Even though music has always been a significant part of my life, there was a brief period where believe it or not, I just did not want to sing! I had gotten caught up in the struggles of an artist with a 9-to-five job that simply took me further and further away from my passion of music. My love for music was never ending and really blossomed as I got a little older and discovered the theater and musicals. –
Listen to the Live Interview
Episode #366 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/09/27/episode-366-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW MARIAN MARIE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Music has always been in my blood since childhood.
My dad, Mose Ensley, is an amazing vocalist/keyboard player/band leader and my birth mother, Beatrice Ensley, was also an extremely beautiful and talented vocalist. Our family also includes the famed Montgomery Brothers. I got my start in music as a young toddler where I used to watch my parents rehearse for gigs in our play room with other musicians. I always wanted to grab the mic and sing; they tell me even before I could talk. My sisters and I would always put on performances in the living room where we’d always start the show by saying “Introducing…” (in a big ring-master-like voice) and just sing and dance our hearts out. Of course, I always thought I was the star of the show.
My love for music was never ending and really blossomed
as I got a little older and discovered the theater and musicals. I remember seeing the stage version of “The Wiz” with Dee Dee Bridgewater and thought that was the most amazing experience. Then I saw “Annie” in Los Angeles and thought “I want to do that”. I’ll never forget, one day during a Jr. High home economics class, that for some reason had no agenda that day, I did an impromptu performance of the entire soundtrack to Annie (because I carried it with me all the time). How nerdy was that! But I did it and loved it! I fell in love with classic musicals and artist like Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross; particularly after seeing “Funny Girl”, “A Star Is Born”, “Lady Sings The Blues” & “Mahogany”! I loved their voices and performances. This along with my parents taste in music helped me to appreciate many styles of music. Then, there was the hit TV Show FAME and I knew that’s all I wanted to do, sing, sing, sing!
At about the age of 12 I started performing with my dad’s band “Me & Friends”
all around the Los Angeles area at weddings, political functions, you name it, we did it. It was a great way to be introduced to how to be a professional musician. My dad was and is the best. The people that booked us loved him. I try to maintain that same level of professionalism that I learned from him. Not only did we always try to perform the best music, but he taught me how to just handle business. That’s very important to me, showing up on time for a gig and all that good stuff. I guess you can say the rest is history because I never stopped singing, well almost.
Produced Track: Abeid Green
Even though music has always been a significant part of my life,
there was a brief period where believe it or not, I just did not want to sing! I had gotten caught up in the struggles of an artist with a 9-to-five job that simply took me further and further away from my passion of music. I was almost angry with singing, if you can understand that. Something I wanted to do so badly just seems to leave me because I had somehow lost my drive and the creative energy to do it. Then, the biggest blessing came – I lost the job that took me away from my passion for over a year and in only a few hours later it hit me…you need to “sang”! It was as if this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t say I had all the answers in those few hours, but I did know it was time to sing again. It took a few months before the creative energies really started flowing, but once they did, it was like magic! Surprisingly, I had the title of the song “Now I’m Free” before I had anything else and then slowly but surely it all just seem to come together. I heard the track and began immediately with ideas and lyrics to start writing the song with on my writing partner.
The song is all about someone finding their way back to their God-given purpose
in life and once they find it and walk in it, they are FREE. That’s exactly how I feel…free. It doesn’t mean the journey is easy, but when God gives you a talent and a purpose, you must walk in it or some things just may not feel right.
Photo credits: Jeremy David & Kat Photos
One very cool side note about the recording of this song
was that I got the track from a super talented musician who happens to be the son of the drummer who played with my dad’s band back in the 60s, 70s & 80s. They remained friends until the drummer’s passing last year. So it definitely felt like a generational passing of the torch.
