Come Home is available at:
5th September, 2014
Pop; Folk; Alternative
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
THIS weekend shows a distinct sense of contrast…
for many different reasons. My ’subject’ today is an hungry artist: someone whom works tirelessly- around Berkshire and Surrey- to seduce ears (and hearts) – she is someone who is a name to watch. Tomorrow, I look at a Danish ‘girl band’ (they are a Rock act with a lot more credibility than your average manufactured Pop act): currently supporting Royal Blood as they tour Scandinavia- an act that surely have a glistening future. One of the great things about reviewing- apart from the chance to focus on something singular and personal- is the range of people/musicians I happen upon (from all around the world). At the moment, my inbox is awash with requests: acts from about the globe are keen to be assessed. Aside from the (mass of emails coming from) Hamilton, Ontario- not sure why Ontario likes me so much- I have been very fortunate (to ‘see’ such sights and nations). Having covered four continents; traversed the length (and breadth of the U.K.)- assessed U.S., Australian, European and local talent- it is great to see what is out there. As much as I adore international music- especially that emanating from North America- it is humbling to witness some (great local) sounds: those tangible up-comers (you can pop down the road and see play live). Marisa Rodriguez is someone I am familiar with: well-versed with regards her stunning music; having met her, I know how hard she works- and how passionate she is about music. Few (other singers) have such a yearning and unwavering determination: that insatiable desire to succeed and inspire- this comes through in her varied (and striking) music. In addition to being an incredible songwriter- and one of the most mature and intelligent lyricists from the modern set- I adore her voice: that heartbreaking (and multifarious) peacock that opens its plumage (upon will) – delighting with every flick and sweep. Before I continue, let me introduce Rodriguez to you (in her own words):
“I knew I wanted to sing forever! 🙂 However cliché it may sound, I did sing into a little plastic microphone to my parents DAILY in the living room! I have pictures somewhere.. but I think I will refrain from letting those loose on the web! xD
Throughout school I had a tough time, and I moved around a lot because of family things.
By the time I’d finished my GCSE’s, my passion for music had began to spiral out of control. Although I had always written poetry, I had started writing songs and performing towards the end of GCSE and it was all I wanted to do/could concentrate on when I was doing my first year of A Levels.
I got to the end of my first year of 6th form and decided I couldn’t stand it anymore! I just wanted to get better at music in general, as I’d not had any lessons up until then; I was self taught in singing, guitar & songwriting and all I wanted was to learn more about it all!
That is when I found the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM).
Money has been a struggle the last few years whilst I’ve been there, but it’s definitely been worth it. I’ve met some amazing people/musicians, learnt a lot about the industry and have got to do what I love the most whilst also gaining a degree! 🙂
I’m on my last year now! There’s still a lot I need to figure out, but I’ve realised that you just have to go with it, as I seem to learn something new everyday!
I’m also always trying to improve my music/write new songs, not only for myself but as collaboration projects with other producers/artists.
I hope this wasn’t too long winded and gives you an insight into the life of Marisa. 🙂
Hope you like the music.”
In a market crammed with solo artists- ranging from the immense to the downright ear-offending- Rodriguez is making her way (and growing in confidence). Before I investigate Rodriguez further- and look back at her chest of previous work- it is worth noting this: 2015 will be a busy and prosperous one (for Rodriguez). I know- from following her on Facebook- she holds some anxieties (with regards her music development and ambitions); questions her motives and ideals- her resilience is something to be admired. Having overcome a lot of troubles- and worked harder than any other musician I know- she is on the cusp of something special: an E.P. is mooted (for later in the year); she is performing regularly (and entrancing intimate crowds). Having amassed an impressive array of tracks (originals and cover versions) she has plenty of options- with regards compiling an E.P. (or album, perhaps). Finance is always an issue- when an artist comes to getting an E.P. together- although Kickstarter will be kind: she will hit any ‘target’ she puts out there (and raise the necessary funds). I hope that is in her mind, as (Rodriguez) has shown what an agile and alluring songwriter she is- someone endlessly inspired; always scribbling lyrics and new ideas. Modern music suffers from incongruity: plenty of new artists coming through; few resonate (long) in the imagination- the dispirited and uneconomical returns are quite worrying. With a lot of people (of my generation at least) looking back at past music- whilst embracing the few wonderful new acts- we are in need of ensuring artists: songwriters with a mobility and sense of longevity; those who are not (going to show themselves to be) a transitory grace. Rodriguez has enough moxy and focus: tied around her silky and powerful voice.
