On the release day of their debut album People Passing Through, we bring you an interview with Corrie Dunn and Mary Gospe of The Song Gardeners. Here we learn how the band came to be, how they work with music and their plans for 2022!
BT Fasmer: How did you meet – and what inspired you to form the band?
Mary Gospe: We met 20 years ago when our sons attended kindergarten together and quickly became friends with a shared passion for music and organic gardening. Several years ago, we took songwriting classes together at our local junior college. In 2019, I was in a cover band and we needed a substitute keyboard player. I called Corrie and she played keys and sang at a few of our gigs. We realized how special it was when we harmonized together. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to perform solo for 3 hours at a local venue and asked Corrie to join me. We had so much fun that we decided to form our own band, with a focus on performing our original material.
BT: Looking back to August 2019 when the band was formed, I guess it is safe to say that your timing was great? Due to the pandemic, the need for positive and uplifting music has been growing ever since.
Corrie Dunn: The pandemic brought an overwhelming amount of fear, anxiety, and judgment into the world. The lockdown provided time for us to create positive and uplifting songs with the intention to remind people that we are all unique, we are not alone, and we all have something to add to the world. Our songs honor diversity and respect for each other even when we disagree, with the hope of living together peacefully and making the world a better place.
BT: Tell us about the process behind your music. How do you divide the work?
Mary: We are both songwriters and many of our songs were written solely by one of us. In those cases we provide a rough demo of the song to our producer, David Scheibner, who creates or augments the beat and adds in additional instruments and loops to craft our chill, groove vibe.
David co-wrote “Harmony of Contrast” with me, providing musical chords and elements to support my lyric and melody. Reveal is the first song in which all three of us were co-writers. In that case, David provided the beat (in the style of Enigma) and we toplined. I had been working on the concept of Reveal (a song about women’s empowerment) and had some rough lyrics. Corrie took my notes, wrote a chant and finalized the lyric. We had the chant translated into Farsi and Spanish to expand on the global message.
Corrie: Mary had already established herself as an inspirational singer-songwriter with the release of her debut album, “Time to Soar,” in 2019. Her songs are filled with positive messages of love, freedom, unity and oneness. She invited me to sing backing vocals on the album and while we were in Los Angeles recording with producer David Vito Gregoli, we had the pleasure of hearing Donna De Lory perform at a small venue in Topanga Canyon. That inspired me to write my first chant song, “Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu” (which is a Buddhist chant meaning May All Beings Be Well). Mary followed along shortly thereafter with “Love Flows,” her blessing for humanity.
We wanted our music to be in the style of contemporary pop and David created this atmospheric, chill, groove vibe that we fell in love with. We married that with our positive, empowering messages and our sound was born.
We’ve had fans tell us that our music is healing and that it has really helped them through times of grief and dealing with the stress of the pandemic. Hearing that makes us very happy that our music can affect people in a positive way.
BT: Your song “Reveal” is about women’s rights and gender equality. As a father of young women myself, I found the song both inspiring and hopeful. Is this a topic you want to explore more?
Corrie: Yes, women’s rights and gender equality are issues we bring to the forefront in our song “Reveal”. There are parts of the world where women do not have the same freedom and rights as men. We hope the messages in our music encourage people to shift from fear, judgment, and control into a place of love, unity, respect, and peace.
BT: Since The Song Gardeners were formed, there has been a lot of political instability and civil unrest, both in the US and internationally. But even in this climate, you are not afraid to voice your opinions. How have people responded to that?
Mary: The people who are drawn to our music resonate with our messages of love, peace, freedom and personal empowerment. That’s why the New Age audience has been such a good fit for us.
With my song, “Warrior of Light,” I do call out the global news narrative of fear, control and manipulation. I feel it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, while focusing on what you want to create and to do so with joy, courage and peace. The bridge of the song focuses on this message:
Stand up – reclaim your sovereignty,
Stand up – for what you believe,
Stand up – create a new story,
Stand up – peacefully, peacefully.
BT: You have managed to cultivate both a local and a global audience. What is your advice to artists who want to follow your example?
Corrie: We are fortunate in that we have found a niche for ourselves, helping to create this new genre of music we call New Age Pop. Our advice is to be true to yourself, be your authentic self and have fun exploring your own unique musical style and messages if you are writing lyrics.
BT: Now when “People Passing Through” is out; Will you focus on promoting the album, or will you start making new music right away?
Mary: Both really. We will continue promoting the album and performing. We look forward to putting together a tour in 2022. We will be writing and recording new songs. So look for more singles to be released in 2022.
BT: Anything else you want to say to your fans?
Corrie: We are honored to be living our dream – crafting and performing songs we love with empowering, positive messages. Thank you to our fans for supporting us, listening to our songs and sharing our music and music videos with others. We love and appreciate every one of you.
BT: Thank you so much Corrie and Mary for taking the time to answer these questions. On behalf of all your fans; thank you so much for the music – you are amazing!!
For more information and music samples, visit thesonggardeners.com