Last year at Electric Zoo I met a ton of great people. Standing in the media tent I met and hung out with Chuckie, Markus Schulz, Boys Noize… tons of artists. I also had the opportunity to meet Marcie. We connected, and have stayed in touch via email over the last few months. I didn’t realize how good she was at first. It actually took me finally sitting down to listen to her podcast Behind the Lyric. (It’s really good, by the way. Make sure you check it out. You won’t be sorry.) After seeing her video for World’s End, I just knew I had to schedule an interview. She has been so nice in the process, even though it took a few weeks to get a date and time confirmed! Since I have interviewed several people who not only know her work, but are good friends of hers. It’s funny, one of those guys has her cell phone number… but has never met her. I have met her, but don’t have her cell phone number… We called it “the perfect storm”. Rather than sit here all day and tell you how great she is, why don’t I just introduce you to her? I am so happy to introduce you to Marcie.
So Marcie… is that it? No last name?
Yes, I use Marcie or Marcie Joy as my artist name.
So we first met in New York City at Electric Zoo. We have stayed in touch ever since. Was that your first time at Electric Zoo?
Yes, we met in the press area! You are a very friendly guy, and it was fun to talk to you while we waited to interview artists. It was my second time at Electric Zoo. I’m so happy to have a festival like that here in the states. The second year was much bigger than the first, so hopefully it will be even better this summer.
So you’re a singer… and a songwriter. Which do you prefer? If you had to choose only one, which would you pick?
I’d pick singer. I love to write music, but as a singer I have the choice of an infinite number of songs I could sing and learn from. Songs are sometimes like friends that keep me company. Singing keeps my mood in balance. I think the loophole here is that I would still write poetry, so I would find ways to generate my own art even if I wasn’t songwriting.
Tell me what it is like working with Armada Music.
My releases on Armada are ones I’m quite proud of. Being on Armada Music has opened some doors and given me exposure.
Most singer/songwriters don’t really mess around with beats. What was your motivation to get into dance music?
I’ve always sung. I grew up studying voice, piano, and dance, was in rock bands all through college, and trained in musical theater. I started to truly focus on songwriting for dance music about five years ago. I became immersed in the EDM scene, and really grew to love it. I’m grateful to have a non-EDM background because I think it brings some versatility to my songwriting. I still love to work in other genres, but EDM is my favorite. I have so many happy feelings associated with dance music
There are so many great DJs out there. Who are you listening to right now?
I saw Carl Hanaghan DJ at the Hed Kandi party in Miami, and he blew me away with his combination of genres. I have downloaded a bunch of his sets. I tend to download new podcasts every week to keep on top of the latest vocal trance releases.
I am sure it’s different for everyone, but what’s that feeling like when you are up there singing in front of so many people? Do you get nervous?
I love to be on stage sharing music with a crowd. It’s a time I feel self actualized. I am doing what I love to do most, the very best I can do it, and I am sharing my joy with others. It’s not about being the best in the world. It’s about being my best in whatever situation I’m in, and living up to my potential.
I get frustrated when there are technical issues on stage, and I wish I had a budget for a bigger stage show. When I get nervous, I give myself a lecture about how short life is, and how hard I work, and how I’m not going to let nerves stop me from performing to the best of my ability. I remember to be grateful for the opportunity, and I try to shake off the nerves.
Being on stage has to be nerve racking. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I’ve been performing for many years for all sorts of crowds, so anything I’ve feared could happen probably already has. I now have a huge checklist of things to remember before I perform so that anything that could be in my control is taken care of. Live and learn, right? Once, when it was my time to perform, right before my set, we realized that my backing music CD had fallen under the DJ table. I only had one copy, and the DJ wasn’t able to grab the CD because he was mixing. I had to walk on stage, and crawl under the table, and find it. It wasn’t my most glamorous stage entrance. I learned to have back up copies with me.
Who are some of your biggest influences… in music and in life?
I love the singers who tell stories with their voices, and are distinctive both on stage and off. There are people I meet every day that I admire, from old friends to strangers. Most people are doing their best to survive and be happy. I will also mention my parents. They are always there for me to help keep my confidence up, and to remind me how far I have come. I have watched them work incredibly hard over the years, and they have inspired me to stay tough, keep pushing, and not be afraid to fall. Every step forward is an accomplishment, and sometimes we have to go backwards to go forward.
You do a lot of interviews. Do you prefer giving the interview, or being the one interviewed?
Lately, I prefer interviewing others. I usually go in with a set of questions, but as the interviewee answers them, I think of new things I want to know. Asking questions helps me crystallize my own ideas.
Not sure you know this, but I LOVE di.fm. Your radio show is broadcast on not only that website but also on over forty major FM and online stations. First off, congratulations on your success. Tell me a little bit more about the Behind the Lyric radio show.
Behind The Lyric is a radio show I produce featuring artists telling the stories behind their dance tracks. There are so many EDM tracks whose lyrics truly speak to me! I wanted to create a dialogue between listeners and songwriters. Songwriters spend hours pouring their heart and souls into a tune, and it’s worth taking time to focus on the craft of songwriting, and point out the personal tales that inspire a lyric, and the behind the scenes studio life. I love the feedback I get from listeners. There’s a deep dialogue happening between listeners and artists as a result of the show. There is a lot of mutual respect and support going around, which has been inspiring and heartwarming for me to see. I hope to have more episodes, and for them to be viewed as part of the history of dance music.
