Maryanna Sokol
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Maryanna Sokol

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Maryanna Sokol"

Comments: The Texas-born, NYC-based artist Maryanna Sokol has crafted a delightful debut LP of poppy folk-rock songs. Sokol cites Regina Spektor, Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles among her influences, and I think it would safe to throw Jenny Lewis, Ingrid Michaelson and Kimya Dawson in there as well. There's nothing life-changing about Landfill, but it's a really enjoyable listen--and it's an album that stands out from the glut of female singer/songwriter types crowding the musical landscape these days.

Start with "Pentameter," "Little Song" and "Two." - WLUR FM

"Maryanna Sokol"

Althought it was only last week, I honestly can't remember where I discovered Maryanna Sokol. But that won't stop me from sharing this talented singer-songwriter with you. As a daughter of a jazz-turned-classical guitarist mother and jazz trumpetist composer-turned-piano technician father who met at acclaimed Berklee College of Music, Maryanna rarely, if ever, entertained any option but to grow up to be a career musician. Her early childhood was spent studying piano, violin, voice, and guitar, and figuring out creative ways to get out of practicing for lessons. She composed her first music at the age of 3, when her parents encouraged every vocal improvisation and dabble on the piano as a “song.” After an obligatory but healthy obsession with The Beatles at a young age, followed by an active junior high and high school career in choir, orchestra, musical theater, and various local performing groups, Maryanna attended Southern Methodist University and Sam Houston State University in TX In pursuit of her education, she re-visited the art of songwriting, soon composing catchy and clever songs that appealed to educators and students as well as hard-drinking, honest folk in bars. With influences ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Regina Spektor to the ever-growing hype over the impending end of the world, Maryanna writes songs that weave the unabashed soulfulness so often found in the classic Americana singer-songwriter style with discriminating pop sensibilities. Her debut album, “Landfill,” is filled with infectious folky pop songs that all music lovers and especially fans of Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers and Jenny Owen Youngs wil cherish. - Let Me Like It

"Listen: Maryanna Sokol"

Avoiding clichés is a hard thing for singer-songwriters. How do you write an acoustic song without sounding like every other person at an open mic night? It’s no easy task. After years of teaching herself the ropes of pop music, Houston native Maryanna Sokol has luckily found a way.

Raised by a jazz-turned-classical guitarist mother and jazz trumpet composer father, Sokol’s parents had mastered those respective forms and tried diligently to pass them along to their daughter. Unfortunately for them, Sokol discovered The Beatles.

Sokol has been a musician basically all her life. Her parents credit her with her first song at the tender age of three, and she won a vocal composition contest at 10. It was obvious early on that Sokol’s life would be guided by sound. She received a degree in music therapy and, to make the rent, chose a side career in her field, mostly working with children. “I can put down a kids song in 10 seconds, and it can be catchy and kids love it,” she says. Since transplanting herself to Manhattan, though, her practical side has taken a back seat. She has finally found a place to work out her real ambitions, finishing her debut album, Landfill, this past spring, which was two years in the making.

For the first part of her life, she tried to stay true to her jazz routes. In college, she was part of jazz ensembles as she studied with the intention of being a studio musician, but something just didn’t feel right. She explains, “I really tried to hang on and be a jazz singer for a while, and it just did not work out.” It wasn’t until after college that she had the revelation that making pop-based music could be a good idea after all and that she wasn’t half bad at it either.

The Beatles may have been the spark, but it was Regina Spektor that lit the fire. With Spektor’s influence, Sokol is avoiding being just another guitar-only singer-songwriter, because, to her, it’s become a bit too cliché. “I felt there was nothing between Kelly Clarkson and Joni Mitchell or Ani Difranco,” she says. “There are tons of feelings and acoustic guitar, or super pop power music, but Regina was just everywhere, and I felt like my mind was blown.”

Sokol also credits Fiona Apple in that original revelation, but more recently, players like Sufjan Stevens and The Dodos have become sources for her creativity, especially on Landfill. With muses like those, Sokol’s music can be quite dynamic. Sokol craves sound and lots of it. On her debut, pianos, trumpets, strings, and layers of guitar make up a deceptively cheerful vibe. Her classically trained voice is sturdy, giving a sense of realism to her words. Being so well-trained in music from an early age has made her a very picky writer and one that never settles for what’s easy.

She admits it’s a bit strange, but of all the things to influence her, it’s the anger that religion and politics creates between people that drives her writing. “The way that people argue about politics and religion makes me want to write a lot,” she explains. “I’m very anti-politics.” She also finds doomsdayers to be just as ridiculous, so while the songs may be upbeat and well-crafted, there’s much frustration behind them. “I’m never inspired to write unless I’m upset, confused, or angry. When I’m happy, I just never feel like writing.”

Going deeper into her debut, Landfill hides the negativity quite well. “Pentameter” is littered with handclaps and a Spanish-influenced horn section making for the most proficient moment on the album. Strings pull the same wall of sound trick on the slowed down “Coffee Shop Scene”, showing that all the right ideas are in place. The piano-based “This Heart’s Mostly Filler” is one of the bolder tracks, her flawless voice coming out in full form before the strings and drums start up. She wears Spektor quite openly on her sleeve, and it sounds marvelous.

It’s been seven months since Landfill, and in that time Sokol has recorded enough demos to make a new record. She has also started to play a few shows around New York City, but the intention is to do a proper tour in the near future with her band. An EP is also in the works, so come next spring you may just hear a whole lot more of Sokol. - Consequence of Sound


LP: Landfill was released May 2010



The 1st thing you'll notice about Maryanna is sarcastic, witty lyrics and creative songwriting that combines catchy melodies with technical prowess. The 2nd is that this multi-instrumentalist defies comparison. Her style pushes genre lines from pop to anti-folk to rock and remains uniquely her own.

Maryanna is recently uprooted from Texas and has quickly made a name for herself in New York City's indie scene. In addition to receiving accolades from the New York Song Circle's songwriting competition, her music has also been featured on such tv shows as "The Real World" and popular music blogs such as Consequence of Sound and StereoSubversion. Most recently she was interviewed for a story about independent musicians on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Sunday."