Member Highlight: MaryJane (MJ) Ergino

Here is one of our many members who have brought life to our community. We are grateful to see the process and progress our members share with us, and we are honored to give them the spotlight! Their story is our story. Read on to be inspired by our latest Member Highlight interview…

Meet MJ

MaryJane (MJ) is from San Jose, CA, USA

What do you do during the day?
I work for Social Services Agency full time.

Is there anything surprising about your musical tastes?
I Love movie scores and soundtracks, and some from animated movies. I particularly Love the Lion King Soundtrack, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, the sequel to the motion picture soundtrack. I had to and learned the songs in that album and so, every so often, I’d sing along with pride and with all my passion in Zulu and Swahili and break out into my African dance, while I sing along blasting it in my car or my room, especially my room. It’s like being in a trance from a past life or something, like where I belonged. It’s such a remarkable feeling and I am rejuvenated and elevated so much, it’s freeing, like a real high! I know weird. No, I never did drugs. Disclaimer.

Another one is when a song strikes me hard and I’d fall in love with it, then I just have to learn it, right then and there, spend all night if I have to, even on a weeknight, until I can sing the whole song perfectly or have the whole lyrics written down, lacking sleep the next day, when I have a very early and long day at work ahead of me. Crazy.

Another one is when an inspiration or idea or phrase or song come to me for a new original that hits me late at night or in the middle of the night, and I’d end up staying up all night until I finish creating the whole song, lyrics and music, writing and recording the lyrics, melody, what instrumentations and composition, how it will all go, recording all in my phone on notes and voice memo, lacking sleep the next day. I think all musical artists, are probably like that though right? Or worse.

What does your songwriting habit look like?
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a songwriting habit. Working full time and time spent with my family leaves me little time to have a personal schedule for myself. I usually write my songs when I’m inspired or when I get an idea. I have my phone with me at all times, so I can always record whenever an inspiration or idea comes to mind. Hence, why it can take a while for me to finish a song because of time. I try to make certain goals, like writing or dedicating specific time for anything songwriting related everyday, even for 10 minutes a day, but it can be a challenge especially when I get tired from a long day’s work or running late in the morning. I just really need to prioritize and make time for my precious passion and gift. I’m working on it.

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?
I believe GOD inspires me, through the people HE puts in my life everyday in circumstances I face. I try to understand and believe what HE sacrificed for our lives, just because HE loves us unconditionally, and the hardships in life I go through, gives me strength to overcome the hardships and to move on. One chance in life that we are given, every day is so precious. The people HE puts in my life everyday are there, always for a very good purpose, to either lift me up, challenge and strengthen my weaknesses, help me see others in need than my needs, help me contribute to others lives in a positive way, to understand myself and others around me, to challenge me to let things go and forgive, to move on, help me see my worth, and help me express myself in the songs I create, which I hope to contribute to peoples lives in this world in a positive way with my singing and music, even if like a little light that just makes our world a little brighter and easier place to live. I think that’s how we all should live our lives in this world. Just make our world a cohesive happier peaceful world would be nice.

What challenge are you facing with songwriting?
Time for developing my craft. For not being to able spend more time writing and finishing my songs, and to learn to play the piano and practice as much as I want to, and learning everything about GarageBand, learning about recording and copyrighting and putting my music out there. It can get overwhelming for me. There is so much to learn and know for just being a songwriter, to producing your own songs. I am working on making time to prioritize my precious passion and gift.

Another challenge is when I get an inspiration, or an idea or an original come to me, I have to stop what I’m doing and type the lyrics and record what music, melody, and instrumentations and arrangement I’d want the song to have on my phone on notes and voice memo. And I could do this all night and into the next morning when it’s time for me to go to work, which is not very healthy for me and makes it a challenge to work the next day from lack of sleep. So I try very hard to have some kind of balance and at least give myself some time to have adequate sleep, and maybe finish the next day or whenever I can after I come home from work. But if I don’t finish it the night before, sometimes the whole thing just hovers over me all day like a very cute and loving adorable impatient child, a force hard to contain, until I finish it and can’t concentrate until I get back on working on it and finishing it. Well, we’re all weird one way or another.

