An early obsession with ’80s songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, coupled with mastery of her brother’s guitar at the age of 14, prepared Mary Karlzen for her later life as an intellectual folk-popster. Born and raised in Chicago, Karlzen moved to Florida to attend college, but ended up working in a record store. She sang in several bands, and recorded a few songs with a local friend, Mark Scandariato. The Miami label Y&T jumped on the demos and released her self-titled album in 1992. After several songs from her 1993 Hide EP ended up on VH1, Karlzen became the network’s most-played independent artist of all time. Atlantic rectified the situation by signing her in 1994, and after touring with Bob Dylan and John Hiatt, she recorded Yelling at Mary with producer Kevin McCormick. The album was released in January 1995.