TORONTO — Canadian singer Suzie McNeil took the wraps off her latest musical project Friday — a band called Loving Mary.
The 32-year-old Ontario native has teamed up with Grammy-winning country artist Rebecca Lynn Howard and hit songwriters Marti Frederiksen and Elisha Hoffman.
Based in Nashville, Loving Mary already has an album’s worth of songs written and an EP recorded. No release dates have been announced.
The group came together after McNeil collaborated with Frederiksen, a California-born musician who co-wrote songs like “Jaded” by Aerosmith and “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. He was also the voice behind Stillwater, the band in 2000’s Almost Famous.
“We started writing a bunch of songs for a duo project in the vein of Lady Antebellum,” McNeil explained in the band’s official bio.
“But then one day we thought, ‘The world needs a Fleetwood Mac again,’ so let’s do a band — two guys, two girls.”
Howard, who released three albums between 2000 and 2008 and won Grammys in 1998 and 2003, was next to come onboard.
Hoffman, a producer and songwriter who has worked with artists like Faith Hill and The Academy, completed the quartet.
“It’s not easy to write with four people in a room,” said McNeil. “That’s a lot of opinions, but everything we’ve done has come really naturally.”
After competing on the 2005 reality series Rock Star: INXS — where she lost to fellow Canadian J.D. Fortune — McNeil had a number of hit singles in Canada including “Believe” and “Super Girl.”
McNeil, who got engaged last year to musician Andrew Mactaggart, is also the voice of the long-running Marineland commercials.
Each Loving Mary song will feature a different lead vocalist as well as four-part harmonies. McNeil plays guitar, harmonica and tambourine; Frederiksen plays guitar, Howard plays bass and Hoffman plays instruments like the banjo and mandolin.
The band describes the sound as “from Americana to Country with a spin of Rock ’n’ Roll.”
Loving Mary is set to perform in May at the Key West Songwriters Festival in Florida.
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