An interview with Mercy, the newest emerging pop artist
MERCY’s narrative is a study in contradiction: a circus performer who puts herself through college, a stuntwoman whose techno-pop music finds its way into an Indian blockbuster film, a Tattoo model with a degree in Forensic Anthropology and Psychology.
Yet, it’s through these seemingly contrasting endeavors that she has found her unique voice, intertwining her diverse talents into a singular, multi-faceted brand. MERCY’s tale serves as a powerful reminder that, in the pursuit of our dreams, no aspect of our experience is ever wasted – each detour, each challenge, each victory and defeat, feeds into the person we become, and the story we have to tell.
Your journey took a dramatic turn when you ran away as a teenager. Can you delve into what led you to this decision, and what was the hardest part about living on your own?
I ran away from home after a particularly brutal fight with my stepfather. It was a pretty easy decision even though it was an impulse decision, so I didn’t have anything saved up from working, I had maybe $200 to my name but I literally left that day.
I drove to my school and work and left them know why I was leaving and then got in my truck and took off. I couldn’t exactly get a real job in Las Vegas because I was breaking the law by running away. I sang for change on street corners and went to paid movie screenings just to be able to afford the McDonald’s dollar menu.
Singing on street corners in Las Vegas must have been quite an experience. How did you deal with the uncertainty and unpredictability of that lifestyle?
I’m not sure I dealt with it particularly well really. I ate off the dollar menu at McDonald’s everyday, bathed in the public restrooms at casinos, and slept in my truck that I left in a free public parking lot blocks off the strip.
I even once almost got arrested for getting caught trying to steal a knife off a street vendor in Fremont street. The owner took pity on me when I told him I wanted it for protection and how I was living. Honestly I was glad authorities found me and my dad took me in to get away from all of it.
Despite the challenges, you managed to put yourself through college. How did you manage to balance academic rigors with the pressures of survival and your burgeoning career?
My career wasn’t burgeoning in college. I bartended during semesters and went on modeling tours on break. I barely made enough money to pay rent and eat and went into student loan debt.
Your degree choices in Forensic Anthropology and Psychology are unconventional for an entertainer. Can you share how these fields have influenced your artistic expression?
I think that my passion for Forensic Anthropology fueled my love for the macabe. I think psychology is a great study for anyone who not only wants to understand themselves better but has to deal with other people in anyway.
You’ve performed in various realms, from burlesque to circus sideshows. Have you ever feared for your safety during these performances, especially while performing dangerous acts like fire breathing and glass eating?
Oh yeah. I’ve definitely put myself and been put in situations where I shouldn’t have been. I got deep second degree burns on the lower half of my face, neck, and chest after a freak fire eating accident. I couldn’t perform for almost 6 months after that. There’s also been so many times where I said to myself “well I don’t know how I didn’t die” after a show, but you somehow get used to all that amazingly enough.
Can you talk about the inception and journey of your circus road show, BIO DOLLS? How has it been received by audiences and critics?
Bio Dolls started out of desperation really. I was high and drunk pretty much every single day and spiraling into a deep depression. I got lucky to have a best friend that was willing to drop everything, leave the state she had never left, and learn crazy circus acts. I think she saved my life.
Initially we got a lot of interest. People loved a sexy, danger filled, post apocalyptic styled show but I couldn’t keep up with the momentum. The bigger shows were few and far between and making money between cities was nearly impossible. On top of that the trailer I bought was either leaking or catching on fire every other day. It was truly a comedy of errors.
As a stuntwoman, what was the most dangerous stunt you’ve had to perform, and how did you prepare for it?
The most dangerous stunts I have had to perform always involve fire. Fire is my favorite thing in the world, besides music, but it can be unpredictable at times. The best thing you can do is just work with it every day and get comfortable with it.
Your music was featured in the Indian blockbuster SAAHO. How did this opportunity come about, and did it open doors for you in the global music scene?
I was working on Saaho as Kenny Bates, the action director’s, assistant and occasional stunt performer. My husband, Garrett Grant, was working as the action producer and at the end of shooting we were invited to a private dinner by Prabhas the lead actor. Garrett told Prabhas that what I really do is make music and when Prabhas heard this he asked me to create a song for the film.
