YV Hip Hop Magazine feature - September 2018
YV: Is your family an inspiration to you when it comes to your music career? Where is your family from?
JM: Our heritage is El Salvadorian but I was born and raised in Gaithersburg, MD. I don’t really come from a musical background per say but I think my taste in music definitely stems from my parents which is extremely eclectic. My dad in particular has a weak spot for rhythm guitar and groovy bass lines, which I’ve kind of inherited. Artists like Prince, Michael Jackson, Queen, Sade, George Michael, and The Gap Band were staples in our home. Their generation was from the 80’s and I grew up in the 90’s, which are both my favorite eras of music. I always felt I was born in the wrong generation because it’s the music I always revert back to and they’re always heavily on rotation. That’s probably why my music has this sense of nostalgia because technically I feel like I never left that era. That generation of music is timeless and I wanted my sound to be a representation of who I am what I would want to listen to.
YV: Tell us about your upcoming album “Mercury Rising”
JM: Mercury Rising chronicles the stages you go through after a break up and the steps towards healing, while finding yourself in the process. Personally I am not a serial dater, when I go into a relationship I’m 100% all in. It may not seem like it to some, but I’m a hopeless romantic and I want a love like I’ve never known. I want a healthy relationship that feels more like a partnership and not one sided. I refused to let the past jade me, so I had to change my patterns and really do my homework. Take ownership for my part, honor my feelings as they came and really get to know who I am. I was wronged but I’m not a victim. Each track emotes a different lesson learned. It was a journey of self-discovery. I know what I want and what I need in a partnership and it’s not me being picky. I just refuse to settle because I value my self-worth. Life is too short to be miserable over someone who doesn’t value you. It has been one of the hardest, loneliest yet rewarding experiences I have ever gone through, but man was it so worth it. I’m the happiest and most confident I’ve ever been and I try to surround myself with people who lift me. Mercury Rising is just showcasing that no matter what you can start over at any age. You’re not old until regrets take place of dreams. Learn from my experiences don’t wait like me - now is the time. Be compassionate towards yourself believe the impossible is possible.
YV: As a female singer/songwriter do you find that it is much harder to succeed in the music industry?
JM: Certainly. Since making this album, I now have a healthy set of boundaries and I speak up for myself. I noticed particularly in men, they tend to give me an angry impulsive emotional reaction. As if I’m not allowed to stand up for myself, and I have to accept whatever they give me and they’ll follow up whenever it’s convenient for them. For example, I hired a guy to do artwork for one of my single covers on a freelancer website. He didn’t speak one word to me and just spit out a cover where he completely smoothed out my curly hair. I was offended to say the least, but I gave him 6 chances until I kindly asked that we cancel it. That’s when he finally started to communicate with me, because he was scared the cancelation would affect his score on the site (which it doesn’t). He complied and his final message to me was, “this DOES affect my gig and I hope it affects your music career!” Really? All because I didn’t like his apathetic attempts representing my artistry. That’s the type of crap I’ve had to deal with. I just ended up doing my own cover. Sadly that’s not even the worst part. As a woman I have to be on my guard 24/7 and that’s just in general. Especially in this business, the sexual undertones are CONSTANT. It’s extremely disheartening, even if you’re around someone who’s married and you think you’re “safe” but it doesn’t mean squat. I try to be very upbeat and friendly with everyone and it’s mistaken as, I’m interested. Believe me when I am you’ll know. I see myself as a businesswoman, because this is my work. I’ve lost count of every time I’ve tried to work with a guy and he feels comfortable enough to call me sweetheart, princess, baby doll, pumpkin etc. It’s not endearing it’s insulting. Would you address your lawyer that way? I doubt men call each other these sweet endearing nicknames. People I know call me Joan. Maybe some women like it, I personally don’t and again when I correct them I get an emotional response.
I have to say though, through this entire year other female artists have been the most helpful and they did it out of the kindness of their own heart – FREE OF CHARGE. It’s like an unspoken understanding of the struggles we’re going through. So we have to look out for each other. I’m legit ready to start a revolution.
YV: What advice will you have for anyone who wants to be a recording artist?
JM: I would say, know who you are before you get into this business. You don’t want to look for someone to mold you because you might turn into someone you don’t know or even like. Have good discernment on people, if they don’t feed you positive energy, if you have to question if they’re on your team – let them go. It’s not worth the stress.
Don’t compare yourself on other people’s successes or despair on other people’s online controlled content. Rarely do we see his or her struggles, but everyone has a journey. The only person you need to compete with is yourself. Expect the unexpected with a positive attitude because if you don’t your closing the door to an endless amount of possibilities. Things never happen the way we think it will. Most importantly be true to yourself.
YV: What future goals do you have for your career?
JM: This album is just the start; it provided the tools and information I needed to ground myself.
I would love to tour and travel the world since I’ve only traveled outside the country once. I really just want to heal people with my music. I’ve always felt voiceless, and it’s crazy that I now have the ability to reach people from just about every country.
I want to continue championing for those who feel helpless and continue journaling my life experiences. I tend to only write a song when I feel I have something valuable to say, and there is so much going on in the world right now that is hard to ignore. That’s what has been on my mind lately. I’m also excited to start collaborating with other artists and eventually down the line come out with a Spanish album.
YV: What is your social media information?
JM: Website: http://www.joanmercury.com/