On a high note: Album a highlight for LJ vocalist


Mary Talbot Fee has been singing since she was 6 years old. Through a lifetime filled with college and career, marriage and family, volunteering and community, she has never lost sight of her passion for music.

The March 3 release of “Midwinter Night’s Dream,” Fee’s debut album, signals a high note in the La Jolla resident’s singing career.

“It’s risky in a sense because most of us have these dreams,” Fee said. “When you actually go out and make it a reality, you lose the possibility of fantasizing about it. I decided I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life without going for it.”

Produced by Amber and Rob Whitlock of Sketchin’ Records, “Midwinter Night’s Dream” is a collection of 15 songs that includes jazz standards; international selections in French, Italian and Portuguese; and three songs composed exclusively for Fee.

Fee describes her style as that of a chanteuse. She is drawn to music that inspires vivid imagery and reflection. Raised in Massachusetts, Fee grew up experiencing the many moods of winter and selected that as the theme of her album.

“I want (listeners) to think about the poetry,” she said. “I want them to have fun. Some of these songs are kind of hauntingly pensive … but some of them are sexy.”

In November 2007, Fee, who had been studying under Amber Whitlock, was offered the opportunity to record at the Whitlocks’ indie label, based in Los Angeles. The project took six months and was completed midyear in 2008.

“I didn’t realize to what degree they were going to take it,” Fee said.

The studio crew included musicians affiliated with music icons such as George Benson and James Taylor, as well as local talent John Rekevics, Danielle Spadavecchia, Leonard Taylor and Andy Villas Boas.

The album has inspired Fee to take her career to a new level. She is putting together a band and developing concert opportunities.

Fee admitted she isn’t driven by a desire for commercial success. Instead, the album has been a way to free the memories, thoughts and emotions closest to her heart.

Track number 14, “Angela,” is especially poignant for Fee because she recorded it to honor her muse, her mother, Angela Schimmenti Talbot. Fee intentionally sang the piece in Portuguese to symbolize the barrier between herself and her mother when Alzheimer’s disease robbed her mother of the ability to communicate.

“When someone has Alzheimer’s, you sort of relate to them on a new level,” Fee said.

Although words had become meaningless, Fee found other ways to connect with her mother. Fee wants people to hear the song and be inspired, even without understanding the words.

Fee, who is married and has one son, has lived and worked in La Jolla for several years. She has been active with the La Jolla Kiwanis Club, serving as president from 2007 to 2008.

For more information about her album and upcoming appearances, visit