marie-claire
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marie-claire

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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Have you heard of hip-hopera?

marie-claire is on a mission to bring her own brand of banging’ beats to speakers across the globe.

Born in Dominica and raised in Bronx, NY since the age of four, she incorporates her eclectic tastes into her equally expansive musical range. Her songs mix jazz, classical, opera and hip hop to create a sound that is truly inspired.

“I have always thought that there was nothing more powerful than opera music and on the flip side, there’s nothing more powerful than the beats of hip hop.”

Her scintillating single, “Chasing Rainbows,” is a perfect example of that power.

“You’re in the song and you’re in the storm but you’re looking toward the blue sky and towards that rainbow,” she says about the story behind the song’s lyrics.”Basically achieving your dreams, never letting anyone or anything get you down, never taking no for an answer and always pushing forward.”

Her inspiration comes from her classical background as an opera singer, as well as the influence of some of her favorite emcees. “I love Jay-Z and I think Kanye West is a freaking genius,” she says. “Rakim, Common…those are the type of guys that inspire me.”

Music has helped heal her after the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of two different offenders. “I have a very tortured past. When I was four years old I was raped by my babysitter’s son and I was abused for most of my childhood by my aunts husband,” she says.

Sadly, she says the abuse she suffered is not uncommon. “In the Black, Caribbean community its like, taboo. You don’t talk about it. It’s forgotten and shoved under the carpet,” she explains. “You’re told, ‘It’s over now so forget about it.’ You don’t seek therapy because you don’t want anyone to know what’s happening. “

Despite her family’s protests, she sought help for her trauma, a decision that ultimately saved her life. “I realized at a young age that if I didn’t get help for what was going on with me, I was going to be damaged for the rest of my life. It was going to destroy me.”

Now, she’s on a mission to spread her music and her message to people around the world. “Music is my lifeline. It’s my love. I want to talk to young people who have been through what I’ve been through and let them know that it doesn’t have to define you. Claim it and turn the negative into a positive.”

“I think once you get into the machine, you just have to keep your head on tight because it will chew you up and spit you out. You really have to have a solid foundation and a great support system.”

One place you probably wont see this talented trailblazer is on a reality singing competition stage.

“A friend of mine pushed me into trying out for X-Factor and I got to the final round of auditions before TV, and they said I was too polished of a singer.” Go figure.

- See more at: http://cocoafab.com/marie-claire-talks-hip-hopera-overcoming-abuse-and-making-music/#sthash.DTshmmkI.dpuf - Cocoafab.com


Everyday the same routine goes on in my house. When I exit through the gate of my home, The New York Times lies in the same position our delivery person has religiously thrown it -- with the same force and precision, hitting the frame of the bars of my window, at approximately the same time every day -- maybe 15 minutes or so after 7 a.m. Depending on how early I leave for work each morning, I sometimes witness the car zoom off as he continues his route.

Like clockwork, my son's rushing to get ready for school quickly follows suit. Only his time of departure varies every morning, depending on how long the personal fashion show goes on in his bedroom before he finalizes his wardrobe selection for the day.

Tick tock. After work I come home to see the newspaper in the same place so I holler and carry on until my son goes outside to pick it up.

Once I enter the house, the roaring of the music begins to fill my head -- the beats, that verbal abuse that my son calls music -- is now affecting my sanity and my eardrums. "Lord, I can't take it," I scream. "Shut that xxxx off, please! Jesus Christ! Do it before I go postal in here and kill us all!"

But today was different from the norm. He was tuned into a beat softer than usual. The lyrics were a bit sad, poetic and even insightful. I asked who was the artist was and he identified the voice to be Kendrick Lamar. I paid unusual attention to the lyrics and a sudden sadness and understanding came over me. I wanted to know about this young man that seemed to have such an infatuation for death. Why would anyone so young want death???

Then it dawned on me. It's that familiar pain, sorrow and confusion without guidance that overcomes us all at some point in our lives. Some of us deal with it better -- or should I say differently -- than others.

The bottom line is: How do we survive it without hurting ourselves or others? If you get caught up in the causality of the war that is waged upon us all in this life you won't make it out alive. You have to tell a story, have a voice and write the lyrics of your own life.

This is what saved Marie-Claire, the Italian-trained opera singer who lives and breathes the musical genres of opera, jazz, hip-hop and reggae does, making her one of the most adaptable artists of our day.

This songstresses, with her unique voice, shook my world when I first heard her work. Her music was unlike the beats that I am accustomed to but it was oddly familiar because I had heard it before in the tone of Ella Fitzgerald and in the sadness of Billie Holiday.

