People Around Us

Mother, daughter duo strum for 'Ellen'

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 24, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham

Rockland — When a teenager starts talking about growing up and being in love, it most often causes the parents to stress out and consider how to deal with the situation at hand.

However, when Mary Bergey's 13-year-old daughter, Shannon Johnson, started writing lyrics to a song about just that, she saw it as a means to get even closer.

"I had written a couple lyrics," said Johnson, "when Mom asked if I'd mind if we turn it into a duet."

It did not take long for the mother-daughter pair from Rockland to bang out their original "Growing Up," which now has several thousand hits on YouTube.

Their goal: to get on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." The pair has sent their song in to the show (see link below), and await a response.

The more people that submit it, the better their chances.

"She [Ellen] is our favorite," said Bergey. "She does so many wonderful things," she added.

"If Shannon gets on, I will be the most proud parent," said Bergey adding, if she gets to go too that would just be icing on the cake. "We know it's a long shot," said Bergey.

Bergey began singing at a young age with her musical parents, Mary Ellen and Kevin Young.

"I use to beg them to please let me sing with them," said Bergey. "Finally, they let me sing and it was the highlight of my life."

She performed in a blues band called Rattleboxx for a while and most recently has been part of the popular local pop band Static Coda.

No stranger to the stage, Bergey is somewhat of a star in the Midcoast area — being one of six finalists from Maine in 2011 to audition for "The Voice," a vocal competition show that airs on NBC. Although Bergey did not make the final cut, she praised the community for its support and raising money to send her and her sister Annette to Los Angeles like stars.

"If circumstances were right," Bergey said she would attempt it again.

Bergey's siblings — Annette Burns, Charlene Walsh, Laura Perkins and Michael Young — have also taken a turn in the music arena. In fact, Burns and Young are members of Static Coda.

Johnson started at a young age as well, being taken to church by her grandmother at age 2 and singing "You Are My Sunshine" in front of the congregation. Aside from singing, she also plays the guitar and saxophone, and would like to learn the drums and piano.

"She's never been shy in front of a microphone," said Bergey.

"My dream became her dream and now it's our dream," she said.

Practicing a lot in the shower helps her vocal abilities, Johnson said. The seventh-grader at Medomak Middle School said her music teacher posted the YouTube link on the school's Smart Board and she and her mom performed at a school concert.

The duo also recently sang their song live on 92 Moose, and is scheduled to perform on WERU Community Radio (89.9 Blue Hill and 99.9 Bangor) April 5.

If the "Ellen" endeavor does not work out, Johnson said she may just try to raise money to go for  "American Idol" or something else big.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

See the "Ellen Show" submission
Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Mar 26, 2014 08:31

Extremely well done performance. You are both talented singers and think you have a good chance. Suggest you also send copy to Taylor Swift. This is the kind of piece Swift could really embrace.   She also started when 13.

Posted by: Jim Smith | Mar 25, 2014 19:37

I sure you make the Ellen show.

Posted by: Jim Smith | Mar 25, 2014 19:29

I sure hope you make the Ellen show.

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