DIY Spotlight: Mary Bragg

Producer and musician Mary Bragg has been singing since before she can remember, a fact that has been caught on family home videos. 

“I grew up in a big, southern family, where singing in school and in church was a primary pastime, and I started playing guitar in high school at church camp, where somebody taught me how to play ‘Closer to Fine’ by the Indigo Girls,” Bragg says. “Santa Claus brought me my own Martin DM in 1998, and that is still my primary acoustic guitar to this day.”

Bragg defines her “I wrote my first song in high school...” story as cliche, but it was born out of grief from losing her cousin. She moved to Nashville in 2013 and started taking her writing seriously. 

Nowadays, the artist describes her sound as “song-obsessed folk-Americana complete with lush guitars and harmonic layers to support the lyric.” And she’s doing just fine with it.

“Being a winner of the 2017 MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest was a feather in my cap that I really needed at the time, or at least that’s what I told myself,” she said. “Producing a record of my own for the first time (Violets as Camouflage) in 2019 was another big turning point, when, I liked what I’d made, and it seemed other people did, too.

”The term [DIY] usually sends the conversation to the business side of things, which of course can be a rabbit hole of a topic, but in a musical sense, DIY is a real gift,” Bragg says. “The call and challenge to do it—the work —yourself, couldn’t be a sweeter gift, since having the ability and privilege to express yourself with your voice or an instrument is pretty unbeatable.”

Bragg’s latest release is “Hard Time,” taken from her new album.

“‘Hard Time’ is a pandemic song written on the front porch of my good friend and co-writer on this song, Caroline Spence,” she said. “I loved that day. It was so surreal to be writing in person again after what seemed like a decade of Zoom writes. That song is on my new self-titled album, which was recorded during the pandemic, mostly remotely, in Nashville and New York, where I live right now. 

For more, visit marybragg.com.