Another dear friend, former model and designer Lois Samuel, introduced me to this creature with a broken past who embodied healing powers that come from within the gift of her voice.

Marie Claire was born in Dominica West Indies and moved to the Bronx, N.Y., as a child. Due to her love of the two cultures, she has split her time between both places as an international performer. She is the force behind the song "Chasing Rainbows," a piece she wrote as a memoir to her abused past and as a message for those who struggle with abuse to continue and share in her desire to survive.

Sad is her story, a story that I'm sure many can tell. But it takes courage for both she and other artists to stand publicly and shed light on past shame, hurt and risk judgment from their fellow man. I doubt financial wealth is the motivating force to share personal pain... So I am lead to believe it is a gift, a force greater than the suffering they each have endured.It is that pain that fuels them. And we, the others, embrace it so much because at times it is our same story and we find peace in allowing someone else to tell it in a book, sing about it or rap about it, than it is for us to open our own can of pain.

After meeting her, instantly I wanted to hear more and more of her gift. The mesmerizing tones that transform you from a place of chaos and dismay to a land filled with rainbows and hope.

Maire-Claire's rainbow dreams are our dreams, our hopes... I welcome her to the stages of my world, with the hope that she will one day collaborate with of the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Common or Rakim to share her voice and bring her hip-hopera to the masses in the same way that Kathleen Battle and Queen Latifah took the stage.

What a wonderful fantasy I hope and pray come to fruition. Until then here is some "Rainbows" for those low days...
- Huffington Post/Myrdith Leon McCormack


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

marie-claire is an Italian-Trained Opera Singer Who Lives and Breathes the Musical Genres of Opera, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Reggae, Making Her One of The Most Adaptable Artists of Our Day.

Her recent engagements include singing the National Anthem for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclay Center, performing standards with Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra in LA and she continues to appear at the Metropolitan Room in New York City. She has also spent time in front of the camera as a cast member on the second season of Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central . marie-claire also performed at the Central Park Summer Stage Lyricist Lounge for a crowd of 5,000 people with Black Moon’s DJ Evil Dee and Doug E. Fresh who nicknamed her “The Queen,” due to her astounding performance that gripped the crowd. Other NYC venues include Joe’s Pub, Smalls Jazz Club.

She was classically trained to sing opera by Maestro Guido Caputo and Maestro Frascati of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. Further training includes two years under Marc Forrest in Los Angeles and exclusive study under Raymond Buckingham in New York City. It was Buckingham who recognized the rich and deep vocal timbre of her voice, discovering she is a rare operatic contralto. This discovery, in tandem with her extensive vocal training, led to her debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Grand Opera Company in the roles of Maddalena from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Azucena from Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

While she has mastered the art of opera and jazz, she also has a unique vision for her craft — to fuse the dramatic lyrics and themes associated in opera, jazz, hip-hop and reggae genres into a new category. A New York Times critic nicknamed the new style “hip-hopera” and she has embraced the term as she introduces “hip-hopera (the fusion)” to the world.

The blended genre is displayed in her rendition of DJ Logic’s “The Anomaly” and in her original songs “Red,” “Desperation” and “Chasing Rainbows,” an extended play track produced by Grammy Award winning Producer Scott Jacoby and written as a memoir to her abused past; it is a message for those who struggle with abuse to continue and share in her desire to survive. The sexy, innovative fusion style is also present in her completed extended play track titled “The Dreamland Project,” which features marie-claire singing well-known reggae songs in operatic style such as Bunny Wailer’s “Dreamland,” Bob Marley’s “Rastaman Chant” as well as original reggae tunes such as “Care For You.”

marie-claire was born in Dominica West Indies and moved to the Bronx, New York as a child. Due to her love of the two cultures, she has split her time between both places as an international performer. The list of performances in her native Dominica is extensive, including live performances at LIME Creole in the Park Festival, regional events including the St. Lucia Love Fest, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival and the Love Is All We Need concert in Antigua. Other venues include Russell’s in Antigua, Weekenz Bistro and Bar, Christopher’s Jazz Café and Red Bones Blues Café in Jamaica.

marie-claire’s current projects include the full-length album titled Under the Covers. She represented The Bronx in the Battle of the Boroughs on April 5, 2013 at The Greene Space in Manhattan where she performed her original jazz song, “Chasing Rainbows.” marie-claire had already beaten over 500 artists to be showcased in the battle. marie-claire’s 2013 engagements include more apperances at Metropolitan Room, Blues Alley in July and Voces del Jazz Festival in Cartagena, Colombia in August. In addition marie-claire recently has been featured in the Huffington Post and Cocoafab.com.