MaryAnne Marino
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MaryAnne Marino

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"Singer MaryAnne Marino goes old-school route."

Singer MaryAnne Marino goes old-school route.

Young musician nabs Lava Records contract after years of hard work, perseveranceBy DAVID BAMUNDOThere is no denying the impact of “American Idol” on the landscapes of popular culture and music. It’s hard to argue with platinum album sales and sold-out concert tours launched by the hit reality TV series. Still, it’s an odd way of anointing instant pop stars (just add cheese). It’s gratifying to see the rare artist who gets a break after years of hard work and perseverance. MaryAnne Marino is ready to stake such a claim. The 25-year-old singer/songwriter plays Wagner College’s Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Her fresh face belies the fact that she’s a music biz veteran compared to the Fantasia Barrinos and Kelly Clarksons of the world.FRESHMAN DEBUTMarino was still a freshman at SUNY Purchase when she auditioned for the November Project, the group formed by Emil Adler and Julie Flanders after their previous band (The October Project) parted ways with lead singer Mary Fahl. “It was my first sort of big experience and a great opportunity,” Marino said over hot soup before a recent show at Manhattan’s Living Room. She nailed the audition and found herself fronting an internationally acclaimed band with a small but loyal fan base.Drummer Doug Yowell - who has played with Duncan Sheik, Suzanne Vega and Sophie B. Hawkins - met Marino when they were both in November Project. “When I first heard MaryAnne sing, I was so moved by the sound of her voice,” Yowell said. “She was beyond skill, someone that possessed so much spirit in every lyric.”Even back then, Marino was crafting her own songs, but the creative team of Adler and Flanders resisted her efforts to contribute more than a voice. The band toured for a few years, recorded a still-unreleased album and broke up shortly after.SOLO SOJOURNFrom the ashes, Marino, Yowell and bassist Mike Visceglia began collaborating and playing gigs. A meeting with producer Peter Zizzo (Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Carlton) and Marino’s subsequent signing with Lava Records launched her solo career.Backed by Jen Scaturro on piano, bass, guitar and accordion and Thad DeBrock on guitar and mandolin, Marino performed songs from her upcoming release, “Ghost of You,” at her recent Living Room show.Her voice is reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan’s, warm as tea, and at times, as soothing as a mother’s lullaby.“Ghost of You” strikes a nice balance of folk sensibility with just the right amount of electronic touches. There is even a jazz clarinet and trumpet intro to “It’s Great” and what sounds like a toy piano on “Dear Mom and Dad,” a standout track with a Beatles-esque hook that could be an anthem for anyone with aspirations that differ from parental expectations. This song, and one other, “Goodbye My Love,” can be heard in their entirety on her web site ROOMThe Living Room has become a crucial venue for Marino and other singer-songwriters.“It’s kind of a small community of musicians, where everyone knows each other and has played with each other on some sort of project,” she said.Her song “Open Your Eyes” was co-written with one such friend and collaborator, Richard Julian, who backed Norah Jones on her worldwide tour last summer. Jones’ road to stardom also stretched through the Living Room, and the author of her Grammy winning “Don’t Know Why,” Jesse Harris, often plays there with his band. This tight knit trail continues with guitarist Gerry Leonard, who plays the Living Room under the name Spooky Ghost and produced the unreleased November Project disc.COLLABORATION“MaryAnne has always been way beyond her years and has had the opportunity to work with so many great musicians, writers and producers,” Yowell said. “These experiences have really shaped her. She is well aware of how to naturally embrace them into her life.”Such relationships and experiences have surely helped MaryAnne Marino navigate the tricky slopes of the music business. For now, she seems perfectly happy performing with her band and continuing to perfect her artistry. A song lyric from MaryAnne says it all: “In my heart, I’m doing what I should”. - STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

"Blue-collar songbird"

New York – MaryAnne Marino was the girl with the sweet jump shot. Chester High School's all-time leading girls' scorer, with 889 points.
"When she shot the ball, it was like it was going through whipped cream," says former Chester girls' basketball coach Sal Patane. "The ball didn't even wrinkle the net."
MaryAnne Marino was her parents' daughter. They were old-school, Brooklyn-born, blue-collar, hard-working people. She played basketball that way, running the floor hard, battling for every inch of the open space that enabled her to drain all those jump shots.

