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Meet Marlee Quirarte

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marlee Quirarte.

Marlee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My roots are in Kansas City, Missouri. (Home of the Blues and Jazz). I was heavily influenced by blues from my father growing up, and various genres of music from my two older sisters. I studied performance in college, however most of my life I have been self-taught. My fondest memories as a little girl consist of me dragging my mom to buy a CD of my favorite artist at the time to play on my boom box. I entertained myself incredibly well young, I would spend hours in my room dancing and singing, dressing up in costume – my room was my stage and my imagination hasn’t really changed a bit. I write and am most influenced by rhythm and blues- most of my inspiration comes from artists ranging from Boney James, LTD, Jeffrey Osborne, Prince, Sade, Aaliyah, and the list goes on.

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?
Nothing close to smooth… I always say in the last four years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I have lived more life than I had the 22 years before relocating. Lol, I’m an unsigned artist, and let’s face it the industry isn’t anywhere near what it used to be as far as dynamics go. It isn’t as likely to perform at a well-known venue and some big time talent scout or artist is picking you up and taking you to the next level. I have no management / or label representing me and it’s basically like pulling teeth to find it! So I gather my own musicians for live sets, I hold a lot of my own creative direction visually (with help from some amazing videographers), I write and co-write my own lyrics and melodies, I keep myself sane and I am my biggest fan. I think I need to say this because so many incredibly talented artists are doing it all, and not giving themselves enough credit whilst losing out on faith in their craft. Aside from music tribulation, I’ve taken some major personal losses in the last few years- I’ve lost my dad, my grandmother and I’ve experienced my first heartbreak in LA. However, the irony of it all is that I put together two EP’s or original music and a single through the tribulation. The music got me through it and I believe it will continue to, and I hope people are inspired through the process.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am my own manager, booking agent, writer/ co-writer, creative visuals artist, idea-maker. Being your own artist is truly like being an inventor- creating your own sound without anyone who has years of experience with thousands of successful, mainstream artists backing it up saying “yeah that’s gunna hit,” it’s a crapshoot! But the beauty in it – that I believe sets my work/ appeal apart, I end up making something very tailored to my personal walk through life, it’s very authentic. The sound tells my unique story of losing my dad, of falling in love, and the sounds produced as well as the lyrics and melodies are years and years of imagination being released and expressed from the little girl dancing and singing to her audience in her room. The sound is so inspired by so many roots, from blues to funk to rhythm and blues. Aside from creative visuals, my voice I believe sets my craft apart. I remember I used to hate my lower register – until I began utilizing it I realized what a benefit it was in this genre and how it can really set me apart. I love it now. I hope people can distinguish the tenacity and feel the unique story behind my sound as well. It is a journey, indeed.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
So, I have a couple actually…

I remember for a little while I was signed to an independent label called “Guilty Pleasure Records” via Jeff Cormack. (People May know Jeff for his band South of France). He put me on a boot camp Ole Publishing- to work on a song alongside Freda James (another local act you’ll want to get familiar with) and Timbaland’s co-producerer, Angel.
We produced a really awesome tune & we were able to hear stories from angel and exchange original music. I remember angel being especially fond of my original “Sweet Love Thing” he sent it to his wife immediately, I thought that would be enough for me until I got word Timbaland thought “Sweet Love Thing” was “dope.” That’s a huge moment for an artist that was inspired by the hit maker’s work for years, in fact that track was heavily inspired by his works!

Another instance was, I got a follow on social media- by this brother- sister awesome creative duo- Howard & Terena. They have some incredible content on their page and it’s literally all based out of London. He took to my sound and shared my music. Down the line he shared with me his relation to Sampha. & how they listen to my music sometimes at their family gatherings. It’s amazing to me how when you express yourself in the most authentic way, life has a way of bringing it around full circle and uniting the inspiring and the inspired. The inspired quickly become inspiring and it’s all a delightful cycle. I absolutely love that my music has reached these artists I’ve looked up to so fondly. I think that’s my favorite thing about music. What else can make it’s way around that authentically?

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Taylor Deruyter; Elesia Hendricks/ cover art work Jen Pelletier.; Aja Hitomi.; Christian Long & videographer BTS of “Sweet Love Thing” music video.; Elesia Hendricks – BTS of my newest music video for my single “Waiting For” directed by Jake Hilger.; Madeline Craig BTS of my music video for “Think About Me.”; Janelle Brosnan; Keon Hedayati BTS of “Think About Me” music video.; Taylor Deruyter.

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