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.

Science publishing

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.

May 2018

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:

Selected music features

Essays (for There Goes the Fear)

Top albums of the year (my picks as Editor of TGTF): 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010


Live reviews

Selected science writings

For ASBMB Today:

For NIH/AIDSinfo: Go here for more of my science writing.

Scientific journal management / editing / writing specialties and experience

Music editing / writing / promoting specialties

At the moment, the people that I would like to interview are (in no particular order):

Where else to find me online back to the start