I didn't mean to cause you any pain
I'm not running and you're not the ones to blame
So, don't go chasing me down
I've got to find out on my own

Marino was nine in 1989 when her dad, Leonard – former Marine, ex-Secret Service man, NYPD cop – was diagnosed with brain cancer. The radiation treatments were brutal. His body was decimated. He lost more than 50 percent of his hearing. Doctors told him he would be on a respirator the rest of his life, however long that would be.
Leonard was off it after 30 minutes. Years later, after beating the disease, he prepared for a marathon to benefit the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. He was up to running 17 miles a day when he had to quit because his legs couldn't take the pounding anymore.
MaryAnne sings at benefits for the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. She tears up when she talks about his courage.
"He is a miracle," she says. "An absolute miracle."
So, too, was her mom. Mary Marino took over the family when Leonard became sick. She worked two nursing jobs to pay the bills. She kept everyone together and safe.
She was that tough.

I'm young and you can see
But I'm older than what I leave behind
My story is untold and my life will unfold
Everywhere it finds me

The Marinos had a plan for MaryAnne: college. A secure job. A safe life. After what they had been through, where they had come from, that sounded about right.
How hard it was, then, for MaryAnne to have the conversation with her parents. The music, she told them, got inside of her when she was 12 and she heard her older sister, Rachel, singing. It never left her. It was there, inside her, forever.
"This is who I am," she told them. "This is what I want to be. There's nothing else I want to do. I'm going to make it happen."
On Halloween in 1996, MaryAnne Marino, a senior in high school, left home.
She stayed with friends for a while, then found a one-bedroom apartment in Monroe in January of '97. Rent was $500 a month.
She was 17, the top scorer on the Chester basketball team and the lead singer of a funk band called SIVA. The other members of the band were in their 20s and 30s. SIVA played three times a week at bars across the mid-Hudson.
"It was scary," Marino says. "I was so exhausted. People in school were going to parties and I was playing gigs."
She graduated from Chester in 1997 and enrolled at SUNY Purchase. She began singing with a group called the November Project in 1999. Almost two years later, after graduating from Purchase with a degree in jazz music, Marino began fronting another band, Nobu Daddy. To meet the rent, she babysat. She also worked in marketing at Bloomingdales.

I know you always did the best you could
In my heart, I'm doing what I should

Peter Zizzo is a music producer, the man credited with discovering Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton. He's worked with Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion.
He wanted to give Marino a shot as a solo artist in January of 2002. But she is her parents' daughter, honest and loyal. She told Zizzo she had to give Nobu Daddy a chance to make it; she needed a few more months.
Six months later, she could barely make the rent for her Bronx apartment. Zizzo called her to meet again. He and Marino started working together.
"I have the same sort of special feeling about MaryAnne," as he did with Lavigne and Carlton, Zizzo says. "I was mesmerized by her when I first saw her play. I think she will be a superstar."
He compares her voice to Sarah McLaughlin. He says she has the natural beauty of Faith Hill.
"She has personality, she's bright, quick-witted, complex and intense," Zizzo says.
"I am quick-witted," says Marino, 25, wearing jeans and a black, long-sleeved shirt, sitting in a bakery sipping an iced tea. She blushes at the rest of Zizzo's words.
What she is mostly is her parents' daughter and that makes her determined not to fail.
Marino's first CD, "Ghost of You," is set to be released later this year on a label to be determined. Marino is signed to Big Much Productions, Zizzo's company. She got a nice advance to make the album. She's too blue collar to divulge how much, but Zizzo says for an up-and-comer such as her it's likely in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
"Dear Mom and Dad," is one track on the CD. The words from that song accompany this story. It's an explanation, sort of. Maybe a reminder.
Those 889 points, she couldn't have done any of that without her parents. The gigs and making the rent when her friends were living care-free, that was them, too. The drive to succeed, the love of the music, it is all about them.
And, of course, her.

