Lily Mao Releasing Debut Album With Party
Lily Maopolski was hooked after the first time she picked up a guitar at age 10. Now, the 24-year-old West Scranton native, who performs under the stage name Lily Mao (pronounced like “mayo”), is set to release her debut album, “Run to Madness.”
Now living in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York, where she busks the city streets by day and dedicates her nights to practicing with her band, Maopolski will return home to play at an album release party Sunday, Dec. 9, at Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender in downtown Scranton. Slated for 1 to 3 p.m., it will include appetizers and a cash bar.
Admission is free, and a portion of proceeds from all album sales at the event benefit the Lauren Reidinger Cancer Fund. Additional donations will be accepted at the door, and basket raffles will be held to further support the fund.
Recently, Maopolski went On the Record to describe her 11-track album in further detail and talk about what helped it take shape.
Q: Tell me about your biggest influences as a songwriter.
A: From a lyrical perspective, I have been extremely influenced by female musicians such as Lady Lamb, St. Vincent, Alanis Morissette, Gaby Borges and Regina Spektor. Performance-wise, I look up to performers like Tash Sultana, Patti Smith and Kurt Cobain.
Q: What themes do you explore on “Run to Madness”?
A: “Run to Madness” has a lot of different themes. It’s organized chaos, which is partly why I chose the title. I have a lot of songs about relationships, but not all of the songs on it are about love. David Bowie once said, “I suppose for me as an artist, it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” I had that quote in mind while writing for the album on songs such as “Nest” and “You & I.”
Q: How has the move to New York City changed you as a person and as a musician?
A: New York has definitely been an affirming place for my music. I’ve been able to meet and perform with great artists, and I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of creative people. I’m definitely growing as a person and as an artist out here, and I feel really proud of myself for making the move.
Q: What do you hope listeners learn or feel upon hearing “Run to Madness”?
A: I hope listeners feel empowered and happy and angsty and just rock the hell out. There’s some catchy, fun tunes on there for sure. Shout out to my recording band, (siblings) Madi, Ian and Jason Spillman. I was so lucky to record with such talented musicians. They really brought everything together on this album. An amazing Scrantonian, Mathew Kuplack, introduced me to them and made “Run to Madness” a reality.
Q: Tell me about your music video rollouts.
A: I really love music videos and have been working really hard to produce as many as I can. I recently dropped a video for track No. 3, “Sour Grapes,” directed by Halsey Pierce, and I just recorded a video for “Run,” directed by Danny Holme and fellow Scrantonian Simone Daniel. I also had Bernadette Cuvalo, an L.A.-based videographer, produce three videos. You can find them all on my website, lilymaomusic.com.
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Meet Lily Mao
Members: Lily Mao, vocals and guitar; Nate Jasensky, second guitar; and Zach Rescignano, drums
Genre: Indie rock Established: 2015
Online: Follow her on Facebook (@lilymaomusic), and Twitter (@LilyMao4) or visit lilymaomusic.com.
Up next: “Run to Madness” album release party, Sunday, Dec. 9, 1 to 3 p.m., Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton, featuring guest drummer Matt Montella