With regards assessing (Marisa Rodriguez in her current form) it is worth looking back: to see how far she has come/developed as an artist. Once Bitten, Twice Shy arrived 3 years ago: it is a strong and impassioned number- showcasing Rodriguez’s strong (and distinct voice). With a simple and catchy acoustic flair, the melody (and sound) sticks in the mind. Talking about (leaving things behind; battling regrets and doubts) the song has a modern and current sound- with lyrics designed to inspire and motivate. Although- as the song attests- she has faced some hardships; there is redemption and strength- Rodriguez talks of (letting someone down) and finding new meaning. With powerful crescendos (and a compelling performance) is a terrific early number- with a fine set of lyrics to boot. One of Rodriguez’s earlier (original tracks) she negates the pitfalls of her peers- too much woe and introspection; not enough range and positivity. Once Bitten’ shows plenty of firepower and beauty; ample confidence and naturalness- Rodriguez is gripping and compelling throughout. Dust- written around the same sort of time (as Once Bitten’) is subtler (and more serene). With shades of Kate Bush and Eva Cassidy- in the softer moments- there is breathiness and sexuality; evocativeness and grit: the young singer runs a gauntlet of emotions. With hints of Lucy Rose (and Mazy Star) it is a touching and scintillating number- that shows a very unique personality (and voice). Developing her voice (and songbook) Tails or Heads– one of her most recent original works- has passion and bounce: Rodriguez looks at dislocated love and fractured relations. With an introduction- that shows (rather unexpectedly) shades of Nirvana- there is plenty of oomph and bounce. Suggestions of Paramore and Kelly Clarkson (during the most uplifted vocal moments), the track is a potent and energised beauty. The lyrics look at harder times- where demands were made of her; sour times being dealt with- yet Rodriguez shows resilience and strength- her heart and soul will not be dampened and scarred. Boasting a fine melody and chorus- that puts me in mind of Alanis Morissette’s You Outta Know– it is a wonderful track (that shows how much Rodriguez has developed as a songwriter). Both extemporaneous and perfectionist, Rodriguez blends acoustic kick and vigour; ties it to someone inspirational and thought-provoking lyrics- wrapped around vocals which are at once caramel and chocolate; stirring and knee-dropping the next. Over the course of a couple of years, Rodriguez has expanded her voice; sharpened her songwriting- galvanised and augmented her early promise. Having tackled cover versions- from the likes of London Grammar, Kate Bush and Sia- the vocal work (on Heads or Tails) sounds stronger and more gripping; the songwriting is more confident and quotable- the overall effect is mesmeric. Having grown as an artist, the arrival of Come Home– at the latter stages of last year- was met with huge anticipation and expectation.
The aforementioned tracks with swan-like glide and delicacy: a yearning and aching piano parable (filled with crystalline beauty). Putting me in mind of Parachutes-era Coldplay (and its finer romantic numbers) Rodriguez shows some nimble fingers; some exceptional playing- ensuring she leads the listener in. Building off of (some wordless vocals), there is little time to reflect: the song’s messages and meanings get underway quickly. Whereas Rodriguez’s previous numbers (with the exception of a few) are acoustic-led; Come Home relies on (in the early stages) piano: giving the number a classic edge; romantic seduction and serenity. When our heroine steps to the microphone, her thoughts turn to a sweetheart- someone who “left so easily.” Looking for answers and guidance (Rodriguez) is looking around- wondering how things went wrong. Whether some blame (should go her way) – a rare thing for a songwriter to not go for the jugular of their subject- there is some humility and openness: no bitterness and finger-pointing. Rodriguez keeps her voice low and smoky: it not only adds weight to the lyrics; it gives the mood a sense of shadow and introspection. When listening to the song, you get some clear imagery: our heroine listening to (a special song for the couple) and thinking back- reflecting on fonder times. As the song develops, your thoughts mutate- and the title becomes more relevant- leading away from break-up (and towards something more romantic). Not wanting to banish her man, there is that abiding feel of longing: that need for a rekindling; reignite a deep and meaningful bond. Delivering (the song’s title) with elongated power, the song climbs and builds: the tingles come readily; it becomes more powerful and stirring. Letting the composition act as a guide, Rodriguez puts her voice at the forefront: it ranges from incredible soulfulness to full-bloodied lust. Modern singers like Hannah Reid and Florence Welch (are synonymous with their range and potency), yet neither boasts Rodriguez’s spectrum: she has a distinct sound yet seems effortlessly capable of molding her voice to fit her lyrics. Early on, there is looking-back: the vocal is tremulous and quivering; bold and alive. Towards the mid-point, the track settles back down (for the chorus) where our heroine focuses her ambition: the return of her beau. Each new delivery (of the words ‘come home’) shows new shades: alluring sexuality; sensitive regard; emotional vulnerability; incredible panache. Towards the 2:30 mark, Rodriguez is at her peak: her voice is enflamed and ecstatic; a maze of emotion and passion. Desperate for redemption and resolution, you are gripped by the conviction- how much the words mean (to the heroine). Few other singers have such an incredible set of lungs: not only is the vocal powerful; it is steeped with nuance and colour. Just as you get caught (in a wave of heartache), the final moments arrive: allowing Rodriguez a chance to refrain. Her voice here- during the close- is soft and pin-sharp. With sensual reflectiveness, Come Home comes to land: the listener is left wondering how the story ends. Whether (our heroine) found satisfaction- or was left to sleep with a heavy heart- we do not know. What is clear is the effect the song has: it is a number you are compelled to reinvestigate and study; it is hard to ignore its prowess and power. Heartache and anxiety inspires some great musical moments: how they are translated can be hit-and-miss. Over the last few months, artists like James Bay have left me cold- in fact, a lot of the new crop sound tired and bland; robotic and inane. Rodriguez- like her comrades in the underground- shows much more vitality and personality. Inspired by the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Coldplay, it is unfair (to compare her) to anyone: Rodriguez is an original and unique artist. Packed with romance, emotion and shiver, Come Home is a terrific creation: a song that has resonated with many people (and inspired our heroine to keep writing). Whether an E.P. will arrive by summer (or come later in the year) Come Home must surely feature- it is one of Rodriguez’s finest creations. From her earlier days, the young artist is still learning: gaining fresh insight and inspiration. Having seen some of (her most recent) lyrics, there is plenty of diversity: Rodriguez herself is not just concerned with heartache; her poetic gifts touch on many different arenas. A multicoloured and mobile writer, Rodriguez (and any future release) will be met with fervent excitement- I cannot wait to hear it! Taking all this into mind, it is hard to ignore her main virtue: that wondrous voice. Heartbreaking and seductive; exquisite and bejeweled, it is hard to shake it (and why would you?!). It not only makes Come Home such a (stunning number) – it sets her apart from her contemporaries (and is one of the most stunning voices I have ever heard).
