Mary Kutter talks Tacos and Music

Mary Kutter is a true southern belle and taco connoisseur, who will most likely call you sugar, honey, darling, or dear. When I first began going to writer’s nights regularly, her Thursday night show, “OMG! I’m a songwriter” at Tin Roof Demonbreun was part of my routine. Sadly, her weekly show has ended, but they have transitioned into a foundation where they will partner with charities and put on benefit shows. Mary Kutter was one of the biggest supporters of Undiscovered Nashville from the beginning, and one of the hardest working people in Nashville. Mary’s path to Nashville was somewhat unconventional, but many are undoubtedly happy she chose to leave the bourbon trail of Kentucky for the Music City.

How did she get to Nashville?

Mary Kutter is a singer/songwriter, who grew up on a farm near Bardstown, Kentucky. On her family’s farm, they raised cattle and even had llamas to protect the cattle. Mary said, “The llamas were named peanut and butter. She always wanted them to have a baby named Jelly.” When Mary goes back to Kentucky, she knows she is getting close to home, when she can smell the distilleries. Mary’s mother works in education, and her father is a small business owner. Her parents were insistent on Mary having a normal childhood, so she didn’t participate in beauty pageants, or competitions like some many young girls did. Mary was active in 4H and church, and singing was a big part of her church life. Special music and the worship team gave Mary a platform to sing.

She didn’t get started in songwriting and music like many others, but from her singing in church Mary began to get invited to sing at fairs and festivals. Through singing at festivals, Mary met an owner of some TV and Radio stations in Bardstown, who would offer her to take a job hosting a TV/Radio music variety show. It was through hosting this show that Mary began meeting Nashville songwriters. Off-air, they would ask if she was a songwriter, and offer to write with her. Mary had only “dabbled” in writing songs, but she began driving to Nashville a few times a week to co-write with others. Eventually, Mary would make a move to Nashville with her husband, Matthew.

OMG! I’m a Songwriter

Upon moving to Nashville, Mary would continue to write with others. Meanwhile, Mary and Matthew would wander in and out of bars wondering who was playing, so Matthew had the idea for a central hub for all the line-ups for the various writer’s nights held each night, Mary and Matthew started “OMG! I’m a Songwriter” as the one place you could go to find out who was playing where. This service has become a valuable resource for many, including Undiscovered Nashville.

Mary began her experience with hosting writer’s nights by co-hosting “Jammin in Jammies with Megan Barker, which you can experience every Tuesday night at Nashville Palace. However, when the opportunity for the night at Tin Roof became available, the line-up hub became a live show every Thursday night. Over 500 different songwriters were able to play the show. Through these experiences, Mary has made several significant relationships that have continued to open doors for her. As the weekly show transitioned to a foundation, OMG’s first benefit show was Tuesday, April 30th at Live Oak. The show benefited Notes for Notes, which according to their website, “is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for FREE.” In addition to the charitable work, OMG I’m a songwriter has started a weekly podcast and is working to become a resource for songwriters, especially those new to town.

Productivity as a Songwriter

Mary Kutter is very ambitious concerning the number of songs she is writing each week. Mary was writing to 2-3 songs per day for a while, but now she is writing 5-7 songs per week. When Mary is able to go back into the studio, she will be able to record the songs she believes in the most. The singer/songwriter’s most recent singles “Never Wanna Leave” and “One Thing” were recorded after she had an incident with an avocado. Accidentally, she stabbed her hand instead of the avocado pit. The damage to her hand required surgery. During her recovery, Mary learned how to make tracks, and she played them with one hand on a Midi keyboard in her kitchen.

A Melting Pot of Music

Her music is a melting pot of country, pop, and r&b roots. However, country music is the direction that Mary’s music seems to be moving, but with some pop melodies. “Country is a big tent,” Mary said. “There is room for so many independent artists with a variety of styles.” The digital music age allows more independent artists to release music, but being independent means, you have to “create your doors and opportunities.”

Mary’s Songwriting Focus and Process

The songwriting process is different for everyone, but for Mary, she loves “to get into her car with a cup of coffee or tea and drive around listening to music.” She has a hook book that she will write down interesting words or rhymes to spark ideas. When she is co-writing, she feels her biggest thing she brings to the table other than a hook or a melody is “making everyone feel comfortable.” Commercially viable songs are her main focus, but she appreciates those songs that can change lives through their lyrics.

Writing from a Vulnerable Place

Sappy songs are not usually her thing, but her friend Hunter convinced her to write a song that was personal to Mary. The idea came from a card that Mary had received from a long time friend. Mary had been going through a tough time in her personal life after her father received a cancer diagnosis. The card read, “I may not be able to stop the rain, but I will hold the umbrella.” Mary said, “I believe you grow through what you have to go through,” which became the last line of the chorus. This song sounds like it would be fantastic, and selfishly this writer hopes that we are allowed to hear it soon.

Taco Talk

The most light-hearted moment of our conversation was when we started talking about Tacos. Mary Kutter is an energetic performer on stage, and I joked that it was likely due to all the tacos she eats, and she agreed. The singer/songwriter does not discriminate when it comes to tacos, but to her “the tortilla can make or break it.” When people substitute lettuce for tortillas, she said, “that’s fine if that is what you like, but it doesn’t seem like a taco.” She described her love for tacos, “Tacos are almost like a sandwich, but thinner with all the fillings.” She loves guacamole too. Mary’s taco tip, “I love to spread the guacamole on the tortilla before adding the meat.” Taco Bell, St. Anejo, Bartaco makes no difference to her as long she has a taco, she is a happy girl.

If you see Mary, don’t be afraid

So if you see Mary Kutter in Nashville, she will likely be playing a writer’s night, watching a writer’s night, going to or from a co-write, or somewhere eating tacos. One thing is for sure; Mary will have a smile on her face and always have a kind word for you. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and tell someone your story, because if I hadn’t done so, I would never have had the pleasure of meeting Mary Kutter and hearing her story. When people help you along the way, acknowledge them and thank them. As I mentioned earlier, Mary Kutter was one of my biggest supporters from the beginning, so thank you, Mary, for all your help in the first few months. Undiscovered Nashville looks forward to watching your career continue to grow, and we are patiently waiting for new music from you.

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