicing singing and playing piano, doing lots of office work and going outdoors for long walks and working out. I found balance to my well-being spending some free time, too. I hung out with my family and friends. I went to the beach couple of times during sunny days and went for a swim into the sea. Music was present during my vacation days for I got to see some live music once or twice.

Photo by Vili Mäentausta

This summer has been exciting also because of my new music. The new single ”Make a Move” came out as a digital release on the 17th of June. And I am so happy about it! It’s the first single from the upcoming album. It has been my theme song for this summer and I’ve been dancing a lot to it. It’s a feel-good-song and a party song, and it always puts me in the dance mood.

I started to write the song way back in 2009. I had this rhythm with a melody stuck in my head and I wrote it down. I fooled around with some different chords and soon the chorus of the song was created. Later I found this piece of paper from my drawer. I had written on it a few lines of lyrics which was unattached to anything. I remembered the melody to these lyrics by heart for some reason. It sounded like it was a part of this song which had only the chorus. It could be a part somewhere in the middle of the song, or it could be a bridge or something… Over the years the song started to merge and the verse lyrics came naturally. I wanted to write about the times hanging out and partying with my friends back when we were younger. I arranged the whole song into a finished piece and brought it to band rehearsals. We’ve played it live a couple of times and we’ve had fun with it. Now it’s one of my favourites on the album. The message of the song is to live a little, have fun, enjoy whatever you do and party with your friends once in a while.

So, with these words and with the ”Make a Move”-song, I encourage myself and everyone else to enjoy the last summer days with a full heart. Make a move, listen to the groove and do what you wanna do. And…always dance when you feel like it!

I’ll write again later. Big hug!

With love, MJ

29.04.2022 Intro

Hello there! Welcome to visit the new website and especially warm welcome to read Mary Joan’s blog! This year 2022 is going to be very exciting for me. Soon I will share new music with everyone and I couldn’t be happier about it. I also want to share more things behind the scenes and many other stuff which are connected to my music. So, I decided to write my thoughts about music, singing, songwriting, artistry and other personal things in the form of a blog. Never done this, but here it goes! This first act of writing is going to let you know a little bit about my past and my relationship with music altogether.

My journey with music has been ups and downs. To me, music has sometimes been a lifesaver and sometimes it’s just in the background. Many times it has given me goosebumps. Sometimes it has reminded me about the things that are the most important in life. I’ve been surrounded by music for my whole life, through records, radio and television. Through singing, live concerts and events. Through dancing and playing the piano. Through talking about it and analyzing it with family and friends. It’s been a part of my life from the very beginning. And it seems to be a big part of me ’til the end of days.

Music has also been a big part of my body. I have always expressed myself through movements, because the body is a great platform to interpret music, especially rhythm. It has a lot to do with the fact that I spend my childhood and teenage years in a dance school. Dancing is still one of my greatest passions. I’m linked to music very strongly through dancing. Expressing music and feelings through movements is very primitive to me. I can’t separate it from my personality.

Sometimes music has been the last thing on my mind. Sometimes I have even hated it, can you believe it? As much as I love and adore music in its all forms, I also love silence. I love to be in stillness, hearing nothing. Or sometimes hearing only sounds of nature. For me, balance is needed, when it comes to auditory sense.

Photo by Vili Mäentausta

As I spent my childhood listening to the radio and tv, I was exposed to many different musicians performing their music. At a very young age I had a wish (and I also wrote it in my diary back then) that I would be able to write my own songs someday. Finally when my songwriting started to happen slowly, it felt natural. I was about 16 years old when I created a song from scratch to a basic demo. It felt as if I didn’t need to analyze it. It just appeared. Writing and exploring music became a very dear hobby to me since then.

After growing up and deciding to pursue a career in the music industry, things changed. I got in to a music school and graduated as a singing teacher. When you start to study and practice music for a profession there will occur different side effects. You’ll start to be more critical about your performing and your songwriting, among other things. When you start to create a profession of the thing that you love the most, it will lose some of the glamorous dreams and hopes you might have had about it. You’ll find out that there are so many things you haven’t even thought about, which might not be nice or interesting. In the process you are also surrounded by many professionals, teachers, mentors, co-workers, collages and school friends who all has so much knowledge and opinions about music and how it should be studied, performed, executed, and so on. During that education path I sometimes felt very lost and not natural at all. I felt lost in translation about learning and making music. Other times it felt right and I was very happy developing my musicianship.

When you grow as a songwriting musician you’ll figure out many essentials things. First of all, you are never complete; as a singer, as a songwriter nor as a teacher. You’ll have a constant feeling that you are not good enough (this is also a disease which most of us carry nowadays, but let’s talk about that some time later!). Secondly, you’ll see that creating is the only way to live your life. And that’s why you are a songwriter. You have a primitive need to share your creations. In spite of your every fear, you’ll feel that your only choice is to share your art with others.

Nowadays I feel my path with songwriting is clarifying. Writing music feels like a journey back to home. To a home where everything is right, natural and free from fears. I try not to analyze too much and I try not to be perfect in everything I do with music. In 2020 when I finally released an EP record to the public, I let go so many of my fears. It felt right and I’m proud of the songs on the record. New album and new songs are coming up really soon. And it feels almost like home…not quite there yet, but getting closer.

Anyway, I gotta go now. It felt so nice to write. I’ll get back to you soon.

With love, MJ