Greenwich singer/songwriter begins her musical journey
Updated 6:24 pm, Sunday, August 13, 2017
GREENWICH — Barbara Ward said she loves to tell people that her daughter, Mary Andrews, was the perfect infant until she could learn to walk, at which point she curiously wandered and walked around wherever she went.
In a way, it foreshadowed a daughter who was never afraid to change direction or strike out for something new.
“Mary was fearless,” she said. “That really did translate somehow to cheerleading, where she could just do those jumps and stuff like that.
“Mary always wanted to be front and center; as she was growing up, she became a very good competitive cheerleader and was often the one that was front and center,” Ward said. “I don’t know (when) she knew she had the talent to write a song and play the piano to accompany herself. It developed in the past few years.”
Andrews, 20, is wrapping up the summer at home in Greenwich before heading back to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. While she is enrolled in a business program, her main focus is to build a singing career after releasing her first professionally-recorded song this summer, “Our Night,” on SoundCloud and YouTube: http://ow.ly/jniJ30ejZn8.
But even a singing career is a change from where she was headed while at Greenwich High School.
“My sister was captain of the cheerleading team,” Andrews said, sitting at a stone chessboard table on Strickland Avenue recently, sipping a tall matcha green tea from Starbucks. “She made the varsity team as a freshman. And with anything you do, when your family is that involved with something, it really does consume your life.
“She made the team when I was in middle school and my dad was like, “OK, we’re gonna do this,”’ she said. “And then I tried out and made the team, and then the whole GHS cheerleading team was in our house every day.”
About four years ago, Andrews’ father died.
“That's honestly the biggest motivation that anyone could ever get,” she said. “He would be the front-runner in anything I wanted to do. It just happened to be cheerleading when I was in high school.
“But I know for a fact that he would be sitting here next to me right now, saying, “So what do you want to ask me (about Mary)?”’ Andrews said, smiling and gesturing to the space next to her at the table.
Three years ago, when Andrews graduated from GHS and had a room and roommate already picked out at UConn — where she made the cheerleading team — she changed her mind mid-summer.
“She started to see that cheerleading wasn’t the thing that was going to take her into the rest of her life,” Ward said.
And being in a different place, Andrews said, studying abroad at the University of St. Andrews, life’s distractions fall away, leaving nothing to latch onto but a person’s core.
“My freshman year in college,” she said, “I was convinced I was going to be a doctor. Then I changed all that. I wanted to be a psychologist... Then I didn’t want to do that. I kept trying different things, but it wasn’t working.
“Something didn’t feel right,” she said. “It just didn’t fit.”
Then Andrews boyfriend, Logan Bohbot, 21, sent her an electronic dance track to write a song for.
Bohbot was the first person she shared her music with, she said, although she’s been singing and songwriting casually since childhood. Aspirations to be a pop singer, Andrews said, are often seen as a lofty dream. But for Andews, the dream has become more solid.
Her recently-released ballad features her voice and piano. It takes inspiration from some of her biggest pop musical influences — Taylor Swift, Jessie J and Amy Winehouse — in melody, vocal range and by emulating raw emotion, she said.
Bohbot is another Greenwich native who turned to a career in music and has been mixing and remixing songs since he was a student at Greenwich High in 2013. Now he splits his time between Greenwich and Los Angeles, and focuses much of his time producing and improving his music and learning to build a career around it.
“Her drive, work ethic, motivation, spirit and passion for music is so inspiring,” he said. “(Mary) is special.”
With her musical introduction completed, a major focus now, said Andrews’ voice teacher Vicki Natale, is preserving Andrews’ voice to maintain its strength and quality throughout a long performance. It also means refining her singing and piano-playing, and teaching her how to be the artist she wants to be while using skills she already has.
“I think if you are successful at one thing,” Natale said, “that energy and that mental focus can go over into something else ... When you’re in a crowd of 10 people, five people, 10,000 people, it’s your job to move them. You have to make them feel something and she can certainly take that energy to singing.”
And with a song released that has garnered positive feedback, Andrews said, she is more driven to pull those old songs out of her back pocket and look at them again, keep building and creating professionally recorded material for a future EP, and continue networking in Greenwich — and Edinburgh where she will be returning this fall when classes start up again.
“I think music is the core,” she said. “If I can just keep making good music, then that's all I really want to do ... You know where you’re supposed to be when you get there.”
E: JTuriano@greenwichtime.com; T: @jturianoGT; IG: @greenwichgreen