Shardul Pandey Talks To Marie Martin About Her Debut Record

I welcome you Marie at SANGKRIT, please tell our netizens about yourself.

I started with the violin at 5 years old.. but we always sang at home cause my dad used to sing as a side job.. so, lots of music at home! My sister also sings. Then I really sang for the 1st time at 12, for the junior high school orchestra.. and then sang in a couple bands in my home town.. I moved to Paris at 19 and started singing and playing the violin for several artists.. and more and more through the years as a background vocalist for recording sessions.. (French TV stuff,etc.. and also a couple lead vocals for movies in France.. )
If you want more details…here is the link to my bio.

I moved to NY 6 years ago and started writing songs around 2007.. I became a lead singer in NY.. after meeting lots of musicians at Jam sessions.. slowly but surely, I developed my solo career.. We also started a trio 3 years ago called SoNuvo with 2 musicians from Ohio.

How long have you been working on this project for?

It’s been a little more than a year. We did a gig at BAM in Brooklyn in June 2012.. and exactly 1 year later, we were in the studio to make the record.. between BAM and the studio, I’ve been working on it with Dion Tucker, the musical director.

Which song are you most excited for people to hear from your first album?

That’s a tough one because each song is different and has it s own identity..

I d say “Nena”.one of the 2 songs I wrote for the record.. because some people know it but it’s been arranged by Lionel Loueke and now it’s like a new song almost! it’ll be a surpirse to some people..! Also the new tunes that Dion Tucker wrote!!

Who are your biggest musical influences ?

Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sting, . Also Rachelle Ferrell has great technique, Chaka Khan, Tania Maria , Minnie Riperton Me’shell Ndegeocello”

And I listened to a lot of acid jazz, soul, r’n’b, fusion, musics from several countries in Africa, jazz, etc.

What is something you learned recently about singing and what are you learning about right now?

Technique wise, I learned that if we want to, we can always improve our singing.. I have improved my highs the last couple years.. I can sing higher now.. for ex. I realize how powerful singing is and I realize the beauty of the effect it has on people who listen or sing themselves.. It is pretty unique.

Do you try giving messages in your songs?

The last song I wrote is an Afro beat tune .. I wrote the music.. Helene from the band Les Nubians wrote the lyrics.. after I gave her an explanation of what I wanted the song to to be about.. it is a pretty strong message for the young generation.. a message of freedom, open mindness, free will… eyes open to the rest of the world.. etc

Do you have any plans for an international tour on your horizon?

Yes, the idea is , for the next few months, to do gigs in Morocco in September, in France in October and November, and NY and Ohio in December. after that, we plan to go to Japan with the trio SoNuvo.

What makes your endeavors unique ?

Ok. I guess the diversity makes me and my music different from others.. due to several factors:

My background: I have a mum from france, brittany (Brittany had not always be a french region.. it was independant for a while.. celtic region.. it has a very strong identity with traditions,etc. Music has a huge place in our celtic culture..)

My dad is from Algeria. his family is from spain.. So, I grew up hearing a lot of spanish tunes.. and my dad listens to and sings lots of different things.. from french pop music to soul music, to fusion, to jazz, to world music, etc.

My travels: I lived in Paris, London and New York.. The last 6 years in NY made me improve my jazz and soul music skills.. so, I guess I still have a european type of sound , mixed with a very soulful and jazzy thing, but also mixed with my background of spanish-french-arabic melodies and intonations sometimes!

My musical experiences: And I’ve had the chance to be apart of various projects with so many different genres.. pop, soul-funk, jazz, hip hop, afro beat, carribean, brazilian, and more… i started music as a classical violin player.. I ve experiences improvisation too..

All these things I guess, makes me sound like I do.. and makes me write a diverse repertoire of songs!

I can t really stick to one sound, one genre.. I love to mix the things I like.. and never do the same thing over and over all the time.. I like challenge, and I like change in general.. I like to surprise people too!

So what’s next for you?

The next step is my record, showcases, CD release parties in Paris and NY. I would like to tour with this project and also with the trio. and keep on working as a recording artist and also keep on collaborating with people from all around the world on several projects.

There is a message we would like to spread. Through the lyrics of the songs, the cosmopolitan side of the record (musical diversity and working with artists from all around the world). I hope this record will travel all around the world and I would like to play concerts, do workshops, talks, in order to share my musical, vocal and traveling experience. I also would like to get people from all backgrounds to sing together , play together, get people united through music and choir… I would like them to discover the power of playing music and singing together… Its union, well being and therapeutic virtues.

What you feel is your strength as a singer and how would you like to be remembered ?

I think the fact that I am versatile.. I can sing in different genres, mix them.. I started with classical violin.. then sang in a funk band, and then pop music, soul, I also sang with a hip hop band, Caribbean bands.. now I sing also jazz, I sing in Spanish, french and English.. I guess it surprises people most of the time.. and It makes it so much richer for me to explore so many genres and even mix them together.

Also, The fact that I am an instrumentalist in the 1st place and that I am a lot into rhythm gives me a good sense of rhythm and people say I have a great ear.. I guess music theory + violin helped a lot.

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is definitely not only selling a lot of records and having millions of fans.. I feel successful if people tell me after a concert that they were touched by my voice,etc. that my music moved them.. etc.

What is your ultimate message for netizens ?

That the support for that type of project is way more than the support of 1 singer..A lot of people are involved in this adventure… and I will keep on trying to have as many artists as possible joining this adventure.. visual artists, more lyricists, arrangers, musicians… I will be involved with Blues up.. a music crew that has started a charity, a part of thr $ for the Cd s will go for that.. and other charities.

One of the messages also here is to tell people to keep hope, no matter what, and to peruse their dreams.

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