Andrea Marr
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Marr Star (profile from Rhythms magazine)
Category: Music


THE MARR STAR
Andrea Marr Sings The Blues Because She Loves It.

By Sam Fell


Those familiar with Melbourne's vibrant blues and roots scene will probably know the name, Andrea Marr. For around seven years this pint-sized singer has been belting out blues tunes in a voice the size of Australia's World Cup hype, and whilst it's been a struggle, more a labour of love than a "career", things are now starting to fall into place for Marr. Singing the blues isn't usually the dream of many people, but for Andrea Marr, it's been a long time coming.

"I started singing blues without even realising it," she says down the phone of her introduction to music. "I was brought up in Sri Lanka, and I was 14 when I came over here… they don't have any blues music over there at all. But my dad was a jazz musician, and we'd listen to a lot of stuff at home, and I think through him, my earliest blues influences were Elvis and Ray Charles. That's pretty much all that I would have heard that would have got me started with the blues. So when Dad was playing jazz songs, I would sing them in a blues phrasing without even realising it.

"It was just one of those things I loved the feel of, and I would automatically start singing that way," she goes on with a laugh. "So it wasn't until I was 16 and was singing at a jazz show, and I got off stage, and this guy ran up to me and said, 'you're a natural blues singer, you should listen to some of this stuff'! And he gave me a stack of material to listen to. That was the start of getting passionate about it, I guess, but I didn't think there was any future in playing this, so I didn't even consider going into it until about seven years ago."

Marr's first two albums, 1997's Inheritance and 2001's, Sassified, sold comfortably and were passable recordings, but they had Marr just cruising, doing it purely because she loved to.

"I guess I wasn't really serious about what I was doing, I was just really enjoying the process," she says. "And after I started going to blues jams before Inheritance, I realised that it was really hard for a chick to put a band together. If you don't play an instrument, you're just a girl singer, you're not taken very seriously. So I decided to get all proactive and I put an album together. That was seven years ago, and from that I met a lot of really good musicians and started a band."

Cut to November last year, Marr and her band win the MBAS Memphis Challenge final here in Melbourne and jet off to Memphis in late January 2006 to compete in the biggest gathering of blues bands on the planet.

During the month and a half she had before heading to the US, there was no sitting around for Andrea Marr. All of a sudden it was action stations, and the main concern was a record. A record that accurately portrayed the sound Andrea Marr is capable of on stage. As a result, Watch Me Work It, Marr's first release though Black Market Music, was recorded and has her more than excited.

"I recorded Watch Me Work It because I won the MBAS Blues Performer. I certainly didn't expect that," Marr says with a laugh. "And when I won it, I realised that the previous album was pretty much sold-out, and it wasn't representative of what I was doing. So I had to put an album together in pretty much a month, before we went to Memphis.

"My band was in the process of real flux, changing guitar players and all that, and so I just decided, 'I'm going to get the best players I can, go into the studio and record the album I want to record'," she continues. "Everything was demoed before, and it was pretty easy, I just played the guys the songs and said, 'this is how they go, they're all written, they're done'. And got in Lloyd Spiegel and Dean Matters and Luke Hodgeson and some of the best players I knew."

Sounds easy really, but regardless, the result is some of Australia's best blues musicians, including Andy Cowan on keys for 'Stand and Deliver', busting out some fine blues, both Marr originals and a few covers, with her smokey voice riding over the top. She's certainly come a long way, particularly since last November.

"I guess my maturity has come through in my music has come to a point of I know what I want now, and I know what I'm doing," she finished. "So the two things together just make it far more enthusiastic… I don't need to do this for a living, I do it because I love it."

