Posts filed under Music

Womxn of Music: Michele Wylen

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Our Womxn of Music series continues as we spotlight risk-taker Michele Wylen. With her past work featured in empowering content like 2018’s Be That Girl Sportsgirl campaign, Wylen’s music is the upbeat anthem that makes us feel like anything is possible.

With a list of creative projects lined up, Wylen is also hard at work in the community extending her support, time and attention to address climate crisis. Naturally, we wanted to sit down to catch up with Wylen to learn more.


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Marmoset: You have such a passion for being active in the community, what have you been up to most recently?

Wylen: I’ve been very engaged in my city’s effort to lower its greenhouse gas emissions. I work with Citizens Climate Lobby and People for Climate Action, as well as other community groups, and I engage with my city councilmembers.

I see a departure from fossil fuel dependence as non-negotiable if the world is to move forward to a prosperous future. Currently I’m working on facilitating a community project that implements clean technology, though at the moment I’m still in the brainstorming process so there’s not much to report. Check back with me later in the year, hopefully I’ll have some exciting new updates   

Though I live and breathe music, one thing my art could not fulfill for me, was my passion to get my hands dirty and do some practical work to help the world. I was born to sing but I was also born to solve problems. Our climate crisis is a definite problem, and it is deeply fulfilling for me to be a part of the solution.

M: Who were some of your earliest sources for inspiration in music?

Wylen: The first female artist I grew up listening to was my mom. She was a singer and songwriter, and she’d always be in the studio recording while she took care of me. When I was in the Philippines in elementary school, my mom sang the theme song for a popular soap opera and it became a hit on the radio. She also wrote songs for other Filipina artists. Several times she brought me with her to the studio in Manila to watch them record. Being exposed to this at a young age inspired me to pursue this kind of work for myself. 

My first CD was Spice Girls Spiceworld. Missy Elliott also got a lot of play in my CD player. It was the sassy, empowered female artists who attracted me- I rarely listened to forlorn songs about broken hearts. I definitely went through a Britney Spears obsession, and I sang a lot of Destiny’s Child.

In high school I became mesmerized by Alison Goldfrapp and I’ll never forget seeing her perform at the Crystal Ballroom. Witnessing her magical presence on stage filled me with an insatiable desire to perform on stage myself. Then in my early twenties I got super into Peaches. I loved how abrasive she was, how she went against the grain — her songs resonated with the rebel inside me. Watching her perform at the Wonder Ballroom really inspired me to think outside the box in terms of my own performance art. Her background dancers were over the top, wearing costumes of giant pom poms with legs in high heels sticking out. It was ridiculous and amazing. 

M: As a professional artist now, who inspires you today?

Wylen: If I had to choose one female artist who I’m continually inspired by, it’s Rihanna. A queen of style and music, now with empires in makeup and lingerie, she doesn’t let her entertainment business get in the way of the great work she does with the Clara Lionel Foundation. I lust for her slay but her community work is what makes me love her. 

Female artists currently on my playlist: Asian Doll, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Sia, Killumantii, Missy Ellliott, Rihanna. 

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M: Self empowerment and confidence is so important for young women, especially in the music industry. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Wylen: I’d say the most important thing is to know who you are and know what you want. If you’re not sure then you’d better take the time to figure it out. When you’re a budding talent, other people will want to impose their vision on you; so if you’re not sure of yourself, you may find yourself one day living out someone else’s dream and wondering what happened to yours. 

Another key piece of advice was given to me by Che Pope: “When you’re starting out, make sure you have income outside of music to cover your bills.”

What happens when you rely entirely on music for your income is you give up the control you have over what projects you work on. You’re basically forced to accept any paying project that comes your way, even if you don’t feel it in your heart.

I used to have this obsession of being able to say I made all of my income from music. But it was so stupid because as a result I wasted years of my life not exploring my art and instead was chasing money. I don’t regret it — the experience did refine my skills and I learned a lot about collaborating in a professional environment. But I’ll never let money control how I use my artistic talent ever again.

M: Knowing what you know now, what would you pass along to your younger aspiring artist-self?

