Mary L. Chang, ELS
Quick links to my music writing | my science writing | my specialties and experience | contact information
Hello! I'm Mary, and I imagine you are here because our paths have crossed in some way, either scientifically or musically. Here are some bits about my life and how I got to where I am today.
I trained as a molecular biologist at university and graduated with honors from the University of Maryland with a degree in biology (specialization of cell and molecular biology and genetics). Even though my days at the lab bench / Drosophila (fruit flies) are behind me, I'm still what you call a boffin when it comes to anything geeky or scientific. I still hard code HTML. By hand.
I'm Senior Editorial Manager for a major scientific society just outside Washington, DC. I keep scientists and editors alike organized as they submit and handle manuscripts that may make the cut and be published in our journals down the road. My current focus is on management of esteemed, highly-cited scholarly journals and making them run as smoothly and have as much visibility as possible. In recent times, I've delved deeper into what new technologies can make scientists' lives easier when it comes to submitting a manuscript to us and what tools are available to quantify the reach of their research. I've also worked directly on marketing campaigns for new and exciting content, promotional efforts aimed at new authors and subscribers, and other communications initiatives. To read more about my specialties in scholarly publishing and beyond, go here.
As a former scientist, I consider my scientific background to be a unique and extremely helpful asset in understanding first-hand what makes our scientist authors tick and what's important to them. I am able to easily build rapport and trust with scientists, editors and editorial boards, and colleagues with my enthusiasm in science publishing.
Music writing and promotion
But music was always my first love. I started taking piano lessons at age 3, and while I don't play (much) anymore I can still pick out melodies from days gone by and have an exceptional memory of songs and lyrics. I sang in school choir (lead alto) for as long as I can remember. My high school choir teacher cried when I told her I would be majoring in biology, not voice or piano, in university. That was a tough moment, but one that was necessary in pre-Obamacare America.
These days, I play bass (a black 5-string ESP named Blake), sing, and write songs and poetry in my spare time. As a music writer, I appreciate good songwriting and take great joy in analyzing song lyrics; whenever I'm feeling particularly inspired, I'll post my thoughts on my music interpretation site Music in Notes.
So it should come as no surprise based on my love of music that I'm also the editor and owner of my own UK/U.S./IE music Web site, There Goes the Fear (established in 2006), where I joined as USA editor in August 2009 and became editor and owner in August 2010. The site was nominated 4 years running (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, until they stopped the event) in the Best Blog Category in music industry Web site Record of the Day's annual Awards for Music Journalism. In summer 2016, I led the expansion of TGTF's focus beyond artists in the UK and U.S. to include those in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
While my site and the writings of my contributors bring our readers coverage of established bands already considered mainstream, the mission of TGTF is simple: to support talented up-and-coming acts and help them get to the stage where being a musician can lead to a sustainable career. I am a well-known and respected member of the music industry for my tireless championing of indie bands and for my hard-working ethic.
Press coverage I've done in the past covering events on three continents include:
- Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham in 2009 for PopWreckoning
- SXSW 2012 (producing 34 articles, video interviews, and photos) for There Goes the Fear
- the inaugural ARIA Week in Sydney, Australia in November 2012 (TGTF coverage here)
- SXSW 2013, producing over 50 articles previewing and reviewing the event, plus interviews, for There Goes the Fear
- SXSW 2014, for which myself and my team at TGTF produced over 100 articles, including previews, reviews of the event and interviews; view my photos of the event on my Flickr
- SXSW 2015, at which I expanded our site's scope beyond the UK, America, and Ireland, providing significant coverage on Australian and Spanish artists; myself and my team at TGTF produced over 150 articles, including previews, reviews of the event, and interviews; check out my photos from the event by flipping through my Flickr albums
- SXSW 2016, at which our coverage expanded to include the Music Conference panels; myself and my team at TGTF produced over 128 articles, including previews, reviews of the event, and interviews; check out my photos from the event by flipping through my Flickr albums
- SXSW 2017, at which our preview coverage included every UK artist given a shout to the event, including those part of the increased representation of rap and jazz from Britain; myself and my team at TGTF produced 158 articles, including previews, reviews of the event, and interviews; check out my photos from the event by flipping through my Flickr albums
- SXSW 2018, where our music coverage was augmented by my additional coverage of food and lifestyle panels; check out my photos from the event by flipping through my Flickr albums
- Norwich Sound and Vision 2015, a regional, East of England music showcase, and
- CMW 2016, TGTF's first coverage of the other big North American music conference after SXSW
- Hard Working Class Heroes 2016, the premier emerging music conference in Ireland
- BIGSOUND 2017, the premier emerging music conference in Australia, and
- similar style of coverage of Liverpool Sound City (2012, 2013, 2014), the Great Escape (Brighton) (2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018), and Live at Leeds in 2015
I was one of the first music journalists to write about the 1975 (Manchester, England), Dutch Uncles (Marple, Manchester, England), Glass Animals (Oxford, England), the Joy Formidable (North Wales), Kodaline (Dublin, Ireland), Two Door Cinema Club (Bangor, Northern Ireland), and We Were Promised Jetpacks (Edinburgh, Scotland), just to name a handful of now high-profile and highly sought after bands.
I used to write for Click Music (2010) before writing for UK print and online magazine This is Fake DIY (now DIY Mag) exclusively (2010-2012), and for American music Web site PopWreckoning (2009-2011) before it went on hiatus. On this strength of all these works, I went to the 40th anniversary of Roskilde Festival in summer 2010, where I acted as an official blogger (see the gigs page for links to the related writings for There Goes the Fear and This is Fake DIY). I was also a contributor to CALMzine, the magazine of UK anti-suicide organisation Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
My dream job? I previously fancied becoming the female successor to tireless indie music champion Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music. However, I've been reassessing this in recent months. I'd still like to be officially published, in hard copy print, but I haven't quite figured out what subject I should write on. In the meantime, I will work tirelessly for scientists and the publications that will publicize their hard work and for the musicians whose music makes my heart sing and help them with their careers.
I'm convinced the stork dropped me off in the wrong country. I adore England, Scotland, Australia, and Ireland. I have a strange, strong connection with the North of England, especially to Yorkshire and Liverpool. Following a past-life regression last year, I have great reason to believe I was previously a noblewoman who was married to a military officer in the 19th century or earlier, but I've yet to locate my former house somewhere in the English or Scottish countryside.
with Tom Chaplin (formerly of Keane)
Washington, DC, January 2017
with the incomparable Steve Lamacq
at SXSW, Austin, TX, March 2015
at King Tut's, Glasgow, May 2013
My music writing
Albums / EPs / singles I've reviewed
Artists / bands I've interviewed
Shows I've covered
I contribute / have contributed to:
- There Goes the Fear (from 2009-) - UK/US music Web site where I am editor and owner; the site was nominated four times for Record of the Day's Best Blog (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, until they stopped running the awards event)
- Music in Notes (from 2012-) - personal lyric interpretation site, providing thoughtful analysis to words in popular song
- One Week // One Band (6-10 July 2015) - popular music appreciation Web site I took over for a week, writing 30 posts about the music of English band Keane (posts in chronological order here)
- CALMzine (2011-2012) - magazine of the UK anti-suicide organisation Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM); my profile on their Web site is here; hard copy issues I've contributed to include the inaugural relaunch of the print magazine in 2011 and the 2012 Drugs issue
- This is Fake DIY (now DIY Mag) - UK music magazine (print and online; 2010-2012)
- Click Music - UK music magazine (online only; 2010)
- PopWreckoning - U.S. music blog (online only; 2009-2011), where I was their resident British music expert and wrote many of their news posts
Selected music features
Essays (for There Goes the Fear)
- These Wounds, They Will Not Heal: Chester Bennington and the Spectre of Depression and Suicide in Music, July 2017
- Bowie vs. Grime: The 2016 Mercury Prize Story, 16 September 2016
- Tom Chaplin previews his debut solo album with 'Hardened Heart' (In the Post #155), 25 August 2016
- Power to the Purple One: The Legacy of Prince, 25 April 2016
- He Thinks He's Blow Our Minds: The Legacy of David Bowie, 12 January 2016
- Gig Observations of 2015: Editor's Picks and Thoughts on the Live Music Industry
- You're in Ecstasy Without Me: How Jamie xx and his debut album 'In Colour' managed to polarise the entire music industry, 5 June 2015
- This is the Last Time? - A Retrospective on Keane, 25 October 2013
- Mercury Prize Shortlist 2013: Is It Even Relevant Anymore?, 12 September 2013
- Is Breaking Up Your Band Hard to Do? Three Case Studies from Summer 2013, 1 August 2013
- Homegrown British Talent to Shine at London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, 29 June 2012
- To Glee or not to Glee? - The Permission and Use of Indie Music in Mainstream TV, 9 May 2012
- The Issue with Reissues, 8 March 2012
Top albums of the year (my picks as Editor of TGTF): 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
- Rachel K. Collier at SXSW 2018 in Austin, TX part 1 | part 2 (for There Goes the Fear)
- C Duncan in November 2017 in Washington, DC part 1 | part 2 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Willaris K. at BIGSOUND 2017 in Brisbane, Australia (for There Goes the Fear)
- Mattie Vant of VANT in November 2016 for There Goes the Fear)
- Tom Chaplin (formerly of Keane) in October 2016 over Skype part 1 | part 2 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Daithi at CMW 2016 in Toronto, Canada (audio, for There Goes the Fear)
- Alex Robertshaw of Everything Everything at SXSW 2016 in Austin, TX (audio, for There Goes the Fear)
- Oli Steadman of Stornoway in September 2015 over Skype (for There Goes the Fear)
- Marika Hackman in July 2015 in Washington, DC (for There Goes the Fear)
- Pete Lawrie-Winfield of Until the Ribbon Breaks in June 2015 in Washington, DC (for There Goes the Fear)
- East India Youth (William Doyle) at SXSW 2015 in Austin, TX (audio, for There Goes the Fear, also featured on the artist's Facebook)
- Cloud Boat in October 2014 in Liverpool, England part 1 | part 2 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Ben and Ross Duffy of Fenech-Soler in Brooklyn, NY (audio, for There Goes the Fear)
- DJ Colette at SXSW 2014 in Austin, TX (audio, for There Goes the Fear)