Watch Me Work It is available through Black Market Music

- Rhythms Magazine


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Press Release from Black Market Music

ANDREA MARR

Sassy, Soulful Blues, Raw Passion and great delivery that makes you a part of every song . . .
Critically acclaimed vocalist and songwriter Andrea Marr lives in Melbourne Australia and has been singing the blues for only the last 7 years in which time she has made a huge impact on the Australian Blues community. Her last album "Sassified" won her the 2002 Female Blues Artist of the Year Award and 2005 she won the coveted 'Blues Performer of the Year Award' representing Australia in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. Her new cd "Watch Me Work It" is out now on the Black Market Music label.
"Andrea Marr is a blues shouter the likes of which we seldom see in this country" Lee Howard - The Sunday Herald Sun

The Band: Lead vocals: Andrea Marr
Guitar: Greg Dodd
Bass: Clint Healy
Drums: Peter Hodges
Sax: Ken Maling

Watch Me Work It is Andrea Marr's latest album of raunchy Soul/Blues. Without pretension, Watch Me Work It encompasses the full emotional range of what it is to be a woman: fearless and unapologetic at times, compassionate at other times, and always spirited.

A mix of covers and originals, the song titles read like a cautionary tale - "Man Trouble", "Too Hot To Handle", and "One Sided Love Affair".

Andrea Marr takes her gospel-influenced vocals from the likes of Etta James. Her emotionally gutsy phrasing is reminiscent of Koko Taylor. However, Watch Me Work It is distinctly Australian Soul/Blues, and features Lloyd Spiegel on guitar.

Andrea Marr grew up in Sri Lanka. From childhood, Marr sang gospel in church and was also influenced by her jazz musician father. At age 7, she heard Elvis Presley and unknowingly began interpreting jazz standards with blues phrasing.

"I only realised I was singing 'blues' at 16 when someone told me they loved my bluesy feel", Andrea recalls.


Press release from Black Market Music: www.blackmarketmusic.com.au


- Black Market Music


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Andrea Marr Works It All The Way!
Category: Music

The Sultry vocals of Andrea Marr get the full showcase treatment in her latest release titled, Watch Me Work It. Ten tracks, of which six are Marr originals that have been co-written with guitarist Brian Strafford and others, sees Marr wrap her R'n'B vocal chords around such showstoppers as Stand And Deliver, He Only Rocks On Stage, and the aptly titled, Duke Robilard Tune. One Sided Love Affair gives Marr a chance to relax with a classic slow blues whilst her treatment of Jimmy Witherspoon's Ain't Nobody's Business, also allows her to bring the room temperature down. Lloyd Spiegel's guitar licks, bump, grind and shimmer in all the right places. Dean Matters and Luke Hodgeson provide tight rhythm, Chris McConachy wails on harp and Andy Cowan provides a keyboard cameo appearance on Stand And Deliver. Andrea Marr works damn hard and as such has turned this one into a winner just like her appearances at last years Blues Performer Of The Year contest.

Werner Martin
Inpress magazine 14 June, 2006


- Inpress Magazine


Discography

"Watch Me Work It" 2006 available on www.blackmarketmusic.com.au
"Sassified" 2001
"Inheritance" 1999

Photos

Bio

2002 Female Artist of the Year
2005 Blues Performer of the Year Representing Australia in Memphis Tennessee
Singer/Songwriter Andrea Marr started singing the blues unintentionally at around the age of 12. Growing up in Colombo, Sri-Lanka, the daughter of a jazz musician, she started singing as a child, first performing on stage at age 3. Her first musical influences were her father's repertoir of jazz standards, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. She started singing in bands from the age of 12 and interpreted jazz standards with blues phrasing unconsciously, to later learn that she was a natural blues singer. Moving to Australia in 1984, Andrea sang in church, jazz bands and cover bands until she formed her own blues band in 1999 in the thriving blues scene in Melbourne Australia. Since then she has released 3 cd's, for which she has won many awards including 2002 Female Artist of the Year and the 2005 Blues Performer of the Year representing Australia in Memphis Tennessee in 2006. Her band consists of some of the finest musicians in Melbourne. Some describe Andrea's voice as a "Powerhouse", definitely an act not to be missed.