You mentioned that you found your voice as you found yourself. Could you elaborate more on the journey of discovering and developing your unique singing style over the years?
Marsha: Unlike any other instrument, Singing is an art form that is directly connected to the heart. As a singer, your unique sound vibrations come through you by way of your emotional state as you are performing, along with the inherent sound of your physicality. Unlike any other instrument that is built with a certain sound inherent within it -created with a type of wood, strings, a guitar, piano, bass, etc. The voice is strictly connected to the heart of the singer and the particular physical and emotional make-up of the person singing.
The emotional tone of each singer is as unique as a fingerprint. What you experience in your life comes through you if you are dedicated to the authenticity and truth of your engagement. I start out with my natural “sound” and as I learn more about myself and how I feel about a certain aspect in my life that is reflected in a lyric, my “sound” will embody all the levels of my feelings about it at each stage of my life. As I grow older, and experience more of life, it transcends my vocal expression. And as I become truer to myself – so does my voice. My voice has changed over the years because my life has changed. It is still me, but like fine wine – it has aged well, it is richer, and deeper in scope.
You co-wrote songs with your first husband. How did your collaborative process evolve over time, and how did your personal connection influence your songwriting dynamic?
M: My ex-husband did most of the writing, but when we collaborated, he and I would generally start with a melody he came up with and we would both write what we “heard” in terms of a theme or lyric idea. We would then play off each other’s ideas until we came up with the song.
Unfortunately, our collaborations “evolved” as we, as a couple evolved – and that was that it didn’t work out. You mentioned your love for interpreting lyrics. Are there specific artists or songwriters who have significantly influenced your approach to interpreting and performing songs?
M: Billie Holiday definitely influenced me – I could hear so many levels of her emotions throughout a song – the depth of her pain, her longing, anger, resolve – and within those different emotions her love of singing came through with the signature lilt she had in her voice. A song is not a one-note emotion – there are generally several emotions played out with an “arc” – you may start out with one emotion – and go through many during different verses or bridge/chorus. And you could really identify with the different levels in Billie’s work. Early Nancy Wilson also inspired me. And Tony Bennett…And Aretha…And Nina Simone….so many. All “truth tellers.” You mentioned starting with analog tape and now working with digital technology. Can you share more about the challenges and benefits of working with both analog and digital recording methods?
M: I actually loved working with analog tape -the challenge, of course, was the lengthy time it took to edit – the pile of tape on the floor as you selected takes you wanted.
But there was something very elegant, and smooth about the sound. When digital came out is seemed “sharper” little ‘dots” of sound – not as smooth sounding at all.
However, today digital has come so far – it really feels very, very, close to the analog sound. And the editing process is so much easier!
With the changing landscape of the music industry, how important is it for artists to preserve their musical identity while adapting to new trends and technologies?
M: It has always been important to preserve your musical identity and of course continues to be important. While some artists have embraced holographic performances, you mentioned you're not ready for that yet. Could you elaborate on your feelings about this technology and how it might impact the live music experience?
M: Like any new technology – It may appear at first to be a fabulous idea – but, it kind of gives me the creeps. It’s already hard enough as a live performer – but using AI performances into the mix it will be even harder for live performers. It’s one of those..”Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” It’s a slippery slope.
You discussed the trend of veteran musicians selling their song catalogues. If you were to sell your catalogue, how would you ensure that your artistic legacy and intentions are maintained? M: Hire a great lawyer. TikTok has become a powerful platform for music promotion and discovery. How do you see platforms like TikTok influencing the way music is created, shared, and experienced in the future?
M: Clearly more artists are being discovered on TikTok who wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity and I think that is a good thing. With the upcoming launch of TikTok Radio on SiriusXM, how do you think this collaboration might affect emerging artists' exposure and the overall music industry landscape? M: I’m all for getting your work out there. What does concern me are the payment channels through streaming. I don’t know how a musician can monetize their work and make a decent living if you are not a chart-topper – and even then, the monies through streaming are apparently dismal for the artists.
Is there a message you'd like to convey to your fans, fellow musicians, or the industry as a whole, as you reflect on your journey and the current state of music?
M: More than ever, I believe anyone coming into this business needs to understand the value of being true to who you are – truthful in your lyrics and authentic in all aspects of writing and performing. Dare to do the inner work needed to give you breadth and self-awareness. It will set you apart. People are drawn to the truth. We need you.
Music is the healing art and it is through all upcoming artists that we, the audience will be healed, and have a better understanding of what it means to be human. I hope I will hear music that offers hope. That helps us to remember who we are and what we already know – that love is everything.
I would also suggest that anyone interested in this field seriously consider this as a business. Learn as much as you can about how this business works. Find people you can trust to create a team that works. Know your value.