- BBC radio presenter Chris Hawkins in May 2013 in Liverpool, England part 1 | part 2 (for There Goes the Fear)
- vocal rehabilitation specialist Dane Chalfin in Salford, England in December 2011 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Elbow: 'Can This Job Get Any Better?' | interview with guitar Mark Potter in September 2011 in Washington, DC (for This is Fake DIY)
- Holy Ghost!: Total Bros | interview with Alex Frankel in May 2011 (for This is Fake DIY)
- Yoko Ono in April 2010 (for PopWreckoning, featured on Yoko Ono's official Web site Imagine Peace)
- Us Vs. Them curated by Field Music at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, England, 2 December 2017 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Everything Everything at Black Cat, Washington, DC, 14 October 2017 (for There Goes the Fear)
- TENDER at Songbyrd Music House, Washington, DC, 24 September 2017 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Everything Everything at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC, 8 August 2016 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Field Music at DC9, Washington, DC, 24 March 2016 (for There Goes the Fear)
- East India Youth at Coventry Tin, 3 October 2015 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Ride at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, 17 September 2015 (for There Goes the Fear)
- The Staves at Dublin Olympia, 6 May 2015 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Glass Animals at Glasgow CCA, 17 October 2014 (for There Goes the Fear)
- School of Language at Manchester Deaf Institute, 28 April 2014 (for There Goes the Fear)
- Little Comets at the Hamilton, Washington, DC, 13 August 2013 (for There Goes the Fear)
- The Crookes at London Scala, 21 May 2013 (for There Goes the Fear)
- The Gaslight Anthem at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC, 20 July 2012 (for This is Fake DIY)
- Keane at Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD, 14 June 2012 (for There Goes the Fear)
Selected science writings
For ASBMB Today:
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "JLR co-editor Witztum steps down"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "Stop the fat: Holding back intestinal lipids from going into circulation in a zebrafish"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "Use your bean (and grain)"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "Effects of follistatin on brown fat"
- ASBMB Today web exclusive: "In the Mood: Science-y Songs to Soundtrack Your Valentine's Day"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "New biomarker for diagnosing patients with degenerative eye disease"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "New thematic review series begins: Living History of Lipids"
- Journal of Lipid Research news item: "New antibody-based test for detecting tuberculosis infection"
- Interview feature: "Meet Nick Davidson"
Go here for more of my science writing.
- FDA-Approved Anti-HIV Medications
- Safety of Anti-HIV Medications During Pregnancy
- Recommended Immunizations for HIV Positive Adults
- Preventive HIV Vaccines
Scientific journal management / editing / writing specialties and experience
- management of peer-reviewed article process for scholarly journals, including customization of HighWire Bench Press systems
- substantive content editing, copyediting, and proofreading skills
- journal Web site redesign to improve user experience (UX/UI)
- promotion of content, including design of subpages, brochures, and other physical handouts, and the writing of targeted emails
- rewriting technical terminology into lay language for the biological sciences
- publication ethics investigation and preparation of documents
- advising to Editors-in-Chief on content and policy matters
- sales of scientific content for commercial use
- mentoring of young / new editorial staff through ISMTE
- diplomatic and effective liaising and communication with editors, reviewers, and authors
- excellent oral and written communication skills with scientists, press, and lay people
- outstanding attention to detail
Music editing / writing / promoting specialties
- extensive music writing, band interview, and promotion experience
- proficiency in HTML and Wordpress, Google Analytics and Adsense, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking
- outstanding attention to detail
- excellent oral and written liaison / communication skills with bands, their management, PR, and other related parties
At the moment, the people that I would like to interview are (in no particular order):
- Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane), as I've already interviewed Tom Chaplin, who was absolutely delightful!
- Brett Anderson (Suede)
- Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy)
- Steve Lamacq (Because if I could have any job in the world, I'd want his, because I've seen what he has been able to do by spreading the good word on bands and artists he feels strongly about. As we are friends now, it seems more likely though that we'd be going out for pints and having a relaxed conversation on how he got started and how he thinks music is going to go in the next 25 and 50 years.)
- Stuart Maconie (I met him entirely by accident when I was interviewing Marc Riley at MediaCityUK. Below is a photo with him in 2011, long before I started wearing contacts and I was about a stone and a half heavier. He's my music writing hero.)
Where else to find me online
back to the start
- Email (remove NOSPAM before sending)
- On Flickr (live gig photo albums)
- On Soundcloud
- TGTF on Soundcloud
- @theprintedword on Twitter
- @tgtf (TGTF on Twitter)