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10 Questions For: Mary Anne Constable
Architect, journalist, singer and songwriter Mary Anne Constable is a symbol of hard work and determination. Mary Anne effortlessly marries her many passions and shares them with the world.
1. How would you describe what you do for a living?
I am trained as an architect but I now work as a specialised architectural journalist which is my passion that I've been pursuing for the last five years. I currently work part-time as contributing editor for Earthworks Magazine (Young Africa Publishing) and also write freelance for journals in the architectural industry. In between that I work on my music, which is another passion. I write and compose songs and do occasional gigs around Cape Town. It's always been a hobby but the common thread with my other work is definitely the writing. The kind of things I do are always changing and I like it that way. Although I'd like to pursue my music more I wouldn't want to give up the other work either - I'd like to find a way to make them work together. Perhaps writing songs about architecture? (jokes)
2. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
My song ‘Walls’ is a reflection of my childhood memories growing up in my family house in Johannesburg which was sadly demolished when my parents sold it in my early 20's. It was such a significant place for me growing up (I lived there for 17 years before moving down to university in Cape Town). I still have vivid dreams in which I walk through the gardens and hallways. It shall never be forgotten and is now immortalised in a song of mine.
3. If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?
I've been fortunate enough to meet and have lunch with a person who would have been one of those choices – Steve Newman, South African guitar maestro - and really one of my guitar idols. So I guess for dinner I'd choose some crazy funny people to meet over a few glasses of wine. Maybe English comedienne Catherine Tate - I think she's hilarious. And John Cleese and Michael Palin from Monty Python - real comedy classics.
4. If you ever found yourself auditioning for a music reality TV show, what song would you sing and why?
I considered auditioning for a music reality TV show, Idols, a couple of years ago but then decided that I didn't want to put myself under that sort of pressure but rather pursue my music independently. But if I did, I think I might sing Alanis Morissette's ‘Your House (Hidden Track)’ off the album Jagged Little Pill. It's an acapella and really haunting. I've been thinking about that song lately and how I used to sing it in the shower when I was a teenager. I never thought I had much of a voice then but always dreamed that one day I could sing that song with the power that she does.
5. How would you complete this sentence? The South African cabinet should include a Minister of ___________.
Silliness (inspired by Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks).
6. What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?
When I was younger I used to be very shy and introverted and it took up into my early twenties for that to change. Although I generally compensate by making a concerted effort to be friendly and sociable I think I can sometimes be a little reserved and people think I'm quite a serious person. I have quite a serious resting face (haha). On the contrary I have the most ridiculous dry sense of humour, and people often comment that they are surprised when they discover this about me. I'm playful, a bit of a risk taker and have interests and do activities that are unconventional - definitely not serious or boring!
7. What is your (honest) opinion of Cape Town?
I love Cape Town. I realised the other day that I've almost lived in Cape Town as long as I've lived in Johannesburg! I love the fact that nature is so close to you here and you can do something like go for a walk in the forest instead of going to a shopping mall! I hate the winter weather - still haven't gotten used to the rain. I love the local acoustic music scene, the architecture, food markets, wine farms, etc. I do find people here a bit cliquey but I'm not sure if that's also a reflection of today's world where people seem to spend so much time online that they forget to connect offline.
8. What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
Referring back to my answer for question six, it was difficult for me to overcome my extreme shyness growing up. I'm a very sensitive kind of person - in the sense that I feel things very deeply. I imagine that in historical times I would have been one of those poets like John Keats, living with my head in the clouds, writing about all sorts of things, trying to figure out the meaning of life! I think this sensitivity reflects in my song-writing and hopefully makes me good at it - and is something that I hope people can relate to. Very creative people often tend to be sensitive. The double-edged sword is that you feel the negative emotions deeply too, and I suffered from depression as a teenager. I guess it's been a process of learning to become myself and not to be afraid of who and what that is. I think I'm still figuring that out though.
9. What's the one thing you'd like to achieve before you die?
I think releasing my album is one of those, which I'm excited to be working on now. I have loads of things on my bucket list but I'd really like to travel to South America next. I'd like to do as much traveling as possible before I die. That also depends on winning the lottery in order to fund it!
10. Which well-known South African personality would you, without a doubt, be able to beat in a one-on-one dance-off and why?
I love this question - hilarious. Well, I love partner dancing – so I’d be keen for a swing, jive or cha-cha with someone as opposed to against them. To be honest, I don't follow a lot of that latest celebrity stuff - I don't own a television - so I think I'd choose someone old school, perhaps Pieter Dirk Uys for a laugh!
CapeTownMagazine.com’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-known and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates.
A FEW OF OUR OTHER 10Q CANDIDATES:
10 Questions For South African Musician and Songwriter Anton Goosen
10 Questions For Cape Town-based Poet Siphosethu Phikelela
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