Tell us about yourself and your music
I’m a singer, songwriter, performer who loves to sing and perform. I come from a humble family in Oakland, CA. and am the eldest daughter of three. I am a classically trained vocalist. As a little girl, I enjoyed music and started playing instruments. In school I learned to play the flute, and the violin. My parents have always supported me in the field of music though economically disadvantaged. Unbeknown to me, my mother was also a classically trained vocalist thought I did not learn of this until much later.
As a family we would get together and sing. I would play instruments to accompany us.
Later, while I was on a summer break from school when I would love to spend my time reading books, I learned that there was a guitar group that was being assembled. I joined and It was then that the band called, “La Estudiantina de Oakland” was borne. I learned to play the guitar and as a result, the band was able to play at a lot of community events and as well many other gigs.
Around the same time, while in the band, I started taking piano lessons but ended up preferring to play the organ due to it’s many different sounds that could be created. In school
I always sought to be involved in doing something musical. I would get together with other girls and we would always put something together to whatever event was going on in school. While in high school I had the opportunity to perform with other girls. I also had the privilege of going to play and sing to the elderly and the infirm. On occasion, I also had the opportunity to sing and play the church organ.
Later I became a part of the Better World Entertainment chorus until it disbanded. We performed at various places. At the San Leandro Library we performed and got a standing ovation! We also made the first page of the San Leandro Newspaper.
The first CD I released was entitled, “Secret Love.” I’ve had the opportunity to perform at Yoshi’s several times in San Francisco, CA with Ricardo Scales, CA and also performed for the new major Ed Lee with Ricardo Scales at the Sheraton in San Francisco, CA with over 500 people attending. I also performed quite frequently at the the Top of the Mark on Wednesday Evenings with Ricardo Scales.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My latest release will be my newest CD entitled, ” With all of my Heart.” This release will be comprised of some originals that I have already released as well as other original material. While there are some covers on this CD the emphasis on this CD is my original music. This is a collaboration with my producer Tony Saunders. He is writing the music for my songs except on the ones that I already wrote music for. He has, however, made a different arrangement for my song, Tell Me Why. I’m anxious to get it done but lately he has been so busy due to his recent release. It has kept him on the road.
What inspired you to write this release?
I wanted to release my own original music. I already had a lot of my own songs that I wanted to record and I wanted to make a compilation of those already released and those not yet released. I got a lot of good feedback on one of my songs and wanted my fans to enjoy my other songs. I also wanted to be able to continue to play gigs and am always told that I have to keep recording in order to do this.
Any plans to release a video?
Eventually, I plan to release a video. I want to see the finished product first before I go on to decide which one although I have an idea which one I definitely want to release a video for.
Any plans to hit the road?
Since the CD is not complete yet I have no plans currently. However, I continue to perform as much as I can at different venues as I currently hold a day job.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
As an indie artist, I believe i am a soulful singer. What makes my music stand out is the soulfulness that I put into it. I really feel what I sing and I hope that I can convey what I feel to my fans. I’ve been told that I am a Torch Singer, as I tackle emotions such as anger and fear, along with the more sought after feelings of joy, hope, and love. However, that does not mean that I limit myself to singing Torch songs. I am able to sing to well, not just the Torch songs but soul songs and others.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the popular artists that are on the radio. They include Mariah Carey, who is one that I admire, Mary Blige, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Adele, John Legend and others.
Tell us about your passions
Every day I look forward to a new day and being able to just breathe and just appreciate the simple things in life.
Sometimes we get caught up in our wants and forget that all of that is not necessary, that we could be content with the basics of life.
What else is happening next in your world?
I enjoy sewing, and learning about health. Health, yes that is a big topic in my life. Especially since i lost my parents, I have been what you can call a health nut. I read everything I can get my hands on that is health related. I changed my diet many years ago. I had to do a complete 360 degrees and change all of my eating habits or I would go down just as I have seen my parents. I believe if they could read English and understood it well enough, they would not have succumbed to the illnesses that they did. I feel sad about this and often miss them.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Maria!
Connect with Maria Morlino