Tonight I'm under the stars
Following the signs
Until I find my way out of here
And I will come back someday
And it will all be clear
- Times Herald-Record

"Review of Maryanne Marino"

MaryAnne Marino's first album, Ghost of You, is one of the best debut albums of 2005. Or 2006. Actually it hasn't officially been debuted yet. Produced by Lava Records, it is currently in limbo as Lava is no more. Marino is privately providing it free of charge if you buy a t-shirt on her website
Around about 1993, Don Henley stated that his young (and then unknown) backup singer was one of the best female voices in the music industry. That backup singer was Sheryl Crow. Henley could easily make the same statement about Marino in 2006, if she was singing with him. She is in the fist full of top-echelon female voices, in the same company as Sarah McLaughlin, Sheryl Crow, Aimee Mann, and the like; the only difference being noone knows who she is yet.
Her smooth, melodic, and powerful voice rings true on this album, as do her compositions. It's all new material, and it's all very good. Conversation is one of the best new songs I heard in 2005 -- or 2006; an acoustic ballad. For One Moment and Ghost of You have a distinct U2 feel -- imagine U2 with a female vocal. Other favorites are Solitaire, Subway, Goodbye My Love (can be heard on her myspace page), and It's Great. Song by SongFor One Moment – good song. Love the U2-esque feel to it.Turn it Around – Marino shows off the power of her voice on an upbeat song. Goodbye My Love – This should be a single. Someone I know described Marino's voice as mellifluous. Her voice sounds mellifluous on this song. Solitaire – One of the best songs on the album. Should be a single. Good lyrics, good tune, and Marino's voice all come to the fore. From the intro of an old phonograph switching on and Marino's voice coming through tin-ny 1930's speakers, followed by full-volume sound, and working up to the crescendo of her belting out 'Time'. Add this to the handful of great songs that feature the word 'Time' in them (see Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers and Time by Pink Floyd). It’s Great – Another great song -- songs 3-5 are a sweet spot of the album. Her voice sounds great on a great, great song. It's just great. It's great, it's great, it's great, it's great..Dear Mom and Dad – good song. My daughter loves this song. I'm thinking maybe she identifies with it. She's 11 years old. She keeps pushing to go to the corner store with her friends, unchaperoned. If Only – pretty good song. A changeup. Ghost of You – Title track. More U2-esque feel. Good song; a tad too polished for my taste. (Song #8 is listed as Subway on the liner notes on the website.)Subway – Another one of my favorite songs on the album. I love when someone writes about the subway. She's a New York girl for sure. Open Your Eyes – Another good song. Nice imagery. Hey, is the Paul Bryan playing Chamberlain the very same Paul Bryan that is Aimee Mann’s bass player/rhythm guitarist/backup vocal?Conversation – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SONG. Love the accordion on this song and the acoustic guitar work. One of my favorite new songs of 2005. Or 2006.Overall a terrific album; beautiful -- spectacular really -- voice; really nice compositions. You can listen over and over again (and I have!). The cream of the album are songs 3 through 5 (Goodbye My Love, Solitaire, It's Great) and 9 through 11 (Subway, Open Your Eyes, and Conversation).
- Paperback


"Ghost of You" 2005
"A Little Something" EP 2009



A native New Yorker, MaryAnne Marino has been performing as a recognized vocalist in the Big Apple for many years. She has become a seasoned favorite of the New York City music scene, including the likes of The Living Room, the Bowery Ballroom, and Joe’ s Pub, just to name a few. She has developed a very dedicated fan base, starting with her first commercial performances with the October Project, leading to her becoming the lead vocalist for the group, and then renamed the November Project.

In the following years, she continued to develop her craft, studying jazz voice at SUNY Purchase, and also performed in theaters in the Northeastern U.S., until she teamed up with producer Peter Zizzo, known for work with artist such as Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, and Vanessa Carlton. This partnership spawned Marino’s release of her first solo album, titled “Ghost of You”, which beautifully combines ambrosial melodies and rock edginess with her smooth and sultry vocals.

She is currently in the process of completing her second follow-up album - an EP, due to be released in spring 2009.