NK: Nicole Kali, Black Rockers United is here with Mariah Fortune, Woven In! Hello, how are you? Much love.

Mariah: Hi, everyone! So happy to be here.

NK: Hello, hello! Much love, how are you?

Mariah: I'm doing good! Just like a slow Sunday. Just feeling good, the weather's fine, I'm fine. There's not much to report for today.

I had a show last night so a little drained but I feel good!

NK: Nice, where was the show at?

Mariah: It was this place called Onle Vibes! It was in College Park, Maryland. I've never been there before but I had seen some of the videos that they had online and were posting on Instagram.

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I was like "That looks like a sweet spot!" And like, Black-ran...they take a video while you're performing, the atmosphere is awesome.

NK: Yeah.

Mariah: It's like completely orange walls [laughs], I've never seen—I mean, it's really cool! I've never seen orange walls but they makin' it work.

NK: Cool!

Mariah: It looks great.

NK: I love this! I love hearing that there's Black-run spaces that you performed at in this area. That's really dope, Mariah. Awesome!

Mariah: Yeah, I was—I was pretty blown by that too. Definitely.

NK: [Laughs]

Mariah: It's few and far between!

NK: It is, but then you start to see more of it and it's like "Damn, we're kinda out here!", aren't we?

Mariah: Yes! It takes a moment. You gotta refocus your gaze and you're like "No, we out here! We out here." [Laughs]

NK: That's why I'm really glad that this can happen, Mariah. You know, we've been appreciating each other in the scene a couple of years but we've never actually gotten the chance to just hang out and like, vibe until now.

Mariah: Yeah, we can do this in real life too! I mean...

NK: Exactly! [Laughs]

Mariah: I'm down.

NK: We've just been hustlin' but y'know, now we gotta make time! Time for everyone to know who is Woven In?

For those who are tuning in and vibing with us, you can start anywhere from the early days to your new album.

Mariah: I spent a long time with this project [laughs]. I've been doing it [Woven In] since 2013, I used to live in Florida so I'm from Philly.

I was born there and raised to an extent but umm, I moved down to Florida and then that's when I started Woven In! But I was already writing music before then.

But actually like singing on songs? I wasn't doing that, so I was writing a lot of instrumental music before I started Woven In.

Yeah, I honestly just feel like this is—I'm just gonna be doing music for the rest of my life, probably under this name but I'll see. Time will tell but I'll be doing music nonetheless!

NK: That is such a vibe! You've been performing as Woven In since 2013, but you've been recording and making music for like, way before that is what you're saying.

Mariah: Music has always been in my life: when I was in like, elementary school, when I was in middle school, I was doing somethin' with somethin'. Whether it be violin or in the choir, any of those things.

NK: Wow.

Mariah: Taking keyboard classes. Just yeah, as long as I can remember really, just always doing something musical. I love it [laughs].

NK: [Rock horns] I can tell 'cause I see you on the keyboard and when you're like, performing guitar, it's because you started when you were younger—kind of took those influences and wove them altogether.

And that's why your band is called Woven In. Dooope!

Mariah: [Laughs] I mean there's a lot! There's a lot to be woven in, to be woven into everything, you know. It's all interconnected but...

NK: It's beautiful. You used to play the violin, huh?

Mariah: Yeah, I love stringed instruments like, so much! They're just so beautiful to me. They sound like the human voice to me. I dunno, it just sounds like a story.



Mariah: I love stringed instruments so much. When I first started, I was definitely playing—I was playing guitar but over time, I played bass on one of my albums, like the whole thing is bass.

That one's called Bass-ablanca, a few years ago...I don't know! I kinda have like, stages, I guess. Eras! Eras of music writing.

NK: Eras.

Mariah: So yeah, I'm on keyboards right now but honestly, been thinking about going back to guitar! And that hasn't been since 2016 that I actually, really focused on guitar-writing music. So I'm excited.

NK: Wow, so guitar composition is something that you're familiar with but you've kind of just been migrating to different parts of music, and performing.

Mariah: Yeah, definitely! I think it's important to be versatile and for people to not get hooked onto one sound or one thing because there's so much out here.

I don't ever, like meet people and that was, like a different you. If they meet you now, you would have different interests and different ways of thinking about things?

NK: All the time. 100%.

Mariah: So I don't know. I don't want people to get fixated on one sound from Woven In, because I'm just like "I like this now! I like this now!" [Laughs]

NK: Exactly. Exactly, yeah, I don't want anyone to typecast you or any artist, you know, and that happens to Black artists A LOT so that's why y'know—

Mariah: Right! This is true. This is true.

NK: We're here to break out those boxes. We're here to just completely get rid of those misconceptions: that you have to be stuck in the one genre because when I listen to your new album Profess, it has no genre.

It has the influences that you listen to but I couldn't put a label on it, you know, if I tried to. I call you darkwave but you perform so many styles than just dark rock, and dark surf. Right?

Mariah: Yeah, absolutely and I appreciate you saying that. That's definitely a compliment, that you feel that it's genre-less 'cause I definitely feel that way!

I mean, if you like dark stuff, it'll probably fancy you but yeah, there's just so much to respect when making this album in particular. It's just like so many things that I pulled from: like house music.

NK: Yeah!

Mariah: And trap music, some things that I've never pulled from before so thank you for saying that it's genre-less 'cause...

NK: For sure, Mariah. I'm hearing Meshell Ndegeocello, "Sad for the Season" and Vampire Weekend but if I were to actually put a label on it, I'd be like "You know, Woven In is a lot of different genres".

Mariah: [Laughs] Yeah.

