Ghost Of You
concert review and artist reflections
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Last updated: 26 March 2006
Many Musical Discoveries readers have listened to the music of October Project. Their albums October Project and Falling Further In were two of the stand out alternative sound albums from the 1990s. As the decade came to a close, both of the band's singers--Mary Fahl and Marina Belica--departed leaving Emil Adler and Julie Flanders in search of a new singer. After months of auditioning and fund raising, November Project emerged with new singer MaryAnne Marino. The band toured the former October Project's circuit to build support, recorded an EP entitled A Thousand Days and also made a full album. The album, sadly, was never released.
MaryAnne Marino and some of the newest members of November Project split and gave rise to the MaryAnne Marino solo project while those from the original October Project joined up with Marina Belica, following the release of her December Girl EP, to reform October Project now featuring her on lead vocals with Julie Flanders backing. Mary Fahl also released a solo recording. MaryAnne was signed to Lava Records for her debut album Ghost Of You, that although completed, was also not formally released as a result of the label's consolidation into Atlantic Records. We met up with MaryAnne before her live performance at Felicia's Atomic Lounge in Ithaca, NY on March 19, 2006 (review) and the rest of her story is captured in our interview.
The last time Musical Discoveries editors saw MaryAnne Marino was at The Town Crier Café in Pawling, New York when she was with November Project. She was with November Project until 2000 and later got a deal with Lava Records. She was with Lava for about two and a half years, by the time she had signed, produced a record, and spent some time waiting around to see what happened. She was doing gigs and writing songs to fill the time. She said Lava then fell apart, and merged back with Atlantic Records. Many of the employees and artists connected with Lava were let go. She said that although it was a disappointment, it was the best thing that ever happened to her. She went on to say that it was great to have a huge record company behind her, and it was a great feeling. She said she got to do a record that cost a lot of money and there were amazing people involved. She said the record that she made is currently being worked on to be released. But, it is a long process.
The experience made MaryAnne have to step up and make something happen for herself and keep going. She is writing new songs and preparing another album as well as doing lots of gigs and meeting fans in that manner. MaryAnne felt she could create a career without a major label behind her and feels that many artists are learning that fact. She said that she has now had both experiences. She continued saying that she had some experience with November Project in this area, but they already had an established following and were at another level.
Ghost of You is under Peter Zizzo's production company and he is now looking for distribution. Right now, she is not focussing on finding another major label. She said that it would be wonderful to have a major, and it is a possibility, but she doesn't feel that the major will necessarily make her career. MaryAnne feels the internet is a great outlet for her music as well as iTunes. She said her music will get on iTunes within the next six months and that is something else she is working on.
MaryAnne came up with a clever idea to make her album available along with a merchandise purchase. Currently, she is unable to sell her record, and she wants to find ways to get her music out to the public. MaryAnne said she is working now on some new recordings that may turn into a record. She is planning on releasing an EP and is very excited about it. She hopes to release it by the beginning of summer. She plans to put seven songs on the EP, and if she can afford to do a few more then she'll push it and make an album. She continued saying that she's working on this goal and it is a costly enterprise. Her excitement about the EP is evident because she is happy to be the decision maker in the whole process which is something she had no control over when she was with a major label. She said it is real now.
MaryAnne lives in Manhattan and has been there for the past five years. She said her parents were originally from New York City and moved to Orange County, New York when she was nine years old. She headed back to her roots in the city. She went to SUNY Purchase and studied jazz voice.
She said that many artists are starting to recognize that you have to get out and make fans. She said you have to get out of the city and travel places to have your music heard. When she's in the city, she plays at places such as The Living Room, The Cutting Room and Rockwood Music Hall. She said that sometimes she has supporting band members with her like a bass player, and Jen Scaturro would be on keyboards and she does guitar. She said she's exploring different sounds and may use a drummer as well. She said it changes all the time.
Maryanne said she was happy with the way Ghost Of You turned out and that she saw her music as folk/pop and she thinks hew new material is similar, but her next release will be more organic and stripped down. She said that one grows as an artist and you try different things, but you may end up at the same place you started. She said that she is fortunate to do her music 'almost' full-time.