Do you have a job outside of music?
I do. I live in a very expensive part of the country, and there’s no way I could survive on the money I make from music alone. I work as a nanny. I have a degree in psychology, and working with children has always been something I wanted to do. I’m grateful to have a day job that I enjoy and that inspires me. Every day is new, and kids constantly surprise me with their creativity. I like my jobs, but it is a struggle to balance the work loads.
Is there a lot of competition out there, with so many DJs in the scene?
Yes, there’s competition in any field. It’s not always who is best that makes it to the top. It’s a combination of skill, hard work, more hard work, persistence, and some luck. It’s sad that there are so few spots at the top. There is a lot of unrecognized talent, and it would be nice if we didn’t have to compete with each other for such limited resources. Competition can be inspiring, but it is also divisive.
In your opinion, how has the Internet changed the way people absorb music?
People tend to repeatedly listen to styles of music versus repeatedly listening to a specific artist. We have many more choices for what to listen to, and I think repeat listening has decreased because we are always able to move quickly on to the next thing.
Man, I love the video for World’s End. Tell me a little bit more about the video and the process for shooting that.
Thanks! I had an amazing time writing World’s End. We had a concept for the track right from the start, and saw it through to completion. It’s a track dedicated originally to athlete’s in the World Cup, but extends beyond that to relate to people everywhere who are passionate about life. You can click here to see the official music video of World’s End.
The video was directed by Synergy Events, which is a company here in Boston that throws incredible fashion shows featuring international and local designers. I performed at one of the fashion shows during Boston Fashion Week, so that’s how I met the company owner. We shot the video in one day here in Boston. It was a bit impromptu, because one of the models was sick the day of the shoot, and then we got in trouble for trying to film in the train station without a permit. We had to revamp the script on the spot. I am happy with how it came out. It represents the idea that that we are all looking for relationships we can feel certain of, and we all have insecurities, and share a need to be loved and encouraged to reach our dreams.
Your voice… your voice is incredible. When did you first realize that you could sing like that?
Thank you! I always sang as a kid, but I didn’t realize people might want to stop and listen to me sing until I was about ten years old. That’s when I started to realize singing was like storytelling, and it could captivate a crowd. I could sing for an audience and they would listen to the story. Since then I’ve put countless hours into finding my sound, and learning and polishing techniques to use my voice as a tool of expression.
What’s the best concert you have ever been to?
I saw Sufjan Stevens perform this year in Boston. I expected him to be good, but I had no idea that he would be one of the most multi-talented artists I have ever seen. He sang, and played many instruments, was a band leader, danced, had charisma, and his show was full of art and passion. I loved it. Actually, I can say the same for Harry Connick Junior and Ani Difranco. They are also incredible live.
As a songwriter, where do you get inspiration for a new song?
Songs are both questions and answers. I’m inspired by my emotions, and experiences, as well as what I see others experiencing that is similar or different from my own life. I imagine myself in various scenarios and I try to work out my confusion through my songs. I have a non-stop drive to create and share ideas with other people through music. Music is the language I understand best, in both joy and pain, and so I’m inspired to speak in that language. I try to write songs that reflect a moment in my life.
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played to?
37,000. The energy was incredible, and they had the big jumbotrons projecting video from the stage to the people in the way back.
Four. And technically only one of them wasn’t working at the venue. He was my only audience member. Fortunately, he was right up at the front of the stage, waving his arms, and singing along, so he made up a little bit for the vast emptiness around him. I’ve always learned that a performer should do their best no matter the crowd. It’s so true that performing is what we make of it. If I enjoy my material, then it doesn’t matter the size of the crowd. I have fun because I want to sing no matter what.
Social media has been all the rage lately. How are you utilizing Facebook and other social networks to brand yourself and your music?
It’s hard to brand oneself on the generic layout available Facebook and Twitter. But I definitely enjoy the social networking aspect of the Internet. I have met a lot of collaborators and friends through the web.
How many stamps are on your passport?
Quite a few, but there’s room for more! I will be touring Europe this summer, and hopefully will add some places I’ve not yet been.
Your work is not only known all over the world, but has been supported by some of the biggest names on the planet. How cool is it to have guys like Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, and Paul Oakenfold not only listen to your tunes, but support them along the way?
I appreciate all the support I’ve received along the way. There have been many people all along the way who have given me a chance to be heard, as well as opened their ears to my music. Without their encouragement, I would not be where I am today.
At the end of the world… who do you want to be there holding your hand?
It’s humbling to realize we all die alone, isn’t it? It’s something no one can prepare us for, and something we face all on our own. We spend a lot of our time and energy avoiding thinking about the inevitable end.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I don’t know exactly. I hope I look in the mirror and feel happy with how time is reflected in my eyes. I hope I will be comfortable with myself.
You are still very young, but what do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
Being true to myself, and helping others feel inspired, and fulfilled.
In all of the interviews that I do, I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
Raise it up we’re screaming loud.