Erica Mantone has a saying she keeps in the back of her mind for moments like today: “If you can’t push yourself, you don’t get to push anyone else.”
It’s a valuable adage for an established Boston session musician like Mantone, who’s provided her vocals to the likes of Will Dailey, Parlour Bells, and Buffalo Tom, among countless others. But when it comes time for Mantone to release her own tunes, the mentality is always what nudges her out from the wings and into her well-earned spot at center stage.
Her new solo track “Maybe It’s Me” drops this afternoon (November 20), debuting the first look at her forthcoming solo EP.
“Being in the spotlight has never been something I considered and, frankly, it scares me. But I needed to prove to myself that I could do it and do it well,” Mantone explains. “Older women like Sharon Jones and session singers like Lisa Fischer inspired me when they dared step out of the shadows into their own light. I’ve also loved the style of musicality and production coming out of Henley Row, and really wanted to explore creating music with them… This experience is a constant learning curve and a constant challenge to believe I am worth it.”
A slow burn waltz, “Maybe It’s Me” turns up the drama of breakups with brassy blues and an unhasty melody that lends Mantone’s vocals ample time to simmer.
“It’s a straight-forward song about heartbreak and landing on your ass,” Mantone says. “It’s a reckoning of my relationships — why I do what I do and feel what I feel.”
“Maybe it’s me / Maybe it’s you / Somewhere between / Is probably the truth,” she divulges on the opening lyrics of the track. But in this case — career-wise, at least — it’s definitely Mantone who’s calling all the shots.