Her travels take her to different places, and it took her about five hours to trek up to Ithaca, New York to play at Felicia's Atomic Lounge. She said she does this sort of trip around once a month. She does a weekly gig in Morristown, New Jersey at the Café Arabica. Her next target is to hit the college communities and she's currently talking to a college agency to arrange some more shows. She said she's like to develop her website further but needs the resources to do so. MaryAnne feels that with her new release coming up, she'll try to revamp the site.
MaryAnne said that she'd love to have a career like Sarah McLachlan "where you don't have to see your face on every billboard to be known." She enjoys performing and interacting with her audience. She likes to be on the road, and seeing different places and faces. At the moment, she just performs in New York State. She did mention that in December, she went to Buenes Aires and performed there during her two week stay. She had a connection there, and did all sorts of interviews and she had a very warm reception in Argentina. She described Buenes Aires as a very vibrant community.
When listening to other music, MaryAnne said she doesn't have a favorite artist. She said she could listen to Leonard Cohen one day and the next to someone else. Her musical choices change all the time. She feels that meeting people, hearing other people's stories and her own experiences contribute to her writing inspirations. She said she doesn't always know where the inspiration comes from. When she was in Argentina, she incorporated some of those experiences into her writing. For relaxtion, MaryAnne likes to read, see movies, and take walks.
She concluded that she is excited about her new music that is coming and getting her music out to the public. She hopes that people will enjoy the music and spread the word.
MaryAnne Marino performed on Sunday, March 19, 2006 at Felicia's Atomic Lounge in Ithaca, New York. The intimate setting of the venue was an ideal canvas for MaryAnne's music. She appeared on a small stage with Jen Scaturro who plays bass, keyboards, guitar and bells in addition to singing backing vocals. After she was introduced, MaryAnne started off her set with "Life Less Ordinary" from her self-titled two-song EP. This mellow tune incorporated guitar, organ and bells and was warmly received by the crowd.
She's been working on some new material, and she presented "Let's Get Married." It was a fun and memorable tune that had a raw edge to it. Another new song, "All In Time," was next and MaryAnne's lush and sultry voice was highlighted with simple guitar accompaniment. She previously performed this song in the autumn at a benefit for Katrina victims. This song was followed by "Tell Me" with organ backing.
The melodious "Conversation" from her album, Ghost of You showcases MaryAnne's gentle and rich tones. Accordian riffs create a soft sillouette for her beautiful vocals and delicate guitar. The whimsical melody of "Dear Mom and Dad" is also from her album. She captures the listener with a catchy tune and her beautiful vocal runs. She played a cover called "Coming Back To You" by Leonard Cohen and put her own mark on the song. MaryAnne said that she really likes this tune and she played it with sensitivity.
She continued with another new song, "Out of Focus," and ended her first set with the title track from her new album, "Ghost of You." She sings with simple honesty and has a dynamic quality to her voice. MaryAnne doesn't forget to acknowledge her talented band-mate, Jen, and plugged her CD, I Am Jen.
After a short break, MaryAnne sat down in a chair to play Roy Orbison's "Crying." She showed her human side and part way through the song, she decided she wanted a "do-over," which she did. Her rendition of this famed country classic was sensitive and emotive. "Open Your Eyes" was next and her vocals soared. She's a talented storyteller with a marvelous set of pipes to match. She puts her heart into her music and plays her guitar with vibrant determination.
"It's Great" is a fun tune with catchy hooks and a toe-tapping melody. She certainly enjoys herself onstage and warmed up to the audience more and more throughout her performance. She played another new song, "Start Again," before closing out her set with "No One Like You."
It took a little time for her to relax and warm to the receptive audience. But, from start to finish, MaryAnne presented her wonderful songs with effortless vocals. Her acoustic guitar was expertly executed, bringing a fullness and warmth to her music. She has a richness of tone as well as a vibrancy and fresh honesty to her music. She possesses spirit with a unique style, combining ambrosial melodies and rock edginess with her smooth and sultry vocals. MaryAnne has a powerful voice that captures your attention and songs that endear the listener to her lovely gift. We anxiously await more from this talented artist.
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