FOTO BY Paola Kudacki
First comes the voice: a force of nature, powerful, touching all registers of emotion at the same time. And then you see her: a delicate blonde girl, observing you with her huge blue eyes. There is a contradiction, a void inside Mary, and concealed within it lies both her mystery and her inner truth. She will never fully reveal herself to you, but she will let you experience the trembling, resonating surface of her soul.
"I’m quite sure that I started singing before I learned to speak. I grew up with gospel music – my mom was a singer. I remember going to gospel concerts with my family. There, everybody was allowed to sing as loud as they wanted. Then came music school, where I was given the tools and the freedom to express myself. I took part in all the singing contests at school. Everybody knew, that although I studied the piano, I would eventually end up as a singer."
Mary’s artistic identity was shaped by the times of change. She was born and raised in 90’s Warsaw, which at that time was a world of contrasts. A child of a theatre actor and a singer, she spent her childhood in Warsaw’s notorious Praga neighborhood, where she attended music school
right in the middle of the most violent street block in Poland’s capital. Being a frail girl, she found strength within her powerful voice. She found and immersed herself in music: the pop culture of the MTV generation and classical school forming her musical identity between Frederic Chopin and Backstreet Boys.
"I was a shy kid and that’s why I chose to study the organ. It gave me a sense of strength and courage. Playing the organ is much like piloting a spaceship: it involves your whole body and mind. Only while playing, could I truly focus and concentrate."
A whole new world was emerging. Warsaw’s club scene boomed, and the music called for her. Mary would sneak out of her parent’s house at night and go to the legendary Utopia club, one of the first gay-friendly places in the city, which later would become the major social hub for artists, creatives and fashion people. A revolution was underway in Warsaw. The city was open to new talent and inspiration and Mary was in the center of it. Together with her twin brother, she became a muse for painters, designers and photographers.
A spontaneous decision lead Mary to move to Paris, where she was supposed to finance her opera studies with various modeling jobs. Praga was to Warsaw what the Banlieues were to Paris, and so it was quite natural for Mary to be in the company of French hip-hop artists. She made encounters with rappers, such as Mystik, and started recording with them, while working for the sophisticated Rue du Mail fashion brand. At this point it was becoming clear to Mary that she wants to focus on songwriting and singing.
In 2008 she met her future husband Antoni, a film music composer based in Berlin. They started working together on her music material. She formed a band. Soon, her songs were spotted by one of Berlin’s top music producers, Guy Sternberg, who had previously worked with artists such as Feist or Yoko Ono. He offered to produce her debut album. Together, they created an original
soundscape, focused entirely on exposing Mary’s original, soulful voice.
The album titled "Mary Komasa", released in 2015, became an instant success. Critics and audiences appreciated the cinematic melancholy of her songs. They were chosen to become part of multiple film scores, including the Lions Gate/NBC mini-series "Rosemary’s Baby". In Mary’s own words:
"I know that a song is good, when I can imagine it as music for final credits in a film. When I write, I start with my memories. I’m trying to create a movie scene in my head, with me as the main character. And then I’m looking for a sentence, a word to build from. This is where the story begins."
The songs were accompanied by original and provocative music videos, created by a group of
outstanding visual artists. The most scandalous of them, "Lost Me", directed by Mary’s brother Jan Komasa and starring the supermodel Anja Rubik, sparked a lot of controversy in the fashion industry after it premiered on Nowness. The song and video received a lot of praise in the media. Lui Magazine wrote: "After "City of My Dreams" and "Come", Mary now offers us "Lost Me", a gentle melody which will surely move all those who have experienced different lives during the course of their existence."
In her interview with the W Magazine, Anja described their collaboration on the video: "We actually took it further than we originally thought it would go because it felt organic and right," Rubik said of the nudity, crediting her comfort to a “strong bond” with Komasa.
The video to the song "Oh Lord" was directed and shot by Paola Kudacki, one of the best fashion photographers, in cooperation with the Milk Studio in NYC, and "City of My Dreams" was created by the New York based visual artist Z. Bzymek, in collaboration with the Wooster Group Theatre.
After finishing the promotion of her debut album, which included live shows in Paris, New York, Berlin, Hamburg and Warsaw, Mary now focuses on writing songs for her second LP, with release planned before the end of 2017.
She describes her creative process:
"There are many of my own memories and experiences hidden in my lyrics. I’m trying to be honest with myself. The message of my music is that you are created by the experiences you had in your life, so don’t try to delete them from your system. Turn them into your strength."