When one reaches their golden years, you are expected to mellow down and take things slow as your body has been worn out over the years. However, it is often said that you are only as old as you feel and this is proven to be true by Singapore’s very own legit rocker grandma.
Mary Ho, or Grandma Mary as she is affectionately known, is an 81-year-old woman who made headlines back in 2015 when she was well-known for her guitar skills. Apparently she had started with the acoustic guitar when she was 60 years old, according to Asia One.
The rock-loving grandma said that she had always wanted to learn the guitar but her mother did not encourage her because “guitars are meant for boys”. She said, “I went to work, got married and looked after my young family – I have two daughters – and I didn’t have much time. When the grandchildren came, I helped to look after (them). When they got older, I felt that I had nothing much for myself (to do) and I thought about the guitar that I loved.”
“That was when I started with the acoustic, at age 60.” She learnt by herself at first, armed only with an acoustic guitar book and was content with strumming leisurely. This soon lead to Grandma Mary following her true passion and she picked up the electric lead guitar after a friend introduced to her Carlos Santana’s classic track ‘Samba Pa Ti’, according to CNA.
She found it difficult to follow and decided to take lessons but even when she managed to find a good teacher, he said, “No, grandma, you cannot read notes, you cannot read tablature, I don’t know how to teach. I’ve never taught anybody your age before.”
The awesome grandmother of seven persisted and the teacher finally relented. Grandma Mary practised for up to three hours a day until her hands were bleeding and bandaged but she never gave up on learning her favourite song.
She improved her skills so much that she actually released her own album in 2008 titled “Grandma Mary’s Latin Rock” and became a bona fide YouTube star after her grandson uploaded a video of her playing her favourite songs. One of them, “I Need Your Love So Bad” has even hit more than 1.1 million views!
To date, Grandma Mary has collected more than 20 guitars and is also frequently in demand for charity concerts and performances. However, she has officially reached the zenith of her rockstar life when she was asked to perform at Singapore’s National Day Parade on August 9, in front of a 27,000-strong crowd.
While understandably nervous and excited, she says that she hopes to inspire everyone with her passion for life and encourages everyone to do something they love.
Keep rocking, Grandma Mary and Happy National Day, Singapore!
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