Wylen: If I could speak to my younger self I would say… relax, be patient and keep your life in balance. Yes, we have to grind and hustle and spend a lot of time in the studio to develop our skills. However, we must still balance that with our personal health.

When we are sound in our mental and physical health then we can come to our music from a place of clarity and control.

I should have spent more time with my friends and family and working out personal issues. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson and my life is in much better balance now. 

M: Can you give us a sneak peek about what music you have in store for us in 2019?

Wylen: Well, I don’t want to reveal too much I have a new single with Niko Javan coming soon that I’m excited for. Also excited about a collaboration with Graham Barton. Other than that, I’m just in exploration mode right now. What I’m most excited about in 2019 is empowering myself to say “no” to incoming commercial work so that I can have the freedom to explore my creativity. Also, I’ll be filming a music video this year and I haven’t made a video since 2012 so needless to say I’m really excited for that. It’s long overdue.

Womxn of Music: Fritzwa

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To the womxn of music, thank you.

Not just for paving the way for others to follow in your footsteps but for speaking your truth when the noise tried to drown you out, the times you kept showing up even when it was exhausting or felt thankless. Thank you for always relenting, speaking up, inventing and overcoming — for sharing your stories and not backing down. It matters and whether it felt like it in the moment, it was noticed.

March 8th is International Women’s Day and for the Marmoset community, it’s not just a day of recognizing and honoring the achievements and history made by women — we strive to do that the other 364 days out of the year.

Instead, it’s about reflecting on each other’s journeys, lifting one another up while looking ahead; because staying sharp and strategic is the only way to stay ahead of the game. And while an internationally celebrated day of recognization is nice… we decided to share the microphone with five amazing artists we work alongside and whose music we feature on our roster. Because we’re not just fans of their music, we’re admirers of their mentalities, their spirited hustle and won’t back down attitudes.


Still from “Sitting Pretty” music video featuring Fritzwa — directed by Fritzwa & Ikaika Cofer

Still from “Sitting Pretty” music video featuring Fritzwa — directed by Fritzwa & Ikaika Cofer

New York City native, Fritzwa gave us the lowdown on her new music and the momentum that gets her up in the morning.

After changing up her creative environment by leaving New York for Portland, Oregon, Fritzwa now hustles back and forth between lush Pacific Northwest and bustling Los Angeles, California. This year she’s taking the west coast by storm, taking on musical collaborations between cities. And there’s no question of the determined spirit that fuels the artist, she’s continually setting out to conquer, pushing back in the face of opposition.

“I just have this relentless attitude about everything,” says Fritzwa. “Just in terms of being marginalized, you have to have that kind off mentality that you’re not going to take no for an answer. I don’t allow anybody to tell me no, if there’s something I want to make or if someone’s preventing me from getting to someone else, it’s just fuel for me to accomplish those things even more.”

And with being in the position of trading a high-level marketing job with Nike to produce music full-time, Fritzwa uses this chapter in her life as a motivator for growth. Creating music is a livelihood for her — she’s a businesswoman just as much as she is a musician.

Physical backdrops aside, Fritzwa is an artist who embodies constant evolution and change, her work ethic an example that even those outside the music industry can draw motivation from: here’s a woman on the move, eager to learn, grow and challenge herself even if it pushes her to the limits.

And in the common scenario of women (especially those of color) being singled out or underrepresented in positions of authority, it can be easy to succumb to a certain of complacency — to simple accept rather exert more energy in pushing back. But for Fritzwa, it’s about putting in the work and time now and going the distance.

“Just because things aren’t happening for you on your timeline doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to happen,” says Fritzwa. “It just means that maybe you’re not ready for what you want. I’ve been frustrated about a lot of things when it comes to music and looking back, if what I wanted had happened to me, then it would have been very short lived.”

Currently producing new work in Los Angeles, Fritzwa is exploring Afrobeats with her newly released music — her past two songs a fusion of West African stylings and pulsing electronic elements. “Shake Waist” is a sample of the latest direction she’s been heading musically.

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And while just a sample of her recent projects, Fritzwa is gearing up to dish out a variety of singles this year; the work will encapsulate her initiative toward exploration, a meld of collaboration with different producers and crossover of genres. It’s a year of beginnings and active diligence — most importantly, it’s crucial to note they’re products of her skilled talent and determined spirit. She’s making it happen.

