One Astoria singer is hoping her lyrics will fill listeners with enough positive energy that they in turn will contribute to an online campaign to help her release her first album.
Mary Walker has always had a passion and love for music. Growing up in Kansas she would listen to her mother and brother practice musical instruments throughout the house. She sang at her church’s youth choir, and in college she was the lead singer of her own rock band.
“Typically when I was growing up the house would be filled with music. Everyone was practicing their instruments,” Walker said. “I come from a strong gospel and blues background.”
When she made the move to New York in 2001 she started another band. But after the terror attacks on Sept. 11 of that year, she said she felt her life became filled with stress and she needed to find a way to relax.
She then encountered the nonprofit educational and humanitarian organization The Art of Living, which would send teachers to New York City to teach people meditation. Walker began taking classes and attending chanting sessions with the organization.
“It really changed my life,” she said.
Through her experience with the sessions she got together with other members of the meditation group and started a chanting band, which later morphed into the band Butterthief. The band plays “sit-down, traditional chanting music with a pop spin to it,” she said.
Although she is still rocking out with Butterthief, after the business she owned folded last year, she decided it would be time to focus on her music career and work on her solo album. In order to fund the album release, she started a campaign on gofundme.com.
“My focus is creating a movement. Change starts with the individual,” Walker said. “For people to make a change, it first has to start with you.”
The funds gathered by the campaign will pay for the studio time, recording software, music publishing and other aspects that go into producing the album. She plans to work with guitarist Aram Bajakian, who played on tour with Lou Reed.
The album, which has a release date slated for April, will be filled with rock, alternative and soulful “happy” songs, all written by Walker.
“I want to create a fan base of people who like to listen to positive, uplifting music,” Walker said. “My focus is to have uplifting and passionate music.”
To contribute to Walker’s campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/marywalker.
Along with singing in the band and working on her solo album, Walker also helps to host “Yoga Remix Parties” where partygoers, specifically in colleges and universities, listen to Sanskrit chants set to electronic music and rock beats. The parties are substance free and include organic juices and food.
“People go away feeling free and partying without drugs and alcohol,” Walker said. “You don’t really need anything to have fun and have a good time.”
When she is not singing or hosting the parties, Walker can also be found volunteering for The Art of Living, going to prisons with a colleague where they teach meditation and breathing techniques to groups of teenage boys.
“Not even at home or school are you taught to deal with negative emotions,” Walker said. “They’ve been so grateful.”