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I officially learned about singer/songwriter, Marley Quinn, through my little brother. He called me up one night and said, ” I just went and saw this really cool band called Lily and Marley. You’ve got to check them out! They’re really good!” Oddly enough, I had already seen Marley perform with Aha! ( not knowing at the time who she was). I remember The first time I saw her sing she lit up the stage and made the room go absolutely quiet. She has a unique pull in her voice that invites you in and holds you right there with her. Her voice is beautifully raw – it’s striking. Girls Rock SB! couldn’t be happier to have Marley kicking off our Girls Rock Web Series. Hope you enjoy!
Girls Rock: How old were you when you first started playing music?
Marley Quinn: Third grade was when I learned how to play an instrument for the first time, but I have been singing (by myself, in the shower, to my cats) for as long as I can remember.
GR: Which instruments do you play?
MQ: Violin, guitar, and a little piano.
GR: Is your family musical?
MQ: Yes, my dad is ridiculously good at piano, he can hear something once and then literally play it without music or anything, just by ear, and my mom sings and plays guitar.
GR: Do you remember the first music you really connected with?
MQ: Motown. I remember hearing it and being like “Oh my God that is the most amazing thing I have ever heard.” Soon after that I started taking swing dancing lessons because I literally couldn’t get enough of the music.
GR: Where would you most like to perform?
MQ: The Santa Barbara Bowl. I went and saw Katy Perry there once and she was talking about growing up here and I was like, “damn, that would be awesome to perform at a big venue where you know that everyone you grew up with and went to school with are probably in the audience watching you.”
GR: Who would you most like to open for?
MQ: That is a hard question. I really don’t know the answer yet.
GR: People are always comparing musicians to other musician’s, is there someone who people are always comparing you to?
MQ: Not that I’m aware of. Someone once called me a young Joni Mitchell and that I think was the greatest compliment I have ever gotten. Ever.
GR: If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
MQ: Hard core rap!
GR: Do you enjoy writing music and/or lyrics?
MQ: Yes! I love doing both!
GR: What hidden talents do you have?
MQ: I can do the splits…and sing like a chipmunk.
GR: Besides music, what else do you enjoy?
MQ: Eating extra large pizzas by myself just because I can, and on the total opposite end of the spectrum, ridding my bike. I used to have a fixture and I would ride it around town with my friends, until it broke. That was a sad day.
GR: What do you do to clear your head before a performance?
MQ: Normally, I don’t get nervous before a show, but if I do I’ll curl up in my bed for half an hour.
GR: What songs are on repeat on your ipod right now?
MQ: Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield, Strings by Young the Giant, Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Pack Up by Eliza Doolittle, and Modern Nature by Sondre Lerche
GR:Where do you find inspiration?
MQ: I know this is going to sound totally cliche but I mostly get it from previous pain. Also, I’ll have dreams of songs and wake up and have to write them down immediately or else I’ll forget them. I always have a notebook next to my bed. It used to drive my roommate nuts.
GR: What musical influences did you grow up with?
MQ: When I was little and in the car with my mom, we would listen to stuff like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Tracy Chapmen, and when I was with my dad we would listen to the Beattles, CCR, the Doobie Brothers, Led Zepplin…all of that rock and roll stuff thats totally awesome.
GR: What has been the biggest challenge for you as a musician?
MQ: I’m not really sure…I don’t find anything too challenging about it. When I’ve been doing this for a while, I’ll probably have a good answer.
GR: How do you feel about an ever growing expectation people have that music should be free?
MQ: I feel that if people believe that music should be free, then food, clothing and cat food should be free as well.
GR: What would you say to a young girl just starting out as a musician?
MQ: I would tell her to never let anyone tell you how you should be onstage, or off stage, or how you should write your music, or what you should write about (unless your asking). When people come into your life and decide they want to manage you and your music and you don’t like where its all going you’ve gotta know how to say, “hey dude back off” and probably say it more than once. Also, always wear deodorant when performing and never drink too much water before going on stage.
GR: What can we expect from you in the future?
MQ: More of what I’m doing now! After I graduate this year I’m going to go to SBCC and take music theory classes and a pro-tools class so I can learn how to record and produce my own music. I want to be independent in the future and not have to rely on anyone else but myself for what I need to get ahead in my career.
GR: Is there any upcoming show where we can see you perform?
MQ: Not that I know of right now..I have to book some more soon. I have actually started a new band, Reckless Summer. We have played one show at Soho which was totally awesome. We had so much fun. I’m still doing my own thing as well.
GR: Where can we listen to your music and get in touch with you?
MQ: On YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (yes I do tweet the occasional tweet).