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Meet Marissa Lauren Stieritz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Lauren Stieritz.

Marissa Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
How I got started depends how far we go back, haha! When I was small, my mom played a lot of the beach boys for me and my sister to dance around to while our dad was at work. That was definitely my first musical memory. It was so bright and fun and positive – I loved it. I still have a major love for the beach boys today. I didn’t start singing though until I got into musical theater. My twin sister was doing it, so I had to do it too.

I was pretty bad- I couldn’t sing, and I was super shy, but we kept doing these musicals together. Then eventually my voice didn’t suck, and I kept doing the musicals. Harmonies we’re my specialty and the musical directors loved me. I studied theater through college and thought that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was studying at UCI, and during my third year of school, I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy.

I was there for a year, and in that year I didn’t do any theater – I learned Italian, took art history, painted (my other love). None of it involved music, or theater, or dance but it made me realize all I missed was the music, and something about the beauty of traveling and being far from home made me feel like I had something to say.

I had never written a song, and I had no instruments with me in Italy, but I wrote my first song in my little Italian apartment. Acapella. It was really bad, but when I got home I jumped into writing and music and learning to play instruments I had never played before, and I never looked back.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have definitely been struggles. I feel like deciding to pursue music is never easy. For me, it was hard because I didn’t start writing or playing until later in life. So many people realize their passion at an early age and for me, that wasn’t the case. I’ve always been a late bloomer though, so it hasn’t stopped me from trying.

The first four years for me honestly just felt like I was playing catch up – learning what I wanted to say as an artist, and trying to make the music that was most authentic to me. Making the transition from musical theater performer to singer/songwriter wasn’t easy. It’s definitely an entirely different thing in my eyes! As a performer, you’re being directed in how to represent the character authentically, and as a singer/songwriter it’s about representing yourself authentically.

Figuring out your tone, and phrasing, and dynamic as a vocalist is so important- it’s what defines your voice as an artist. It’s something I still work on, probably always will. I’m definitely getting closer as a songwriter and vocalist, but on the production side, I still have a long way to go. Finding the sonic backdrops to bring it all to life is difficult for me, I rely on my producers a lot for that.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m a singer/songwriter. I write pop music with heavy indie pop and folk influences, plus a dash of soul. Think Ingrid Michaelson meets Adele. I would say I’m most known for my melancholy solo work at my live shows- I love writing (and arranging cover songs) that make you feel. I’m one of those happy/sad people, and I think we all need to feel and understand that duplicity of life. Melancholy music is my way of putting those two together- things can be heart wrenching and sweet and beautiful at the same time. I really rely on the simplicity of a single voice with a single instrument to do that (I move around between piano, ukulele, and guitar).

I also am known for my partnerships with charities. I try and do as many benefit shows as I can. I’ve spent a lot of my spring/summers working with the American cancer society and playing their relay for life events. This winter I will be putting on a benefit show at The Hotel Cafe for The Midnight Mission. The Midnight Mission is the oldest continuously operating human service organization in the Los Angeles region. Centered in the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles, The Midnight runs one of the most efficient direct service operations in the country.

The Midnight Mission offers paths to self-sufficiency to men, women, and children who have lost direction. Their emergency services and 12-step recovery, family living, job training, education, and workforce development programs offer a compassionate bridge to achieve and maintain healthy, productive lives. The benefit show will be December 1st, and all ticket proceeds will go directly to them.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Cue the beach boys. That is definitely my favorite memory from childhood. My mom would put the beach boys on in our living room and my twin sister, and I would do that thing all kids do where you spin around and around and around in circles and then drop to the floor and let the world spin for a bit. Then we’d get up and do it again. And again. Then we’d dance. Then we’d spin again. It was a great time.

Pricing:

  • December 1st Hotel Cafe Benefit Show – $10
  • ‘I Still Fall’ Single – all Digital platforms $1
  • ‘Now & Forever’ EP – all digital platforms $6

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ozzy Lira, Christophe Mcwhorter, Eamonn McCrystal

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Maria Stieritz

    December 12, 2018 at 21:36

    Awesome! I attended the Hotel Cafe Benefit. Great evening and beautiful music

  2. Uncle Bob Wilks

    December 23, 2018 at 05:42

    t Interview. As your Great Uncle on the other side of the country, I feel I now know you much better and can appreciate what you do. You make us proud.

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