Marmoset presents music miniature concerts — a new series where we invite talented, touring and local artists into our space to capture a stripped down performance of their music.
Our first video features Mree, her transcending vocals chillingly beautiful against a single acoustic guitar. Watch her performance of “Atmosphere” in the video above.
Stepping into Marmoset, Mree exudes tranquility even in the way she greets us — it melds and mirrors within her four minute performance. Masterful in drawing listeners through haunting and misty vocals, she has captured the attention of Grammy Award Winning Artist Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) and draws from her influences like Sigur Ros and Sufjan Stevens.
We asked her some questions to learn more about her journey as a musician and what new music she has in the works.
Marmoset: There are so many different ways someone can get into creating music, we’d love to know how you got started. What did those first chapters look like for you?
Mree: My parents have always been really supportive of me and my sibling’s creative endeavors, I’m so grateful for that. They saw my interest in piano at a pretty young age, around five years old, when I would create my own little tunes. It turns out I didn’t have much patience for theory but my parents found me a wonderful teacher, Todd Lanka, who taught me how to play by ear! He really encouraged me to keep composing.
When I was about 11, I saw the movie Glitter starring Mariah Carey and I was transfixed by her voice. I bought all of her CDs and practiced her runs over and over again, which is when I think I kind of discovered this interesting part of my voice I never knew I could “train” or tap into. With this new ability I feel a strong pull to share it with people, which was very weird for me as an extremely shy and anxious person at the time.
I signed up for my middle school talent show and ended up winning with my rendition of “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada. It was really validating that I could share this part of myself, and that people might just see me as something other than the quiet girl. I just kept chasing that feeling and started posting covers on Youtube. Eventually I picked up the guitar and started writing my own lyrics. I started getting into production pretty soon afterwards. It was just all really fun to experiment with effects, vocal layers, and stuff like that.
I guess I’ve just been doing that ever since! It feels really wonderful to self-produce and find success independently, especially since there’s currently an imbalance of women in the music production field. I feel like I can send a supportive message to other females who are interested in the industry but may be intimidated by taking part in a male-dominated scene. Imogen Heap was that person for me, and I am so grateful for her music and presence.
Marmoset: What are some projects that you look back on and feel a sense of pride for accomplishing?
Mree: When I look back, I remember making my second album Winterwell with a lot of warmth and freeness.
It came out in 2013 and I was 19 at the time; I was really interested in exploring production and creating really grand moments with cool textures and instruments. This was all before college and before I exposed myself to too much popular music, “proper” writing techniques, “creativity guidelines,” and I guess before I got a bit disheartened by the industry.
The feeling was so pure and when I make music now, I want to get back to that genuine feeling. I want to do it because I love creating it and not because I think it’s what other people want me to create.
Marmoset: With this new miniature concert series, we’re excited to showcase artists like yourself in this sort of casual atmosphere. You being on the other side, how do performances like this resonate with you especially when compared to the bigger shows you do?
Mree: I love performances like these. This is how I always used to perform — just me and my guitar or piano. I find it really freeing for a lot of reasons. When I’m by myself I can control everything about the performance. I can slow down if I feel that the moment needs it or play louder or quieter in sections when it feels just right.
In turn, I think I can let myself feel more present, reacting to things in the moment. But don’t get me wrong, playing with other people and getting a bigger sound is wonderful! I love that too. Especially since some of my songs call for a larger sound. I really enjoy both ways so it’s nice that I can mix it up in my live set.