The collaborators behind "My Style," are back at it, dropping a new single and music video for "Echo" that pulls from Y2k influence all while reflecting on a breakup. On it, pop performance artist Mary reunites with So Drove, this time as one-third of a larger production crew, called The Oracle, alongside Ash Nerve and ESPer99 — the trio behind Macy Rodman's single, "Permanent Vacation," off Unbelievable Animals.
Describing her lyrics as "#EmpowermentCore," Mary explores a vulnerable, honest sweet spot in the wake of heartbreak. "Doing it all by myself," she begins on the track, finding her footing as a single, independent woman. "I don't need anybody's help." Eventually, though, Mary comes fully into her power, declaring on the chorus, "Everybody wants something from me/ You can't get nothing for free."
"'Echo' was written during a very painful time in my life and it was through my collaboration with The Oracle, and through singing in general, that I was able to come out stronger on the other side," Mary tells PAPER. "I took on a heightened bravado that, in reality, was elusive to me as I was early in the process of putting myself back together following a very brutal breakup. I had to embody another energy in order to speak so frankly."
With its Rodney Jerkins-inspired production and vocal delivery that appropriates aughties pop stars, the "Echo" video sees Director V.E. Holdings amplifying Mary's confidence. "There is a beautiful sense of tension in Holdings' images that reflect the essence of the song and its emotional energy," Mary says. "The world they created for 'Echo' is mysterious and adds a beguiling new dimension to the Mary Universe."
But what exactly is that "Universe," especially considering Mary's such a ubiquitous mononym? "There is always an element of darkness in Mary, even in her most glossy, saccharine pop moments," she says, speaking to the way "Echo" dives deep into a "serious wound" despite its cheeky, fun sound. Previous singles have done the same, from "Devil's Night" to "Oh My God," contrasting satanic themes with vibrant melodies. "As an artist, I like to flirt with extremes."
Watch the PAPER premiere of Mary's "Echo" video, above, and stream her latest single, below.