[Photo courtesy of Laura Koeppel. Used by permission.]
When you listen to Mary Zimmer, it’s easy to get lost in the voice that runs from ethereal croons to relentless gutturals. But Zimmer is more than her voice. Working with bands like Luna Mortis, White Empress, and presently Santa Marta, she knows the ins and outs and ups and downs of the record industry, and she’s walked a long hard road to get where she is today.
Zimmer was born in Illinois’ Great Naval Hospital. The daughter of a military family, Zimmer moved about quite a bit, but finally settled in Wisconsin when her father retired when she was a teenager. Despite her incredible voice and range, she wasn’t a natural-born singer. She performed in local theater and musical productions. She was often asked to sing in those productions, but says of it, “I hated having to sing. My voice was rather large and unwieldy, and I was using it a lot but I didn’t get good at it until later. I think kids get put off singing because they don’t realize it’s something they can actually learn and get better at.”