Environmental and Biological forces at work. Overcoming the tendency to be shy.

Posted: November 8, 2023
Shyness is driven by both biological and environmental forces. Babies are born with different temperaments, and those with an extremely sensitive temperament are more likely to go on to be shy. Yet supportive, sensitive parenting can buffer against developing shyness or social anxiety.

I believe to a degree that parenting can have an impact on shy children or babies. However, there are some tendencies that are difficult to get over. I come from parents with extremes on both sides. My father is introverted, and my mother is super extraverted. 😊 We often were embarrassed due to my mother’s ability to say or do anything that she felt compelled to do. In some ways it rubbed off on me, as I say whatever comes to mind. My opinions can get me into trouble. However, I am not one to hold back, even if it’s at the cost of someone’s feelings. I am confident, and honest. Yet, an introvert when it comes to speaking to people in person. I have been encouraged to use my voice for radio and podcasts. Though there is something about writing that holds my interest the most.

I find it interesting that those with a level of shyness are often ones that have experienced much success. Even though they are shy to perform in front of others, they tend to excel at it. Public speaking is a fear that many people have. However, it is something that I personally excel at. Yet, I am described as shy with my closest of friends and family.

I wonder how others overcome their shyness to become successful in many professional sectors in the music industry. For example, take our guest today, Mary N. She is a shy, yet has delivered as a singer, songwriter, and producer. How is she able to overcome her fears, to work effectively in front of the public? This is just one question that we have for Mary N. So please tune into our conversation with her today.


Mary N (born April 21st, 1995) is a Portuguese singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer.

In her early years, Mary N was always too shy to perform in front of others. When she was 15, Mary finally realized she could use music to communicate with people who struggled in the same ways she did. That’s when she discovered her love of being on stage and connecting with fans through songwriting.

Mary turns her songs into entire narratives using her deeply personal lyrics along with her impressive guitar skills. It’s a rarity to find an artist who can translate their emotions into music as well as Mary does, but it leads to a one-of-a-kind sound that’s hard to resist.

In 2017, Mary released, as na independent artist, a Pop/Rock debut album called “Patience”.

In June of 2019, a new single called “Ready” is released, a song that represents a turning point for the artist and a reconciliation with music.

For the first time, Mary was nominated and won the E! Music 2020 award by E! Entertainment Portugal.

Mary astounded her audience by delivering an unforeseen EP titled "What If" prior to the launch of her second album, “Better” in 2023. In addition to her full-time occupation and her work with various other artists, Mary is strategically poised to unveil a substantial array of fresh musical content throughout the year 2024.


Guitar Thrills: Hi Mary. I must start out by asking you how did you overcome your shyness to perform in front of an audience?

Mary: Hi Edward, I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for reaching out to me for this interview. Becoming a musician has always been my dream, and I knew that, at some point, I had to overcome my shyness to be able to perform. It wasn't easy at first, but I had to push myself to take that step forward. Playing the guitar has always been easier for me to perform in front of people, but when it comes to singing, I had to come up with a well-thought-out plan. Music schools usually have a final show at the end of the semester, so I signed up for singing lessons when I was 15 years old. At the final show, my parents heard me singing for the first time. Before that, I would only sing when I was alone at home. From that day on, my shyness started to slowly decrease. I began posting videos on the internet of me performing and started doing my first shows. As time passed, experiencing both success and failure, my shyness started to fade, and I gained the confidence to perform in front of an audience.

Guitar Thrills: When did you learn that this was going to be an issue for you? Also did It make you hesitate to pursue a music career?

Mary: I figured that out when I was 15. That's the year I decided I really wanted to make a living through music and write my own songs. I never thought for a second that my shyness would be a big problem. My first thought was, 'How can I get past this?' So, I came up with the idea of taking those singing lessons I mentioned earlier, and luckily, it did the trick.

Guitar Thrills: Everyone is different and will battle shyness in their own way. However, what would you suggest to anyone trying to overcome shyness?

Mary: If you are a musician and shy, I want tell you that there’s nothing wrong with it. Take your time and start small, like performing for your parents or closest friends who support you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Practice a lot because the more you practice, the more confident you'll get. Embrace imperfections, everyone, even the greatest musicians, makes mistakes. Failure is crucial for growth, learning, and getting better - you can't improve if you always win. It's a gradual process, and setbacks are okay. Just stay committed to your music, and sooner or later, you'll become a more self-assured musician.

Guitar Thrills: How were you able to take on so many roles. Singer / Songwriter often go hand in hand. Add to it Guitarist and Producer, you have taken on much responsibility. How do you manage so many roles?

Mary: I think what's made me more than just a singer/songwriter is the fact that I don't like depending on others. It also gives me the freedom to do things my way and on my own schedule. I've spent years learning and practicing these different roles because the more skills you have, the more opportunities open in the music industry. Nowadays, it's tough to make it in music with just one role. It hasn't been easy because I not only have to juggle these roles but also hold down a 9 to 5 job. But with good organization and determination, we can pursue everything we want in life.

Guitar Thrills: One other thing that sticks out to me is that you are Portuguese. It is considered a very difficult  language to master. Do you find it difficult to translate Portuguese into English? Especially as a songwriter.

Mary: I've always been around the English language. My parents and my brother used to jam to English songs, and I picked up a lot from watching TV shows and movies with English subtitles. When I write in English, it just flows naturally, I don't bother translating from Portuguese because we have our own expressions, and I want to sound like a native speaker. Plus, I have this American friend who's a fantastic help. He's always there to make sure my lyrics are on point. He's been a great support.

Guitar Thrills: Who has been an inspiration in your life as an artist? Have you had a chance to work with those artists that have been an influence on your music career?

Mary: I've got four names in mind: Michael Jackson, McFly, Avril Lavigne, and Polyphia. These artists have been a big part of my journey and growth as a musician. I've learned so much just by watching how they've evolved in the music world. Teaming up with any of the last three artists would be a total dream. It'd be amazing to collaborate with them, get to know them better, and see how they work their magic.

Guitar Thrills: What has been your biggest achievement as an artist?

Mary: I think one of my biggest achievement as an artist was when I got on stage with 40,000 people watching me perform my own songs. It was an unforgettable experience that will stick with me forever. That day was so special; my inner voice was like, 'This isn't your bedroom anymore, you're not just standing on your bed imagining a big crowd. This is real, we've made it here! Be proud!'

Guitar Thrills: Since you are a talented guitarist, what brand of guitar do you normally use an why?

Mary: Thank you for saying that! I really love Fender. I fell in love with the guitar I've been using all these years. It's a limited edition American Standard Channel-bound Telecaster, and it has such a versatile sound that allows me to play almost anything and any genre. Fender did an excellent job. I hope to acquire more Fender guitars to explore different sounds, and one day, I'd love to make my current guitar my signature model.

Guitar Thrills: What projects are you currently working on?

Mary: Besides continuing with my 9 to 5 job and doing some guitar work for other artists, I have plans to release new songs very soon. But this time, I'm going to try something different and more interactive with my supporters. It's going to be a fun experience, and I can't wait to get started!

Guitar Thrills: I know that this is your first interview with us. Needless to say, we will continue to keep tables on your career. It has been a pleasure to converse about your talented career. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help promote your projects moving forward.

Mary: Thank you so much for the opportunity and the kind words! I'm thrilled to be part of this interview, and I'm looking forward to the future. Your support means a lot. For those interested in following my work, you can connect with me on social media: @marynofficial. Thank you.

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