Stacy Barthe is a self-proclaimed open book. Which is appropriate, given that she lends her sultry voice to the brutally honest BET series, Being Mary Jane.
The 29-year-old singer and songwriter burst onto the music scene nearly five years ago, and in 2013, she dropped her mellow and tender song, “Flawed Beautiful Creatures.” Her voice caught the attention of “Being Mary Jane” creator Mara Brock Akil, who asked to use it on the show. The rest is history.
Just in time for season two of the show, Barthe sat down with ESSENCE.com to discuss everything from self-esteem issues to heartbreak and how she has triumphed through it all.
Do you feel a connection to Being Mary Jane?
I relate as a woman. Just the things we do for love or wanting to have love. I relate to that. Even with my past music, there has been a sense of longing to this feeling that I’ve been chasing but that I can never really find.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love?
I don’t know where to start. Teenage years, I was always the “homie sister friend.” I used to just let people use me: “What you want? Some food? What you want?” Anything to keep somebody around. In my first real relationship, I got with him when I was 350 pounds, but I felt like I was fighting for someone who wasn’t mine. I felt like I was on punishment because I was fat. I don’t think it was necessarily crazy; I just think it was lack of self-esteem. I was buying somebody’s affections just to have somebody around because I didn’t want to be alone.
How do you incorporate these experiences into your music?
I’m what you call a method artist. I live it, then go write about it. Everything I write is pretty autobiographical. Big shout out to [my first boyfriend] because he really helped me to see me. I don’t want to ever bad-mouth him because he was my friend at one point. He just wasn’t mine.
You are so open with all of your experiences. Is that easy for you?
I’m an open book. This is somebody who used to get made fun of and teased miserably. I don’t really care what people have to say about me. I figure I’m going to die one day, and somebody has to tell the story properly. I want you to be able to know what the hell happened.
What do you want listeners to take from your songs?
I want them to take and recognize pieces of themselves in me. My music is about the human condition, and we all have a common denominator in wanting to be loved. We don’t want to do this live alone. We all are insecure. We all are fragile. We all are flawed, beautiful creatures. It’s like taking your shirt off and recognizing that someone has the same exact scar as you do. We’re all broken. Everybody has had something in their life that has molded who they are.
What’s next for you?
Well, if I wake up tomorrow, we’ll see. I never had a plan. I just had passion. So my plan is to passionately live life.
Are you tuning in to Being Mary Jane?