We are spending Friday’s exploring and featuring our Laners! This past year has been challenging for us all and yet, our Laners continue to pursue their passions, grow, and expand their skill sets to meet the new challenges life has thrown their way. We are incredibly proud of their hard work, adaptability, and artistry. It is our pleasure to feature some outstanding Laners over the next few months! And today’s spotlight is on Mary Kate Eckmann!
What is the new job or project you’ve taken on?
Me, myself, and I.
I have had many internal demons whom I have allowed to pull me down, out of touch and out of focus over the years. Somehow this pandemic has helped me work to acknowledge quite a few of them. Before the pandemic, I was strictly a Stay At Home Mom; in my head, that was who I was supposed to be. I left no time for myself: no writing, no singing, no performing, even though I had just finished recording my new band’s (Why Not Be Lovely) debut EP while I was pregnant with my second child. I had such high hopes with everything I could accomplish for my music with two children at home in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn.
After my son was born in 2019, all of my career plans had changed. The lack of sleep, energy, fatigue and addition loneliness/sadness of never seeing my husband/friends anymore as well as losing what I had known to be *me* because my kids needed all of me 24/7 took a toll on my mental health. I did not believe my EP would be heard by anyone, I believed my hard work did not matter anymore because I felt that piece of me had been a pipe dream I never should have started.
Cue the pandemic.
My husband had been furloughed in March which meant all four of us (two toddlers and two adults) were together. So. Much. Togetherness. The first 4 months my life was simply trying to keep any sense of sanity as well as being on our toes for the possibility of Josh going back to work with (again, possibly ) little to no notice. This meant all of my time became dedicated to my entire family’s well being and left me even more drained, emotionally distraught and lost. By late Summer, it was crystal clear we were going to be together for a lot longer than we expected. With this epiphany, my brain somehow flipped a positive switch. Knowing two parents were definitely going to be home for the indefinite future, I declared territory over myself. I began to write again, hum new melodies, as well as rehearse/promote the amazing EP I had written/recorded/released a year and a half prior. I finally felt that feeling of “I can do anything and I am going to do just that”. I now had the time to work on me (myself, my art, everything) and I finally said, “Don’t waste this.”
What made you go in this direction?
I have been sitting on time for a lot longer than I would like to admit, and I don’t want to sit anymore. I have two children who look to me with such innocence, I want them to see me as the women who gave everything her all with love, honesty, compassion and strength. I have found it so easy to simply become a cheerleader instead of showing how you also belong in the game. I have been playing the music industry game off and on since I was 19 and I am currently on the eve of my 36th birthday. Not only do I not want to let my children down, but I owe a lot to my 19 year old self who wrote and recorded her first song. I am still her and I’ve made her sit out for too long out of fear and insecurities. Not anymore, it’s time to stand up.
What has been the most exciting part of taking on this new adventure?
The most exciting part of this new adventure is feeling the weight and fear I have been carrying for my whole life built entirely of “what ifs” and “maybes” slowly chip off of my soul. I have learned to open doors in tech where before I had to always reach out to others to do the work for me. I shot and edited my first music video (ever!) this year and I’m pretty damn proud. I have even become better at asking for help/advice, something I never would have done before this major growth because of my deep rooted fear that everyone doesn’t like me, I’m bothering them, or they will think I am an idiot.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout this journey?
I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I could be. It’s honestly mind blowing. I have always felt like something had to be sacrificed, even my own happiness, in order to make it through life. But now I know this is not true. It does not bode well to live your own life half way so everyone else around you can succeed. A person can absolutely still cheer on their friends and as well as make themselves a priority. My home is such a happier place now that I have broken through this self made barrier. I am a much happier person after breaking through this barrier.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward mostly to finally doing my current EP justice. I want to create another music video and finally perform these songs live. These creations are too good not to make homes in listeners ears.
By finding appreciation in my past/current work, I am also excited about the writing I have been doing, but I am trying not to get ahead of myself. Stay tuned when it comes to new material.
Do you have any advice to those looking to follow in your footsteps?
The only reason time will ever be your enemy is if you do nothing with it.