Tell us an early memory about a song that woke something up inside you.
When I was a little girl, I always knew all the songs and would sing along to every song that came on the radio. We could have probably turned off the radio and I could have been the radio player for my family instead, lol. I’ve always loved songs and music all my life and have a deep appreciation of it. Every song always touches me in a special way and affect me emotionally and deeply. I love music so much that whenever there’s music, its quite a challenge because my senses focuses only on the sound and arrangement of the song and makes it hard for me to concentrate, especially if I was multitasking, like when I was working in in-store banking. The store played music all the time and It was a challenge counting money and talking to clients, lol.

I do remember discovering Billie Holiday in college, mid 80s, and Harry Connick Jr’s live TV concert, Harry Connick, Jr and His Orchestra, Swinging Out Live 1991, recorded in Texas. That’s when I fell in love with Standards, Jazz, Big Bands, and really learned that music and singing is a huge part of me, of my being, and I have to have music in my life, and I have to sing! Of course, I have to mention other Greats that also influenced me, Whitney Houston, Bebe and Cece Winans, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Luther Vandrose, Sade, Van Halen, Crystal Gale, Jim Brickman, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, Amy Grant, Christina Aguilera, Tina McBride, Patsy Cline, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Jennifer Lopez and so many others and the list goes on forever.

And for the last 10 years to present time, I find Christian songs to be a heavy influence in my everyday life and helps me to always be encouraged, positive, hopeful, happy and in peace. Praise God! I am blessed and I am grateful.

What Day of 100 is your piece from?
Day 12 of 100 Fall 2020/Summer EP Challenge 2021

Just Perfect is a song I started to write in March 2019, before I joined 100 Days Of Songwriting, and finished in 100 DOS, and one of the 3 songs from my very first work in progress album, Work Tapes, submitted for the Summer EP Challenge 2021 in the 100 Days Of Songwriting community, an amazing global family community of fellow songwriters, composers, lyricists, and producers, that I feel so blessed to be in the company of. I had the honor to work with Rigel Thurston, the Founder of 100 Days of Songwriting and my piano coach. I submitted Just Perfect unfinished and imperfect for the EP Challenge, since we were allowed to submit songs that we are still working on. I hope to formally release it soon. This song is about a false sense of perfection that we all see in another person, a person of love interest in our relationships. I say false sense of perfection because we all know there is no perfect man or woman to be with or a perfect relationship because nothing in this world is just perfect. But it could happen, right? Do ba do ba do ba do be dee doo…

Written by MaryJane Ergino
Music by Rigel Thurston

His eyes are sweet blue ocean
Enticing bewitching me
Clean cut and freshly shaven
His lips are hot and tempting
In his Armani shows Greek God physique
So dashing tall and handsome suave of a chap
Everything is just perfect
Could he be the one who fit the shoe

Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do be dee doo
Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do ba do dwee

It such a great fun night
The flowers are lovely
The candies such a sweet touch
The dinner so scrumptious
Dimmed lights added romance in the night
Stroll in the avenue
The crisp air and the kiss at the end of good night
Everything is just perfect
I think he’s the one who fit the shoe

Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do be dee doo
Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do ba do dwee

Many nights I wished for you
All those nights I dreamed of you
Thought you’re only a fantasy
Here you are and so good for me
You hold me and squeeze me
Feel me and kiss me
Love me and take me high

He’s so sweet and gentle
And buys me Tiffany blings
So good to my lovely family
And laughs with my dear friends too
Attentive and puts me first everyday
After The Almighty One
Trips to Paris clever conversations and affairs
Sincere kindness real integrity
This noble man of a hunk I choose for me

Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do be dee doo
Da do do dwee dee, do ba do ba do ba do ba do dwee

Everything is just perfect
And I know he’s the one who fit the shoe, yes

Listen here:
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Official music page:
MJ's Soundcloud