I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve worked with quite a few local artists and bands over the last few years and this is a lady I have a long standing professional relationship with, and she is also a great friend.

So I’m sat with the wonderful Marie Marx, a singer/songwriter based in Teesside, fresh from the release of her second album of original self-penned material, called ‘Universe’. 

Hi Marie, for people who don’t know you and your talents, tell us a bit about you and your musical background and journey to this point.

“I started my musical journey 6 and half years ago. I was going through some pretty hard times health wise and I just leapt to a pen and paper and started writing.

The first song I ever wrote was a song dedicated to my children called “I Won’t Let You Fall” and a close friend at the time told me I had a talent. I could barely play the guitar at the time but we contacted a local recording studio (Mirage Studios) and with John’s guidance I started to create an album without knowing if I could even play live!

I found a very supportive open mic and folk scene and started to build my confidence and then started getting bookings for support slots and then onto my own gigs… it’s hard though doing what I do as I don’t play covers, I’m an original artist but people were loving what I was doing which made it so much easier.

Fast track to today and I’ve got a gorgeous, supportive following. I’ve got a debut album (This Is The Thing) under my belt, a debut tour and just I’ve just been given a record deal with Mirage Music in which we have just released the album “Universe””

This second album of ten original songs is called ‘Universe’ how did you come up with that title?

“Universe” is a song that I usually open up with at a gig. The lyrics are very thought provoking, kind of telling people to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams, as there’s much more to life than meets the eye. It seemed apt to call the album this as this is a lovely message to convey and the majority of the tracks on the album have this kind of feel too.”

You are a very prolific songwriter, how difficult was it to choose the ten tracks on this album?  How did you decide which to include and which to leave out?

“I didn’t set out to choose what tracks would make the album, we just went with the flow of the album as we were building it. It’s good to think about a good mix of upbeat and slower songs and I think we’ve really achieved a great balance.”

I don’t want to pigeonhole you into a particular genre, so can you give potential listeners a feel for your music and for ‘Universe’ as an album? 

“If I was to sit myself into a category, it would be Singer/songwriter. My songs are quite diverse and I write within many genres across the board. Universe is full of soulful tunes, written from the heart. There’s probably a gypsy soul theme throughout but there are also some really upbeat songs too… I think it will appeal to anyone who appreciates new music.”

Your first album was released a couple of years ago now and was called ‘This is the Thing….’, was there anything you took from putting that first album together into the process for writing and recording ‘Universe’?

“Yes, the way we chose which tracks to put on. For me it has to be more of a feeling than choosing before hand. I would always prepare 2 or 3 songs for the day of the studio and we’d just go with the flow.”

You worked with Marske based Mirage Studios John P Taylor exclusively on ‘Universe’.  Why did you choose John, what was the recording and production process?

“Actually, this time, John chose me. He offered me an album deal under his new record label “Mirage Music” and having worked with John in the past, I couldn’t think of anyone better to support what I do. He has a keen interest in fledgling songwriters.

My own part of the production process differs. Usually, after the song decision has been made, we would lay down a pilot guitar track and a pilot vocal and then build the instrumentation from there. John is a multi-instrumentalist so he does most of the music himself. After we are happy with the track, I usually lay down my guitar and lead vocal. It doesn’t stop there though, after this we have the tracks to listen to for a while and then make any adjustments we feel is necessary. Then John has the task of mixing and mastering.”

I absolutely love the way the album starts off with the title track ‘Universe’, but it’s an unusual and brave step to start a track and an album with the first couple of lines being delivered acapella.  It really works for me, what was your thinking with that?

This choice was a no brainer for me. It’s the song I start most of my gigs with. It captures an audiences attention. So when you put on the album, it’s like being at one of my gigs with me. I don’t see it as unusual or brave but now you mention it, not many albums start like this. I suppose if you know me, I like to be different…

A couple of my other fave tracks on the album are ‘Crown of Thorns’ and ‘Nowhere Near’, can you tell us a little about the story of those tracks both musically and lyrically please?

I don’t really explain the stories behind my songs, I write from emotions I’ve felt, situations I’ve witnessed, other people’s perspectives and much more, anything that gives me inspiration really. I like the listener to hook into the lyrics and let them feel what it means for them.

You worked with Ian Allcock at EnA Photography and Lauren Duncan from LD Design for the artwork for ‘Universe’.  Have you worked with Ian and Lauren previously?  Why did you choose EnA Photography and LD Design?

I’ve worked with Ian Allcock before, a number of times. He took the photos for my debut album “This Is The Thing” and I’ve done numerous photo shoots with him since. Ian is just so easy to work with and he captures a personality, not just a person. Lauren I haven’t worked with before but her creativity shines through everything she touches. The concepts for the whole of the artwork were her suggestions. She knows my music well and she has managed to capture the feel of the album throughout.

It’s often a difficult process progressing from an initial artwork idea to a finished product, how did that process happen for ‘Universe’?

“I wanted something that captured me and my music. Working with Ian and Lauren, it wasn’t that difficult at all. I had ideas but it was Ian and Lauren that chose locations and concepts really. We chatted about various ideas and where to shoot the pictures but again, it was a feeling as we went along and I feel this is the best way to approach any project. The end result is absolutely perfect, in fact it couldn’t have represented me any better, the moody silhouettes and the bright vibrant colours is everything the album portrays.

So, what does the immediate and mid-term future hold for Marie Marx, will we see a tour, do you have album three in your head, any special plans people should look out for?

I always have another album in my head… I have quite a few, I’d love to do another and I suppose, like everything it’s just wait and see.

I’m not sure at present, with the current restrictions etc, I’m just waiting to see how things play out but I’m at least hoping to be back out gigging my own shows in 2022, maybe a tour, who knows! 😉

But for now, just keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates! xx

…..And here’s the link to the album….. Go see!

Marie Marx – Universe CD – Mirage Music (miragestudios.co.uk)

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