Mary Frenzl

Mary Frenzel

Photos Courtesy of Mary Frenzel

Professional Singer / Songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor

Time in Japan:

3 Years

Where are you from?
Boulder, Colorado, USA.

What brought you to Japan?
I was assigned here as an entertainer for the US Air Force.

How did you get started in the singing business?
I started singing harmonies with my mother at age eight, and then after taking piano and trumpet lessons, I wrote my first song at age ten on the piano. I have been singing professionally for five years and stared my singing career in Japan fronting a Glen Miller show, which toured across Japan’s civic centers. The receptions we received were amazing-I was spoiled with Japan’s great hospitality!

What’s it like to sing and write jingles for Japanese commercials?
I think the talent of ESP would be helpful in singing commercial jingles… The producers have a very specific idea of what sound they have in mind, and it’s your job to find out what that is, or you’ll be in their studio for days! As far as writing jingles, I recently sang a TV commercial for one of the cell phone companies. The recording session began at 11:30pm, and the background tracks had still not been finished. After about an hour the producer brought the lead sheet in and asked me to write lyrics. That was a surprise! So in a woozy midnight daze, I think I remember writing some rather interesting lyrics… I still have not heard the commercial, but I’d be really interested to know how it turned out!

maryfrenzl2.jpg (18198 bytes)

You have a new music video out?
Yes! The video is for my original song, “Too Late,” featured in a commercial for TVK42’s Friday Night “Sony Music Access” non-stop music video program. It will air every Friday night in December between 11:30pm and 12:45am. Last year I got back into songwriting and I started “crashing concerts” by bringing my demo packet backstage to major concerts during sound checks so I could introduce myself to the artist’s manager. I did this at the Pet Shop Boys concert last May, and was offered a seat next to Tetsuo Yamazaki, program producer of the production department of TVK42. A few months after our introduction, he offered to produce and air this video. The video turned out wonderful, so now we are working on a three song CD to be given as a gift to the TV station’s listeners this Christmas.

In what genre would you place your music?
The music on this Christmas CD is leaning toward the dance genre, although I write songs in many different styles.

What do you hope to contribute to the music industry?
My goal is to write music that brings passion back into the lives of people who have lost sight of what really matters to them.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or experienced in Japan?
This may not be the weirdest, but I remember when I first got here thinking how strange it was to be walking around in Shibuya and Roppongi and being bombarded with kanji porn advertisements and tissue dial-a-numbers at every corner. I wrote a silly song about this experience called “Wakarimasen” which will be released next year. The funny thing is that if I didn’t receive the kanji porn and elicit tissue like everyone else, I think I would feel very left out.

What’s your recipie for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Experience everything. Be spontaneous. Fear nothing. And surround yourself with caring, supportive and creative people. Contact Mary at or Freewave, Mary’s management company at

Mary Frenzel spoke to Melanie C. Redmond.

Do you know someone who has an interesting life in Japan? Email us at

360: Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer
355: Alec McAulay
352/3: Mary Frenzel
Professional singer / songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
350: Kate Smurthwaite
Bond analyst and aspiring novelist
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
345: Chris Chavez
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
325: David Baran
Managing Partner, Compass Partners
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel

Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199