It was a bit of a whirlwind after that. We got back to the states, I flew to Dallas and recorded Bhaag with Think Up Anger and the next day we got news that they loved the song and wanted to use it. I’m blessed to have such a strong, devoted Indian fan base because of it.
How did you transition from a stuntwoman and actress to a techno-pop artist? What challenges did you face during this transition?
I didn’t really transition. I still work as both an actress and stuntwoman and have work in The Matrix Ressurections, Batgirl, Blue Beetle and most recently The Book of Clearence. I’m definetly a multi faceted artist.
Your life has been filled with high-risk choices and you’ve taken a path less trodden. How do you manage the stress and uncertainties that come with this lifestyle?
I think that stress management is definitely a continuous evoltuion especially when you’re on long film projects or preparing for shows. The one thing that has followed me through all my stages in life is manifestation. That combined with meditation and working out really helps to keep a level head and it’s something you can do anywhere in the world.
You have a strong presence in the alternative culture scene, with tattoo modeling and burlesque performances. Have you faced any stigmatization or prejudice in mainstream entertainment because of this?
I have so much love for the alternative culture scene because it’s where I really grew up as a person but especially as a performer and I’ve been lucky enough that modern culture is starting to accept things Only Fans and the porn industry as whole for even your most average person that I don’t receive a lot of retaliation for any of modeling or performances in the entertainment industry.
If anything it was harder a few years back, especially before covid, where people in the general public would try to push their ideas of alternative culture on me or they assumed it was going to hinder me. I wouldn’t be able to be a stunt performer if I had never learned how to fire perform in the sideshow, which I would never have done if I hadn’t done Burlesque.
You’ve worked on major film productions like Matrix Resurrections and Uncharted. Can you share a behind-the-scenes moment that stood out to you during these projects?
One moment while filming The Matrix Resurrections, that I will forever hold close to my heart, was when Lana Wachowski reached across to me to straighten my hair out of my face and kindly told me that this was something she did for Keanu Reeves.
It was an incredible honor to have her as my director and to a share a moment like that is absolutely magical.
What was the turning point that made you decide to combine all your talents – singing, songwriting, acting, modeling, and circus performing – into the MERCY brand?
I think I’ve always been a Jane-Of-All-Trades kinda person so it was a pretty natural progression. I even used to call myself The Professional Human.
How do you maintain your physical and mental health while managing such a diverse and demanding career?
I don’t know if anyone in the entertainment industry is great at this but we certainly try! Meditating, working out regularly and eating as healthy as I can, despite on set goodies, is all we can really do. Again I’m also a big fan of manifesting and journaling so I think that helps me stay in the present and gratitude helps me focus on the good.
Can you share more about your involvement in the LGBTQ+ community and your performances at New York’s premier pride event, Siren?
I came out as Bisexual, which I still identify as well as Pansexual now, when I was in high school, but it wasn’t really unexpected. I’m lucky to have grown up in a family that was already supportive of the community and had friends in the LGBTQ+ community all my life.
I went to Pride celebrations and worked with LGBTQ+ centers/programs throughout high school and college, long before I even ever performed. I booked Siren as a fire breathing/eating mermaid through my connections in the burlesque scene. I drove from Albuquerque to New York just to do it and it was one of the most thrilling events I had done as a fire performer!
You’ve had a rich and varied career, but also one that’s been fraught with adversity. Can you share an instance where you almost gave up, and what helped you persevere?
I don’t know that there was ever a time that I really thought about giving up on the entertainment industry because I don’t think there’s anything else I could ever really do. Nothing at least that my soul would let me do. I went to college for science and left science for showbiz. Even when I was living in my car, absolutely miserable, I was determined to make it. I still am.
As you look to the future, what challenges are you anticipating in your career, and how are you preparing to tackle them?
I think one of the biggest challenges I’m going to face is my hurdle with social media. As much of a gift it is to be able to instantly connect with your fan base, the ever changing algorithms and demanding content creation schedules make it hard for those of us who are not just content creators to keep up.
How can I spend all my time online and still make music? It’s something I’m still learning to balance. I hope that my music and my shows will connect me to audience that can accept some of my social media failings in return for my artistry.
What roles do you want to she her take on next? Comment below!