by Stacey Zering
Pianist/composer Mary Hiett is at the movies. Musically speaking, that is. She already has quite a body of work, stylistically veering from easy listening to spiritual to New Age. But Hiett’s incredibly passionate about soundtracks, and her elegant, scenic piano playing communicates that quite well. Hiett has just released a new album of cinematic instrumentals, Bar None.
Q: What made you get into music, your roots?
A: I came from a musical home. Music was always being played and very much encouraged. At the age of 6, I started piano lessons, but because we moved a lot, I had many different teachers until I was in about eighth grade. Where we settled in Idaho Falls when I resumed my lessons. I loved it very much, until age 16. My mother announced to me that she had changed piano teachers and signed me up with the best one in that city. I tried really hard to like her, but she broke my spirit and my enthusiasm for playing the piano. So I quit( she was a mean teacher that did not inspire me at all and I thought my love for the piano had ended.) My family had quite a collection of records. Everything from Frank Sinatra, to Placido Domingo’s, musicals, to many new pop groups, which my parents weren’t too crazy about.
Every now and then a record would disappear, if it didn’t meet my father’s approval! ( the Doors, the Monkees). I listened to groups like the Beatles, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Grass Roots, the Carpenters, Bread, and more Heartthrob artists like Elvis Presley, Bobby Sherman, Bobbie Rydell, Gary Puckett, Barry Manilow and the list goes on. My mother and father sang locally. Mom was in a couple of choral groups and my Father was classically trained in operatic music. I have a sister that sang for Salt Lake City Opera for a short time and sang for local events also.
Q: What styles of music had the greatest impact on you creatively?
A: Well, I would have to say cinematic music. I could totally be sucked into a movie just by the music. One of the first cinematic overtures I fell in love with was the theme from Tara’s Bulba. Back in the day, we couldn’t just slip a DVD into a machine and watch it whenever we wanted. We had to wait for it to come to the theatre or TV and then we all gathered to be entertained. This cinematic theme lit a passion in me that I will never forgot along with, cinematic music from The Magnificent Seven, Mission Impossible, Peter Gunn or those sweet themes like Romeo & Juliet, Love is Blue, Unchained Melody and many more. Most of these inspired me to write my own cinematic steam my senior year, which open the eyes of my family a little in realizing I guess I had some ability to compose.
Q: How would you describe your music?
A: My passion is cinematic! You know, that kind of music that you can hear, but allows you to see your own movie playing in your head. Some of my other genres loves are, Emotionally Healing, good instrumental piano, Christian, Christmas and inspirational music. I even wrote a boogie – that surprised me.
Q: What are your goals, artistically speaking?
A: Well, since most of my music started at the age of 60 and I will be 65 this year. I just want to continue writing more and see what else will manifest. Getting music out there is difficult and I just hope that when it does, it touches their lives, leaves an impression on their heart, feeds their souls and helps heal what’s hurting!
Q: When did you decide to be a musician, and what fueled this passion?
A: About seven years ago, I experienced a severe depression, after the death of my oldest daughter who died of cancer, leaving three small children and her husband. I was worn out from the battle and got situational depression. True story, I needed some help, I put on an essential oil blend that literally became a conduit between me and heaven and it was exactly the tool that I needed to release the pains in every room of my heart.
That winter I composed 13 songs, an emotional catharsis and healing story that helped me emotionally heal myself, and I hope others! It is my CD, Elevation Climb. I have since written about 40 songs in four years. I never knew I would be writing a second CD, Notes from the Heart, songs about people who had crossed my path in life and I felt inspired to write songs for them.
Q: What artists influenced you the most growing up?
A: Well, I mentioned a few up above. Other artists like Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Celine Dion, Boston Pops, Sandy Patty, Jenny Jordan Froggley, Kenneth Copeland and more. My love for instrumental piano brought me from, Mason Williams, John Williams, Henry Mancini to my personal and current favorites, Joseph William and Jennifer Thomas.
Q: How have you evolved creatively?
A: Being a piano teacher for about 36 years in the valley, in Northern California. I have been teaching and helping children to learn how to make music a great experience the rest of their lives. Performing in civic venues for about 9 years, to now writing and recording my own music – it has been the best fun. Now I have people reaching out to me about, singing one of my songs, or arranging, or writing a song for a special occasion. It is evolving and I love it! I am learning that every life has a soundtrack, and I guess this is mine.