Mary L. Chang
Hello! I'm Mary, and I imagine you are here because our paths have crossed in some way, either musically or scientifically. Here are some bits about my life and how I got to where I am today.
For over a decade, I was a blogger at several prominent music outlets including There Goes the Fear, an internationally-read and -acclaimed music Web site I own and where I was Editor-in-Chief. As a passionate music writer, I covered major music events on three continents, interviewed scores of British, American, Irish, Australian, and other European artists and bands, and reviewed their music releases. Need quality music writing done? Hire me on a freelance basis, contact me here.
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 long 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 am also an accredited Editor with the Board of Editors of the Life Sciences, a measure of my editorial proficiency in clinical and basic science writing.
Music writing and promotion
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 needs must sometimes, and it was imperative at the time that I get a "normal" job.
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.
I am the owner and Editor-in-Chief of UK/US/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. The site became dormant as of 5 April 2019 and will not be updated except in special circumstances, such as to preview a special show at the Kennedy Space Center starring Duran Duran, part of the NASA's 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 16 July 2019.
While There Goes the Fear (TGTF) brought our readers coverage of established bands already considered mainstream, the mission of TGTF was 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
- Roskilde Festival in 2010, where I was one of seven specially-selected bloggers for their 40th anniversary (see coverage listed under 2010 on my gigs list page)
- SXSW: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | see my photos on Flickr
- Liverpool Sound City: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | see my photos on Flickr
- the Great Escape (Brighton): 2012 | 2013 | 2015 | 2018 | see my photos on Flickr
- the inaugural ARIA Week in Sydney, Australia in November 2012 (TGTF coverage here)
- Live at Leeds 2015 (photos here)
- Norwich Sound and Vision 2015, a regional, East of England music showcase (photos here)
- Canadian Music Week 2016 (photos here)
- Hard Working Class Heroes 2016, the premier emerging music conference in Ireland (photos here)
- BIGSOUND 2017, the premier emerging music conference in Australia, held in Brisbane, Queensland (photos here)
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. I was also a contributor to CALMzine, the magazine of UK anti-suicide organisation Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
I'm in scientific journal management for a major scientific society in 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. I delve 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 scientific publishing.
Current and the future
My dream job? I haven't quite figured this out yet. When I was younger, I wanted to be an official band biographer like my writing hero Stuart Maconie. I'm definitely interested in bigger music research projects that will utilize my research skills and habits and event experience from my TGTF days.
My first big project after putting TGTF on ice was writing a multipart feature based on a candid interview with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) cofounder Andy McCluskey, for his band's official Web site. In October 2019, the Wirral's finest released the special 40th anniversary 'Souvenir' box set, containing unreleased and previously unheard audio material, rare live tv performances, concerts in full on both audio and video, and all of their 40 singles released over their storied career. Read more in these links: part 1 | part 2 | part 3
I've written so much, I'd like to be officially published in hard copy print one day. I'm using my free time post-TGTF to put things together for my memoir of how my life has gone so far, specifically how chronic illness and music blogging have affected my path. It's been a trip looking through boxes of old things and old emails and talking to people who I have known for decades. Long before I became the Editor-in-Chief of an internationally-read music Web site, I was a massive Beatles fan by age 8 and spent years as an obsessive, completist music fan of many artists. I've seen both sides of the industry and can provide a unique perspective on what fans want and are looking for.
I'm convinced the stork dropped me off in the wrong country. Although I am American by birth and Chinese by ancestry, I adore England, Scotland, Australia, and Ireland. I have strange, strong connections to Scotland and the North of England, especially with Glasgow, Liverpool, and Yorkshire.
My music writing
Albums / EPs / singles I've reviewed
Artists / bands I've interviewed
Shows I've covered
I contribute / have contributed to:
- Music in Notes (from 2012-) - personal lyric interpretation site, providing thoughtful analysis to words in popular song
- There Goes the Fear (from 2009-2019) - 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)
- 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, except where noted)
- a discussion on Duran Duran's 'Notorious' album era (1986) and a song analysis of the album's closing track 'Proposition', both on Music in Notes, 14 July 2019
- a long-form review of William Doyle's single 'Millersdale', 9 July 2018
- 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
Interviews (for There Goes the Fear, except where noted)
- Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) discussing his band's special 40th anniversary 'Souvenir' box set part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (special feature for OMD's official Web site)
- ONR. at The Great Escape 2018 in Brighton, England (I have a split-second cheeky appearance in the below video from the BBC at 10 seconds in)
- Rachel K. Collier at SXSW 2018 in Austin, TX part 1 | part 2
- C Duncan in November 2017 in Washington, DC part 1 | part 2
- Willaris K. at BIGSOUND 2017 in Brisbane, Australia
- Mattie Vant of VANT in November 2016
- Tom Chaplin (formerly of Keane) in October 2016 over Skype part 1 | part 2
- Oli Steadman of Stornoway in September 2015 over Skype
- Marika Hackman in July 2015 in Washington, DC
- Pete Lawrie-Winfield of Until the Ribbon Breaks in June 2015 in Washington, DC
- Cloud Boat in October 2014 in Liverpool, England part 1 | part 2
- BBC radio presenter Chris Hawkins in May 2013 in Liverpool, England part 1 | part 2
- vocal rehabilitation specialist Dane Chalfin in Salford, England in December 2011
- 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)
Live reviews (for There Goes the Fear, except where noted)
- Mansionair at U Street Music Hall, 20 March 2019
- Teleman at Bristol Thekla, 27 September 2018
- Us Vs. Them curated by Field Music at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, England, 2 December 2017
- Saint Etienne at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC, 27 September 2017
- Everything Everything at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC, 8 August 2016
- Field Music at DC9, Washington, DC, 24 March 2016
- East India Youth at Coventry Tin, 3 October 2015
- Ride at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, 17 September 2015
- The Staves at Dublin Olympia, 6 May 2015
- Glass Animals at Glasgow CCA, 17 October 2014
- School of Language at Manchester Deaf Institute, 28 April 2014
- Little Comets at the Hamilton, Washington, DC, 13 August 2013
- The Crookes at London Scala, 21 May 2013
- OMD at Gateshead Sage, 13 May 2013 (Martin Sharman's photos here)
- 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
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
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!
- Duran Duran
- Brett Anderson (Suede)
- Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy)
- 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.)
Scientific journal management / editing / writing specialties and experience
- management of peer-reviewed article process for scholarly journals, including customization of HighWire Bench Press, eJournalPress, and Clarivate Analytics' ScholarOne 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
Where else to find me online
- Email (remove NOSPAM before sending)
- @theprintedword on Twitter
- On Flickr (live gig photo albums)
- On Soundcloud
- TGTF on Soundcloud
- @tgtf (TGTF on Twitter)
with Tom Chaplin of Keane
Washington, DC, January 2017
with Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music
at SXSW, Austin, TX, March 2015
at King Tut's, Glasgow, May 2013
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