MaryAnn ‘Mare’ Johnston is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, a second-generation American of Croatian and Azorean heritage. Her first memory is of being snatched from a playpen to dance; her parents bonded over the Big Band sound and filled their home with music. She cannot recall a time when she wasn’t clutching a pencil; she remembers being a shy girl encircled by rapt classmates who watched her draw. She was a fairy princess long before it was a thing, writing plays, poems, and short stories. She developed a love of books, and they served as nourishment, escape, and best friends. 

Johnston is a singer, a songwriter, and a student of mandolin and upright bass. Her songs are bawdy and tender, salacious and melancholic. A recurring theme is the witnessing and reframing of emotional pain, or she may combine disparate elements with humorous results – the sweet cowboy lullaby turned naughty, a nostalgic song poking fun at intimate miscommunication, a gospel song exploring aging and sexuality. Johnston weaves visual art with her love of words and has illustrated her songs.

Johnston is a Certified Music Practitioner trained through New York-based Music for Healing & Transition Program to assess and provide live music at bedside for the ill and actively dying. She facilitates the SoulCollage® intuitive deck process for individuals and groups. Johnston holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies..