More About the Author
For years, Mary Beth has been at the next table over from you at cafes. She's writing in notebooks, journals, on napkins, on her laptop, her hand, and anything else she could find when the need to write announced itself. Having spent her midwestern childhood avoiding not-so-subtle suggestions to "go outside and play!," she chose instead to curl up and read Nancy Drew books or to play the piano. As the eldest of six children, it was probably a good escape tactic.
From her first 'personal-growth' book (Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull at age 8, when she didn't understand a whit of it) to the most recent titles in her library (too many to list here), MB was always drawn to the psychology, self-help, or esoteric aisles of bookstores. It's probably the Scorpio in her.
Mary Beth began writing music from an early age, and performing professionally while in high school. (Well, she was paid. Not a lot, but it still counts.) Later she wrote occasional articles in college (Northwestern, CAS '93) and long letters from England when attending St. Edmund Hall at Oxford. (The internet existed then, but only for about twelve people who knew how to use it.)
In recent years, Mary Beth began finding a real niche in her writing -- creativity. Her blog on "Art, Passion, and Purpose" began drawing a devoted following, and Mary Beth formed a company called "Creative Weekends," where women could attend inspiring, artistic getaways and focus on their creative goals. She also began a Creative Coaching practice, where she helped emerging songwriters and other artists find and nurture their unique voices and shorten the 'on-ramp' between idea and completed project.
The idea for "KickAss Creativity" came to life while reading a (surprise!) personal growth book by Lynn Grabhorn called, "Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting," awhile back. As she read, it kept occurring to Mary Beth how much she'd like to interpret the energetic approaches and practical concepts in the book with a focus toward fellow musicians and artists. As she began working on an adaptation of Grabhorn's book, the manuscript began changing direction (as they do), and she realized that her personal and professional experiences had prepared her to write a different book altogether.
"KickAss Creativity -- An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionals" became the textbook of how Mary Beth herself works; as she wrote, she dissected her own habits, excuses, sparkles of discipline, and helpful tidbits that she's gathered over the years. The process of writing a book about creativity became an exercise worthy of a Charlie Kaufman screenplay . . . How do you write about creative blocks when you're creatively blocked? How do you coach others out of a procrastination jag while you're in the middle of one yourself? How do you possibly find time in our overcrammed schedules to make sense of a thousand ideas that are all, somehow, related. You do. She did. It worked out and somehow, with two-year-old Daisy and (hungry) husband Mark in the background and a series of marathon 'work nights' in her favorite Utah cafes, Mary Beth put all the words into some kind of order. And now it's out there in the world, for the 'presentation and response' part of the creative process. Hmmm.
Along with writing, Mary Beth is also a sought-after presenter on creativity, frequently speaking to groups and facilitating creative workshops for all levels of artists, explorers, and (you got it), creative professionals looking for more fun, fulfillment, and freedom in their work and play.
"KickAss Creativity" is Mary Beth's first book. She really hopes you'll like it.
Mary Beth Maziarz has had her original songs featured in over 50 television shows and films. She's appeared as herself in teen dramas, had a song on the second "Dawson's Creek" soundtrack, and if you were 14 in 1999 and glued to the WB, you may have totally known who she was.
Mary Beth started writing songs as a kid in Illinois -- jamming out her compositions on the funky upright piano in her family's basement. When Mom and Dad decided she'd made the cut, a grand piano came onto the scene upstairs, and she started playing when 'company' came over. Piano cover gigs soon started competing with her steady seventh-grade babysitting nights (and winning), so she ditched the neighbor kid gig and began taking the song thing more seriously.
She first performed her original music as a freshman in high school, playing her song "Friends - Through the Years" for other girls while playing hookey from tennis. The seniors really liked it - they cried! -- and badgered her to play it for the school talent show. Mary Beth played it for the talent show and the crowd was on their feet. She was hooked.
In college at Northwestern University in Evanston IL, MB played in local cafes and composed scores for student plays. The college scene was glutted with emerging songwriters, but Mary Beth carved out a devoted fan base while playing a weekly residency at Tommy Nevins' Pub. Singing at the pub, also a home to Mary Beth's dubious waitress skills, allowed her to experiment with new material and develop a better rapport with audiences. (Patrons' drunkenness helped with her nervousness.) A year at Oxford in England also brought more pub-playing opportunities; then, as now, British Sterling was hammering the dollar, so the little sing-for-her-supper gigs and attentive audiences really nourished the young performer.
After school, as her compatriots largely went off to find fame & fortune as actors in Hollywood or as number-crunchers at Arthur Anderson, MB announced she was moving Out West. . . to Utah, specifically - part-time home to movie stars, record moguls, and other fabulously connected people. She began a longterm gig playing piano and singing at the Riverhorse Café, a beautiful, upscale lemon-in-the-water restaurant on Main Street. The Riverhorse gave her music a high-profile place to grow in Park City and a place to begin distributing her first two albums ("Something Real" & "Snowed In") as her performances there began to draw serious support from locals and glitterati visitors alike. Her lush piano skills and gorgeous alto, along with midwestern warmth and sense of humor onstage, began attracting more and more attention. She was Diana Krall, Aimee Mann, and Bonnie Raitt, in the body of a 5'10" blonde with a sweet smile and an earthy sense of humor. Invitations to play high-profile gigs began filling her in-box.
In 1999, Mary Beth's music caught the ears of producers of the popular tv show, "Dawson's Creek." They contacted her about featuring one of her songs, "Hold On," in the final scene of the Season Three Premiere. Everything changed. More of her songs were featured in the show. Other folks came a callin'. Fans wrote to her, clamoring for all the DC songs on one album. She listened, printing 300 CDs of the songs and demos that appeared on Dawson's Creek, calling the project "A More Perfect World." They sold out in nine days. She made more.
From there, she put out the shimmering "Goodnight, Goodnight" and continued to find her music in demand for tv shows (Party of Five, Everwood, Joan of Arcadia) and films (Broken Hearts Club, The Real Thing). Mary Beth also found herself performing at outdoor festivals, bigger club gigs, and upscale "house concerts"-- private concerts in ballrooms, outdoor stages, and music rooms around the country (including those of Robert Redford and bigwigs who worked for Donald Trump). In November of 2004, her music jumped the pond when her song "True Believer" became the theme for "Bianca - Wege Zum Gluck," a show that aired daily in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She brushed up on her German. There was much brushing to do.
After a nourishing rest in the album production process, MB was ready to get back into the studio. Along came producer Craig Poole. Poole's rock-solid rhythmic sensibility and love of sweet old-school funk/R&B brought a new energy and groove to the tracks. He also introduced the magic of vintage keyboards, bringing in Rhodes, Wurlitzers, and other beaucoup beautiful sounds to the mix. "Wish" was born. Several tracks from Wish were immediately licensed for the ABC Family program, Beautiful People, and Mary Beth signed with the Film/TV music agency, Riptide (Los Angeles). Her song "This Is Our Life" from Wish has been used in hundreds of videos on YouTube and at many weddings and other significant family events. It's cool having a song be a part of other people's deeply sentimental moments.
Most recently, Mary Beth has entered the world of writing and playing music for children. When her daughter Daisy was born in 2007, MB decided it would be fun to record some upbeat, playful songs for kids. Producers of an animated series called Crab Cove contacted her about creating an album to go along with its eco-friendly episodes about sweet sea creatures, and the timing and message was perfect. "My Beach Town - Songs from Crab Cove" came to life and will hit the shelves as soon as the series begins airing next year.