With the first single, “Now I’m Free”,
I tried to encapsulate the very reason why I sing, which is to inspire people to embrace that “it’s never too late to walk in your God-given purpose”. This mid-tempo, empowering and motivational anthem was written to encourage, motivate and inspire. What I expect to be the follow-up single, is a big vocal, ballad, “I Found My Way Back”, which describes my personal journey back to my purpose and passion. It’s emotional and poignant. The track not only talks about my purpose but shares more of my personal journey and some of the difficulty and pain getting back on track. I have yet to perform this song live and I am a little nervous to do so because of how deeply personal and emotional it is to me. This track really showed me how vulnerable it can be to write you own story in song. I have so much more respect for artists who have been telling their truths for decades! My first CD “Simply Me” was all about taking someone through the various stages of Love. My sophomore CD (I’m still working to complete it) seems to be going the direction of purpose, self-discovery and simply inspiring people through their various journeys through life.
I live in Los Angeles California..
The music scene in Los Angeles is the best, to me, in the summer.
Summer nights at The Hollywood Bowl or The Greek Theater are amazing. I love to attend as many jazz festivals as possible. I got the opportunity to perform a set on the Indie Stage of the Long Beach Jazz Festival which was pretty incredible. I would say more intimate spots to check out would be the Catalina Bar & Grill, The Mint, World Stage, Pips on LaBrea, all locations where I’ve had the opportunity to perform.
I’m a little torn in terms of my feelings about the music business.
As someone who worked behind the scenes at a music publication in the 90s & 2000s, I think the music scene was still thriving. Even though the digital age was shortly coming upon us, there were still amazing artist being discovered and promoted on a national level. I worked at a magazine that saw the introduction of Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, India Arie, Anthony Hamilton, Eryka Badu and so many other artist that were a part of the Neo-Soul Movement. I feel like the “music business” is really only about a hand full of artist today.
However, I’m so excited about the independent scene
and all the opportunities for artist to take their music and their career into their own hands. You can completely control what type of music you put out. Yes, it’s very difficult but you do not hear the traditional lines that you would here if you’re approaching a label like, “you’re too old”, “you’re not sexy enough”, “your lyrics aren’t edgy enough (usually meaning needing a curse word or two), “you need to sound like…” and the list goes on. When you go Indie you can be exactly who you are!
The Pros, I believe, out-weigh the cons, but there are definitely cons.
The Pros have simply been that the current music business allows me to pursue my dream at my own costs. There are so many avenues out there to release your music, promote your music and sell your music. The business is still very difficult, but again, it’s on my own terms. I’ve also learned to trust my instincts about my music. That isn’t to say I don’t listen to other people’s input, but because it’s my product, I have the final say. I’m not necessarily anti-label, but I’m just not sure where I fit in today’s label world.
The Cons of the business, particularly in Los Angeles,
is it’s very difficult to get good, live gigs. You would think a major city like Los Angeles would be thriving for a musician to make a living performing, but it’s very difficult. There are a few locations, but there are a ton of artists. I find that I have to start making my own gigs in many cases.
I turn struggles into triumphs a few ways.
One main way is by praying. I truly believe this is what God called me to do, so I’m expecting He will see me through. I’ve been blessed to not really have “haters” in my life and have always had an amazing group of family and friends that have always supported me. They keep me lifted up and encouraged to keep on keeping on.
When I launched my first CD
I wasn’t sure how and where I was going to have my album release party and performance. I prayed really hard on that one. I love visualizing a performance and then making it happen. My 1st album release was at a famous venue in Los Angeles called The El Rey Theater. I had never been to the venue before, but when I started looking for a venue I had a dream and saw this incredible chandelier. Lo and behold, I stumbled across the El Rey Theater that had THE most amazing chandelier. On paper, I should not have been able to have my album release at this location, a venue where many famous artist and bands have performed, but somehow, it worked out and it’s a night I will never forget.
Wow! this is such a hard question because there are so many people that inspire me.
I think I would says Quincy Jones, because he has worked with ALL of the best artist across genres. He has been in the game for so long and has influenced the music industry. I can only imagine time with him in the studio. If I can cheat, I’d also love to spend 5 minutes with David Foster, Diane Warren and Babyface, who have written some of my favorite ballads. The collaboration between Babyface and Toni Braxton’s first CD was incredible! There are a few other people I could name, but don’t want to be a full-on cheater. Maybe Barbra Streisand, Prince, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. Ok, ok, that’s it!
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