With today (proving to be somewhat lugubrious) from a meteorological standpoint, it is worth seeking comfort (in the security and warm embrace) music offers- sounds that can put a smile to the lips. There are some merit-worthy acts coming through- from all around the world; catering to all tastes- although the ‘buzz’ (being projected by the music media) is around the old guard. With Blur announced (for the Isle of Wight Festival; The Magic Whip is imminent); The Libertines coming back strong- and Laura Marling having crafted another sublime L.P.- it is time to get fresh blood trending. Marisa Rodriguez has a voice that is endlessly adaptable: look at her list of cover versions; she not only transforms (every song she tackles) she seems completely natural and dominant (like she was singing one of her own creations). It is when she puts pen to paper; you start to see something quite unique: one of these new acts capable (of rubbing shoulders with the finest singer-songwriters around the world). There is still a hegemony and clamber for bands (and the band market): festivals pretty much revolve around them it seems. The solo artist has a harder life: taking it on alone, their existence is a lot harder and more exhausting. Getting acclaim (with so many others acts coming through) is a hard and inscrutable mistress: many quit and burn-out (galled by the endless pressure they face). I know Rodriguez has had some ‘moments’- where the balance of work, music and ‘life’ has caused her mind to doubt- yet I know how tirelessly she works: someone who is never going to give up (on her goals). Come Home is a track that resonates with me- having first heard it upon its release- and a hint to the future: what her (possible) E.P. could contain; what themes/ideas will be explored. Having penned a few other originals- and taking on a series of covers- over the last few months, Rodriguez is in fine voice: ideas are percolating and forming (almost by the week). With song ideas, fragments (of lyrics and tracks) being teased- it will not be long before a fully-fledged release is unveiled. That day will be an important one: a chance for the rest of the world to hear (what Rodriguez) is all about- and assess her songwriting prowess to the full. When she does drop an E.P., she will face an ‘interesting’ choice: will (the E.P.) contain all originals; or will a cover version be in there? Rodriguez has an incredible songwriter talent; she is deftly able to make existing songs sound fresh and new. I am sure she will not want to think TOO far ahead: as we speak, the young talent is looking ahead (to future performances). Regularly hosting ‘open mic.’ nights- and encouraging the folk of Berkshire to come hear (some great local talent) – she is building a name for herself. It would be great to see an official website- a central point with everything Marisa Rodriguez on it- to attract fans and followers (and give record labels and venues a chance to see her full portfolio). In addition, Rodriguez has a great Twitter opportunity: regular updates and ‘checking in’ could see her numbers rise- I know many international venues/acts/followers keen to stay close to her electronic tongue. With her Facebook numbers increasing- and sparks of inspiration occurring frequently- this year will be a great one (for her). Come Home is a testament of what she is about: an artist who channels personal dislocation (and sadness) into something ethereal and beautiful- topped off by her inimitable and spine-straightening voice. If you are looking to escape the rain- or tired by the predictable plod of pedestrian new music- then you should do yourself a favour: investigate an artist with a unique voice; someone who will be producing music (many years) from now. A gorgeous and stunning talent- with an altruistic approach to her fellow musicians- there is ample to entice the eye: I predict some special times ahead. With regards (a future E.P./tour) the heroine is keeping level-headed: making sure she is fully ready (before putting anything out there). With a new manager on board, Rodriguez is gaining momentum: it cannot be long before (high profile) London venues coming a-knocking. Her sound is that which is easily exportable: I know (similar-sounding) artists performing across L.A. and California- whether that is something Rodriguez wants to consider, I am not sue. The bottom line is (is that) she is a songwriter who has options and choices: if she remains focused and infused; she will get her due rewards. Marisa Rodriguez is an artist on the rise: make sure you check out her wonderful music. With the champions of the mainstream (stealing all the limelight) – and new music having to curtsey with demure regard- listen to an artist (with a gilded future looming); someone who resonates in the mind…
AND provides something genuinely inspiring
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