Named as an emerging star by David Porter as part of the Consortium Memphis Music Town program, Mary Owens is a Memphis artist whose sound is roaring through City of Memphis. Pulling from many styles, including R&B, soul, pop, jazz, and alternative, it is hard to describe her using only one genre; she encompasses a style she has dubbed as “soul-pop.”
Memphis Flyer music editor Joe Boone describes her best when he said, “Mary Owens takes an impressionistic jazz approach with a voice that hovers over the chords until it strikes like lightning.”
Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, this singer/songwriter began singing and performing at a young age in school and church productions. Her mother, a pianist, and her father, a guitarist, always encouraged her to explore musical interests.
“Living in a musical household really allowed me to freely create,” says Mary. Owens was introduced to many different musical influences by her mother and father and every one of those influences have shaped her immensely diverse sound.
As a self-taught pianist and guitarist, Mary began writing and playing her own songs at the age of seventeen. However, it wasn’t until she moved to the musically rich city of Memphis, Tennessee that she began to study music business and truly develop her career as an artist.
Mary garnered the attention of her peers quickly around The University of Memphis campus just by singing some of her favorite songs acapella outside of the music building. She covered artist ranging from Blackstreet to Lauryn Hill and drew crowds to hear her carol songs that no one would even think she knew. Mary artistically knew how to stand out by fitting in.
“I just remember when I first moved to Memphis everyone was talking about jazz and blues, and I knew then this was where I needed to be,” Mary says. Mary was signed to Blue Tom Records in 2014 and has appeared all over the Bluff City in venues such as The New Daisy, The Hi-Tone, and Otherlands. “Being a Blue Tom artist has definitely opened major doors for me and my career,” says Mary.
Mary recorded her debut album, Sweet Soul, at the legendary Royal Studio’s with the aid of Boo Mitchell. With many historic musical influences, Mary puts her own spin on Memphis soul. “I want my sound to impact people like the legends I love impacted me.”