“You have to set your sights beyond anything you could ever achieve,” says Fritzwa. “Because if you do that, then you know you’re always going to grow toward that, you’re always going to learn and going to be humble. And I think that the music gods will look favorably upon you because you’re looking at it as a craft as opposed to a means to an end.”


* We recognize women of all origins, backgrounds and identities.

Behind the Music Service: Customizing a Song from Start to Finish

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Ever find a song that sounds perfect on first listen — only to discover after pairing to picture how it's not quite hitting the cuts on cue? Don’t worry, that’s something the art of customization can help you fix.

Apart from partnering with and collaborating with our talented roster of artists, we also dabble in creating original music in-house for feature films, creative campaigns and more. Need sound design, customization or an original score? Nothing makes us happier than jumping into the studio to bring our clients’ creative vision to life (in an audible medium of course, wink).

While you may already be familiar with what scoring music entails, customization may not be as comprehensible to some. So we sat down to chat and learn more from our in-house Creative Music Editor & Composer, Greg Jong.

Find out what it takes to customize a song from start to finish — click play for a behind the service customization breakdown!

Say Hey to Jené and Diana: Talking Diversity and DJing with Noche Libre

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by    Kale Chesney

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by Kale Chesney

Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez are two of Marmoset’s Creative Music Coordinators by day, swooping in to support clients with music searches and clearances for every kind of project under the sun. By night, the two host one of the most buzz-worthy dance nights in Portland —Noche Libre.

Assembled of Jené, Diana and six other DJs, the Latinx collective’s mission challenges Portland’s mainstream nightlife scene, where typically only a small demographic is made to feel seen, welcome and safe. Instead Noche Libre cultivates community, creating space for Black, Brown and Indigenous groups.

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member,    Yuriko Xolotl

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member, Yuriko Xolotl

Spinning everything from cumbia and quebradita to dancehall and perreo, the inclusivity starts with the collective’s music selection. “We’re not super genre specific,” says Jené. “We definitely have a vibe but we’ll still play hip hop and a lot of different genres, there’s really something for everyone.”

It’s a reflection of their own musical tastes, everything they enjoy jamming to while also encompassing and honoring their Latin heritage and upbringings.

“I think what's really cool about something like Noche Libre is it’s just part of Latin culture — to get together and listen to music with your family and friends,” says Diana. “I really feel like it just feels like family get-togethers, everybody's just here for each other and here for a good time.”

The importance of Noche Libre’s presence — other than hearing mixes en fuego — is its movement toward building opportunities and spaces for artists of color within the music industry. With Jené leading Marmoset’s internal Diversity & Inclusion Team and Diana supporting the team’s overarching initiatives, their mission is to disrupt problematic systems to pave way for new processes.

From redefining how composers are brought onto creative projects to integrating diversity focused mixers into marketing trips — the team leads objectives that not merely benefit the underrepresented, but the entire company. It’s endless work, but indicative of genuine desire for positive change within an industry that upholds barriers for those who are non-binary or people of color.

Jené and Diana daily facilitate interpersonal conversations with other teams, including music producers and members of leadership (among community leaders). There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s mindful development toward progression.

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @    stoneanvil     )

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @stoneanvil)

When not attending workshops and programs like Partners in Diversity’s Say Hey night or DJing around town as Noche Libre, Jené and Diana keep busy with their side creative missions. Diana being an experienced florist, she’s responsible for cultivating Y La Bamba and Sávila’s dreamy stage designs — the floral arrangements while laborious, only add to the feat of strength that both Latin American musical groups deliver through their performances. You can also catch Jené co-hosting Everyday Mixtapes on XRAY.FM every Saturday night from 5:00-6:00PM (PDT) — listeners will be pulled in with a mix of throwbacks from R&B, hip hop to funk and vintage gems.

So if passing through Portland and catching Noche Libre in action, what can one expect when out on the dance floor?

“We find a way to fit it altogether. Like I’ll play an Asian psych song and then a chicha song, which leads to a cumbia song,” says Diana. “Because we’re all so different and made up of so many different experiences, that’s what makes it interesting.”

