Revolution from dissolution
Hypnotizing and demoralizing
Pressure of the future
Too much for today
(thanks, Jim Mills)
Every time I hear the soft, sultry tunes of "Fantasy," clearly recognizable as the Brooklyn/London duo MS MR (pronounced Miz Mister
- made up of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenaw), I’m instantly propelled into the most beautiful memory I’ve ever had. It was the first time I ever visited the beautiful mountains of the Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest. My heart literally sinks in my chest when the soft melodies of any of the songs from MS MR’s album, Secondhand Rapture
, released May 10, 2014 by Columbia records, pops up on my playlist or soars through the radio waves. Their album had just been released a month before my trip last summer, and I listened to it almost nonstop for the eleven days I hiked all over those beautiful woods and climbed Mt. Rainier. However, this article isn’t centered on or about the Pacific Northwest, but the Atlantic Northeast; more notably, the state of New York.
It was at Vassar College (founded by a brewer by the name of Matthew Vassar) in Poughkeepsie, New York, where MS MR's dynamic duo first met. While they were students at this popular liberal arts college, where in 1979 some of their alumni were the first from a private college to be granted permission to study in the People’s Republic of China, they became acquaintances. They weren’t friends, but they were friendly toward one another. The pair graduated from Vassar in 2010 and went their separate ways. But it wasn’t long before Max, originally from Idaho, contacted Lizzy, who ran a record label called Neon Gold Records, and asked her for a job as a producer. Instead, after a very long email exchange, they formed a partnership and started writing songs together.
When writing and releasing their first song, “Hurricane,” MS MR kept their identities secret “to give the music a fighting chance and for it to be fairly judged on its own merit, we wanted to keep ourselves anonymous so that people could come to the music originally,” and not build it on Lizzy’s somewhat budding reputation in the music industry from owning her own label in New York. Having seen how the musicians perform in the NYC subway systems ~ and the competitiveness so stiff many of them feature Carnegie Hall players ~ MS MR wanted a more simply accessible method for their fans to get to know their music. Because that’s what mattered most: the music.
(thank, Jim Mills)
They took a slightly different approach by releasing their songs one at a time and featuring them heavily on the social media site Tumblr. They noted in an interview with Idol Magazine
that they had chosen this method because it was something new, and the audience was also a fairly young audience. The chemistry seemed to click, much like Plapinger and Hershenaw clicked, and their popularity began to build. They also need not to have worried about being anonymous, because their music spoke volumes for itself.
Though New York is known as the Big Apple, a term coined by musicians meaning to play the "big time," it didn’t take MS MR very long at all for their songs to hit the top of the charts (peaking as #2 on Billboard
’s Top Heat Seekers list) and win the hearts of their fans.
The song, "Fantasy," has a verse which says, “How could it be what I wanted to see, that my reality could never live up to the fantasy?” I don’t think MS MR is going to have any problem fulfilling their wildest dreams as long as they keep putting out songs like this one.
~ T.L. Gray
T.L. Gray is a best-selling published author, literary agent, editor, blogger, and contributing writer to various print and online magazines. When this active outdoor enthusiast isn’t hiking down some wild, adventurous, backwoods trail, or cooking gourmet food, she is listening to an eclectic assortment of music or playing her acoustic guitar. For more information visit her Facebook Page at AuthorTLGray.