Interview with Marina Bennett

Marina and Drew

The artist’s new Single ‘Another Way To Fly’ is out now 

Marina Bennett is a music artist based in Vancouver, Canada. I had the pleasure to chat with her about her background, jazz studies and major music influences.

HELLO MARINA, CONGRATS ON YOUR LAST SINGLE RELEASE ‘ANOTHER WAY TO FLY’. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE STORY BEHIND THIS SONG. 

Thank you so much! 

I wrote this song with my dear friend/artist/co-writer Drew Henmi who is based out of Hawaii. I met Drew in a songwriting program during the Pandemic and I was so thrilled when I started writing with him because he has such an incredible voice and an ability to write songs that feel really clear, peaceful, cinematic, earthy, driving, and lush like the landscapes of Hawaii. We wanted to write a song that felt like a dreamy escape from reality since we were going through the pandemic and had built up anxiety about the future. We missed the adventures of traveling . We wanted something that would bring some good vibes to everyone who listens. 

Drew is an amazing producer and had some ideas he’d been working on, so he sent me through the basic track and I heard some melodies we could play around with. We continued working on the melodies and lyrics together and finalized the production. It was a really fun process and I love how the song makes me feel. It’s like driving along the coast without a care in the world at sunset. We were also grateful to have our friend Brian Skeel mix and master the track for us–he’s a total pro and took the song to the next level! 

 

IT SEEMS LIKE YOU FIND YOURSELF COMFORTABLE IN MANY MUSIC GENRES. LIKE ACOUSTIC ON ‘ALRIGHT’ , EVEN FUTURE/ELECTRONIC ON ‘EVERY SIDE OF ME’. INDEED ON THIS LAST SINGLE, YOU HAD A MORE ELECTRONIC APPROACH AS WELL. WHAT IS YOUR SONGWRITING APPROACH AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE THE GENRE THAT BETTER FITS YOUR VOCALS ON A SONG? 

That’s a great question! For me I like to write in multiple genres depending on what the song needs. For the most part it’s quite intuitive and I’ll hear in my mind how the production pans out even if I’m writing the song on guitar or piano. Other times producers or co-writers will send me a basic track or progression to write to, and I love that because the vibe has been established and I let myself melt into it while I write. Either way the process is very intuitive to me and I just let the song reveal itself to me as I/we go. 

I really love the idea of one day having different production styles for my songs. That’s one of my favorite things about production: I love how it can transform a song into a completely different mood and become something completely new. I have so much respect for producers and I’m learning production right now so that I can better translate what I hear in my head into my music. I really don’t want to corner myself into one genre because I have so many musical influences and I want to keep music as an arena where I feel completely free as a writer/artist. I love so many different styles of music, and I think as long as the song is strong it will carry its way through many genres and still stand out. It’s ultimately about where you’re coming from as an artist/writer, and then the genre/production style serves to enhance that vision. 

THERE ARE DIFFERENT MOODS THAT YOU EXPRESS ON YOUR TUNES, WHAT KIND OF EMOTIONS DO YOU USUALLY TRY TO CONVEY TO YOUR AUDIENCE? 

I love exploring different moods in my songwriting because I’m definitely a deep thinker/feeler. I explore themes of self-love, heartache, desire, loss, confusion, gratitude, fear, shame, longing, passion, sensuality and romantic love. I want my audience to feel less alone in their experience of complex emotions because it’s normal and should be celebrated and used as creative fuel for growth. 

Marina 2

YOU HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN JAZZ STUDIES, HOW DID YOUR WRITING STYLE CHANGE AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE? 

I’m really grateful that I studied jazz music–it gave me an excellent foundation for songwriting and theory and the overall musical language to communicate my ideas and create what I hear in my mind. For years I played in an indie pop/rock band with guys I met in jazz school, and we had so much fun writing really progressive jazzy rock songs which to this day are almost too intricate and complicated to perform live with only four people. It was an amazing experience and taught me so much about writing and collaboration. 

After I started diving deeper into songwriting as a solo artist and eventually as a collaborator with other artists around the world from a wide variety of genres, I found myself using a lot of the skills I’ve learned in my training but in different ways.

I joke with my co-writers that there’s an 8 part choir living on my shoulder from jazz school because I always hear songs fully decked out with choral parts if I want them there! 

My writing usually carries unique melody shapes and harmonies and I think that’s a way that jazz infiltrated my writing style to this day. But I definitely do not shy away from writing a good pop hook and celebrate it. In jazz school I would have hidden my love of pop, haha. I would say that my songwriting has jazzy elements that will always come through, but I can decide now if I want to lean heavier in the pop realm, the jazz realm, country, electronic, or whichever realm I’m looking to write in. Having some kind of musical education lets me sway between the genres with more confidence. 

YOU ALSO HAVE A MUSIC PROJECT CALLED ‘THE SEA SUNS’. HOW DOES YOUR MUSIC APPROACH CHANGES BETWEEN THIS AND YOUR SOLO PROJECT? 

The Sea Suns is a passion project of mine that I absolutely love! Will Evans is such an incredible co-writer/producer based out of Texas with a very unique sound. He brought me right back into my love of band life and writing alternative music with an edge while still feeling modern and fresh. It felt like my happy place but a new one where a whole new sonic style was born. We just immediately clicked and loved writing lyrics and melodies with both of our unique voices combined. 

In this project Will’s vocal is usually the lead voice and mine acts as a playful counterpart, and we both dive into the production elements and overall sonic landscape together like it’s one big picture we’re trying to paint. It’s a similar writing process to my own, but a lot of the themes are a bit quirker and come from specific stories we have in mind made from imaginary characters and situations as well as our own life stories. We sit in writing sessions tweaking lyrics and melodies and productions like it’s a big fun puzzle, and I’m always amazed when we finish a track and I get to dance around to it in my bedroom. We’re both very intuitive writers and often swap lyrics, melodies, or production ideas back and forth until a new song is born! 

HOW DO FIND THE INDIE MUSIC SCENE IN VANCOUVER, AND HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PROJECTS FIT IN THIS? 

The music scene in Vancouver is thriving! There are so many talented artists and ways for artists here to apply for government funding for their projects if they’re looking for that. There are also some gorgeous venues to perform in. I’d definitely say after the pandemic the live music scene took a hit but the venues hosting music were resilient and have made it work wherever they can. I’d love to see more spaces open up in the city to host live music. Right now there’s a select group of places hosting live music but I’m sure there’s a chance that more could open up to host the large amount of incredible artists here. I think my project will fit well into the stages here alongside the amazing diverse artists that are featured here, and I look forward to getting to perform again in Vancouver. 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR THE UPCOMING MONTHS? 

I’m currently finishing up my full length album and various songwriting projects written for sync to film, television and commercials. I have a few of my songs that will be featured on a brand new Canadian show that will be released/announced soon. I’m also writing alongside an incredible up and coming artist from Scotland and look forward to sharing the songs we’ve been creating together. 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD? 

Thank you for supporting my music! It truly means the world! <3

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By Romeo Ciarla