Part of Noche Libre’s mission statement is “to celebrate our family’s roots and rituals by carrying on the tradition of puro pinche pari” — it’s an embodiment of finding strength in identity and to not only live in it, but to celebrate it.

The Ultimate Music Glossary

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Navigating music licensing terms and definitions is a breeze when you have the ultimate music glossary on hand — so we created one just for you.


License

Licensing from the Marmoset catalog of music entails obtaining rights to use the song(s) for an agreed upon time period. Music licensing gives you the ability to use a song in almost any kind of creative project — like building out a stellar soundtrack for your feature film or creating a signature sound to your podcast’s intro.

Custom License

Marmoset can tailor a license to your project’s specifications — does your creative project have some tricky variables or broadcasting terms, or are you considering using a specific kind of vintage song but not seeing the “Buy Song” button? A custom license best ensures you’re covered, fill out our custom license form to get started.

End Client

The end client is the person or company the content is made for — if you’re a videographer hired to film and edit an ad campaign for Nike, the end client would be Nike. Swoosh!

Employee Count

This is is the number of employees who work for the project client’s company. For example, if you were creating a video for a large company like Amazon, the employee count is the number of employees employed by Amazon.

Internal Use

When music is licensed for content such as internal presentations, meetings, intranet or internal email blasts. If it's not being publicly shared or released, we consider this internal use.

Industrial Use

This refers to licensing music for media showcased in trade and sale shows, conventions, institutional meetings, retail dealers/in-store use, kiosks, PR use and B2B facing videos.

Instrumental

If a song is absent of lyrics (vocals), the song will be labeled as instrumental. Commonly, Marmoset has both instrumental and lyrical versions of a song — here’s an example of how an instrumental song is labeled on the search page.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property covers intangible content and creations — it covers anything from trademarks to copyright. When you see intellectual property, this indicates that content belongs to that content creator. For example, a song, while not tangible, is still an artist’s intellectual property.

Lyrical

Lyrical indicates a song with lyrics (the inclusion of vocal melodies). Sometimes the lyrical versions of a song will contain lyrics. While browsing the roster, click the three vertical dots and select Lyrics to see more.

Monetization

Using on one’s content to generate revenue can be categorized as monetization. When it comes to music licensing, streaming sites or any platform that incorporates pre-roll ads is a monetary opportunity for the content creator.

Non-Permitted Content

This is content that goes beyond the limit of what the license terms cover. Using the previous example of a Personal - Single Use Podcast License — if the podcast is hosted on a commercial or website, this scenario would fall into non-permitted content. Not quite sure and need to double check? We can help.

Perpetual

A perpetual license means forever, ever. With perpetual licensing, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of renewing a license and its terms. An indefinite (perpetual) music license means you can keep your YouTube miniseries online without the song’s license expiring.

Performance Rights Organizations (PRO)

Performance Rights Organizations support artists and songwriters in getting paid for the usage of their work/music through royalties. While Marmoset focuses on helping our artist community get paid for their music, we are not a PRO but instead a sync licensing agency and original music production studio.

Permitted Content

When purchasing a license, you’ll want to review what exactly the license covers. For example, a Personal - Single Use Podcast License’s permitted content covers a single 12 month audio podcast series posted by a non-commercial place (i.e someone’s blog). Read up more on a license’s permitted content here.

PR Usage

Licensing music for promotional purposes or for your company’s PR campaign? This is right up your alley. We can help with licensing music specifically for PR use, just ask.

Renewal

In the case of licenses that are nearing their expiration date (non-perpetual licenses), once the license reaches its entire duration period you’ll have the option to either extend/renew said license.

Web (Paid)

When a song is being used in material where you’re generating revenue (think YouTube videos with sponsored or promotional ads, such as Hulu pre-roll or even social boosting) . Keep an eye out for this one especially if it falls within a license’s non-permitted content description.

Web (Unpaid)

Content with no ad dollars behind it or if being shared on a personal website. If your film was created outside an actual studio system and is being shared in a standard festival circuit, this is considered Unpaid Web. In the chance your film is picked up later for distribution, get in touch with us to revise your license conditions.