NK: That must feel liberating, you know, that's the beauty of music. It's very layered. You gotta appreciate the process of it.

Mariah: It takes me where I need to go so [laughs]

NK: [Laughs] What do you find in the process of creativity?

Mariah: Pure joy! You know, pure joy. It's my happy place! So much, like when I have to advertise it and tell people that "Hey, this is out!"

I mean, that's still fun to me but like when you're in the moment and recording it, that is ultimate bliss! It's heaven on Earth.

It's like it never feels like a job when I'm writing music or anything. I mean, when I get to promoting and stuff, kinda. It's a pain in the ass but it's all part of it [laughs], if I want other people to hear it! It's part of it.

NK: Cheers to that, homie, no, for real because I was talkin' to Creature from Rebelmatic, he's like "If you do this, it's gonna be a grind sometimes. You better love it." And you do.

Mariah: For sure.

NK: So I'm glad. And it shows, what do you love about your new album Profess?

Mariah: I love that it's completely me. Everything that you hear is completely me. I mean, I sampled some things but all the instruments, I played and that hasn't been the case in every album before Profess.

I've always had like, someone play something on it! "Hey, can you play X, Y, Z instrument?" I also play drums. I was like "I'm just gonna do everything".

NK: Yeah! You just took over the process entirely.

Mariah: Yeah, and it was amazing. I'm completely satisfied with it, with the album.

NK: They, the pioneers before us, you know? You are very much like the Black women on the vanguard because it was Sister Rosetta, it was Memphis Minnie and it's you now, on guitar. And that's gotta feel cool, you know?

Mariah: Shreddin'! Yeah! You know, I mean there's just so many amazing Black women just to give props to—that may not be even be in the rock realm, but they are rock 'n roll!

So I also just wanna give them a shout-out as well [laughs]. Yeah, it's...yeah. We're just amazing!

NK: I thought you might say that. Yeah!

Mariah: I read a quick story about this Black women [Bessie Stringfield], there was this Black woman on a motorcycle. Like, she rode this motorcycle miles and miles across the U.S.! Did you see that?!

[Resident fan of Bessie Stringfield and Black women bikers, rockers and alternative heroes, yes!]

NK: Yes. YES!

Mariah: Did you read that? That was umm...

NK: Yeah.

Mariah: That was bad-ass!

NK: Ah, she was so cool. I was [still am] obsessed.

Mariah: And then, and it was the 1960's like, solo on your motorcycle!

NK: In the '60's, yeah. Yeah...

Mariah: Yeah.

NK: Shredding and paving the way just being herself, and I thank you so much for saying that because like you said, there's almost too many femmes that rock, that are Black to name.

But dammit, she rocks, and you rock! And the people that did it before us, you know, the ones that REALLY put in that grind because it had to have been hard at the very beginning.

But now we're out here and we have our spaces and we see us. You know it's us, [Black-] centric spaces like Onle's a movement!

Mariah: Yeah, and having it tangible or having it so you can, so people can record things like we're doing now! And years later, I'm know, people can look back and stuff and just be like, inspired, appreciative.

So, so glad that we're in the age that we can record stuff [laughs].

NK: [Laughs] Me too! Yeah. It's wild when you think about it, the eternity of recording anything. And it's like it's something that you made and you put out there! It's really intimate and special, y'know?

Mariah: Mm-hmm!

NK: The joy of ah, being an artist.

Mariah: But let's not just forget any old thing can count.

NK: Yeah, true! Real talk!

Mariah: Everything stays around so literally doesn't have to be art.

NK: REAL talk.

Mariah: "Dammit! That's around forever, and ever and ever."

NK: That's a lot of us on the Internet, you know, especially us in our scene phase. It's like "Ah shit, this is gonna be up forever".

Mariah: Wow, that's funny!

NK: For like, me personally.

Mariah: Yeah! Make it personal real quick: my mom sent me this photo of me when I was in college, I believe, and my hair was just see-through [laughs].

NK: Whhhoa!

Mariah: [Laughs] I can't even, like it was I bleached it and it was also like, the same complexion as my skin? And I could just see through the hair! I was like "What the fuuuck?" It wasn't worth it.

NK: [Laughs]

Mariah: Do NOT be scene with your hair, the scene style with your hair.

NK: Yeah, if you're gonna flat-iron it and stuff, just make sure that you very lightly apply heat. It's mainly just combin' it, you know?

These hot combs that our moms had us using...! [geeking out]

Mariah: Oh, shit. That's funny. [Laughs]

NK: Yes! Speaking of Baltimore, very much Black and very much do-it-yourself and rock. And you've been part of that. The evolution is really cool to see! How do you feel about it?

Mariah: I've only been here for three years, but in that short span I already feel...feel great about being in Baltimore. It's very inspiring to be here.

It's just like walking around, you can just get, yeah, inspired by the people here! I mean, yeah, I love it. It reminds me of much—you know, I'm always gonna be from Philly. So Baltimore reminds me of Philly when I was a kid. It's less fast-paced than Philly.

It's such full nostalgia for me, and then you also tack on all the awesome PEOPLE HERE! People that dress really awesome! Black people are killin' it here, ownin' businesses and restaurants boomin'.

NK: Yeah! Everywhere you go.

Mariah: Creative projects.

NK: Yeah.

Mariah: There's always vendors, drivin' and I'll be like "Damn, that's an all-Black vendor site over there." Sometimes I stop. Sometimes I don't but the amount of times that it happens is amazing!

NK: That's so beautiful.

Mariah: Damn, there's another one!

NK: The excitement is there because it's everywhere you turn. It's like "whoa, we're all here!"

The rest is here:

Woven In plays dark surf anti-love songs: