Blog: In my own words

NEW ALBUM NEWS : 'When We Were Raw' 

I've just scheduled my new album 'When We Were Raw' for digital release on December 5, because I have some big personal tragic stuff to deal with at the moment so I'm taking every day at a time and living with prayers and hope. I plan on making some videos and shoot a bunch of new photos once my mascara stops permanently running. I think this album is my best work in spite of 18 months of total emotional exhaustion, losing half a stone and gaining life lessons. I got to play everything pop, country, jazz, indie, reggae and some Rn'B but they all sound like me (Marcie) so I'm happy. Thanks for keeping the faith, I'll be back better and stronger soon! :)

Track Listing is:

1. When We Were Raw
2. Anything Country
3. That’s Not Rock And Roll
4. 2008 (Twenty o’ Eight)
5. That's What Hurt Me The Most
6. Feel Like I’m 21
7. More than one way to love
8. Keep Ups
9. Eff U
10. Blindside

Hands Clean 

As a big Alanis fan I loved 'Hands Clean' and as I have neglected my fans on social media for a long time (but not in my heart and mind) I thought it was time I explained.

Recording my 'Bed ' album last year and the writing leading up to it was my way of throwing myself into my work after coming out of a friendship and feeling very broken. I won't say 'relationship' because it was one sided and meant much more to me than it deserved to, I just didn't realise for a long time, but nevertheless it took me a year to get over it all. So for most of last year I was hiding from standing still too long and moping forever so I and threw myself into anything and everything, and then went months in the opposite direction and became a social recluse even to my friends. I hated social media and the whole digital lifestyle, and still prefer real people and a human face and touch to digit dancing anyway. Nevertheless it's a good way to reach you all but I did I blame social media for ruining my life, but I'm over it now.

Two months ago I met someone else and decided to trust again, but the fun I had and finding I'm capable of sharing my real thoughts more than I had for ages, meant that I was distracted from writing and recording again for 'Anything Country'. Also I had to find myself additional day work to live and eat so that has meant even less time to do what I love.

Still with me so far? What i'm saying is I'm a real person with highly emotional feelings, so I do my best work when I put myself first and can focus on letting out what's in my heart. Whenever I was too happy it was always harder to write my best songs, I mean like nobody wants to hear "I'm so happy, I have the perfect lover and everything I want I get" as much as "You did me wrong, my heart is in pieces and now you're gone". Now my latest relationship didn't work out I'm kind of not even mad or sad or angry but I feel like I'm full of ideas again and ready to write with a smile and not through tears like when I was working on 'Bed'. I just wrote a rocking punk song in 5 minutes called 'That's what hurt me the most" but it's reflective not sad or angry and I was smiling when I just sang a guide track recording on my recording deck.

I'm saying thanks for your support and patience in waiting for my next album which I'm still breaking myself into pieces trying to get out in June. I have just about 10 songs, of which only four are recorded so far and I have a block of three days next week to try and finish three more to get back on course. I'm human and I keep a lot to myself but now I'm sharing the reasons for my roller coaster fall from social media with you, because some of you are probably like me and will get that. A brave face never won any prizes but taking time out to come back a bit wiser will hopefully put a new shine on my music. I no longer need anyone's approval but my own. I'm excited about this album and I can't wait to sing the vocals and let you hear it. I don't need to impress a future partner or friend anymore, i approve and that's all that matters and my hands are clean again.

My big 'Bed' debut show 

Last night I played my first show, at Gun Factory Studios in London, after three years since I set out as a solo artist. I decided to do an online streamed concert as an experiment, not only with technology but also because I wanted to reach as many of my fans and followers in the music markets of the world. Additionally I'm pseudo American in many ways and realise my sound lends itself to the sounds and genre of country too so it decided to play as late at night as I could in the UK allowing for studio time and rules, so my show went out at 10pm from London. I wanted to play at 1am so may another time if I can arrange to have the help. The show also gave me the chance to put myself up there under pressure doing something I love so I hope that came through in what you were watching, because I felt so free and relaxed and on the biggest high for ages. Now I know I'm a 'proper' performer and nothing will ever faze me. I'm my biggest critic and will work even harder now to be good value and bring smiles and fun to what I do and share my heart with you in my songs.

I arrived at 5pm and we had lots of technical issues with the streaming and my laptop wasn't working so I was thankful to Kevin Jacobs from Live Nation for being there and managing the entire output for me.
The show itself went well and I learned so much about how important it is to pace myself and my voice, but only because I ended up shouting a bit at the end after lots of rehearsing earlier. Next time I will just sing a few lines of each song in rehearsal, but most importantly I want to have some singing lessons personal to me so I can improve my range and save my voice! I will be looking around for the right teacher soon and am already having piano lessons every week so my life is totally consumed with my work as a musician now, and I have even more absolute belief in my songs and direction.

When I have the show footage I'm planning to make some highlights videos and want to book some live shows at festivals next year. Much as I enjoyed playing the pub and night club circuit in past bands I want to reach out to different audiences this time. It's taken three years to shape my sound and I know exactly what I want to do next and my next album will contain similar 'Marcie' sound songs that I want people to relate to and hopefully get me I'm the process. I hope to get to your city soon to play live and my dream is to come back to New York and visit the Upper East and West sides I loved when I was living there....gossip girl... xoxo

Four months of finding the right shoes, two of walking in them 

I can't believe it's been 6 months since I last blogged! Well yes I can because I know I have grown so much as a musician and indeed a person in that time that it has taken all my energy just to get through it a difficult phase in my life. My new album 'Bed' is scheduled for release on May 25th, and for the first time since I started out on my career in October 2012, I feel as if I've found my sound and style and to me it is the perfect collection I always wanted to make.

I played my earlier tracks recently and I can see that it was more in an Indie and guitar rock style than Pop and I was veering into 80's and 90's 'Blondie' type territory with songs like 'Scratch, 'Brag' and 'Reputation Points', which isn't a bad thing but I always felt there was something missing in my own interpretation and I was never that angry or looking to stand on a pop punk soapbox anyway. The missing ingredient was a beat I couldn't put my finger on until now. I've also had piano lessons and always felt my songs needed more piano, synth and strings to help them flow and also have width, and although I'm still learning I'm able to hear the finished product before I've played a note. It was only when I tried things on the track 'Crave' that I started to be drawn back to my roots, which are more pure bubblegum pop with, a sometimes dance rhythm. I love(d) acts like The Sundays , Paramore, Pink, Regina Spector, Vanessa Carlton and tracks like 'Kiss Me' by Sixpence None the Richer and 'Primadonna' (Marina and the Diamonds), and of course Madonna, Gaga, and Britney. Melodies are the single most important thing that make me do any of this and when a tune comes to me out of nowhere it's as if somebody up there wants me to use it because I never sit down with a guitar and set out to write songs, they just come to me and I work backwards from there and then add the chords.

I've listened to music since I was born and I grew up on US artists so my sound will always tend towards an occasional tendency to go to the country and I have a track on 'Bed' called 'Your Cake' that, to me, adds variation and gives me a chance to strum again :) I was at a friend's house the other day and found myself singing a John Martyn song 'May you Never' which has a very country feel to it but I immediately changed a few chords to make it fit how I felt the song should be coming from me. I feel fortunate in that when I attempt or choose to do a cover of a well-known song I'm not thinking of the original so I don't find myself trying to impersonate the singer and use the same nuances and ad libs they did. A song is a song, melody and lyrics, and that's the beauty and freedom of being able to interpret it how I feel it. If I can't feel a song then my heart won’t be in it and if that's the case then it will show. I doubt I could become a manufactured artist told to sing something I honestly can't engage with, unless I was given freedom to strip it back and make it mine even if it meant changing a few words here and there without detracting from the message.

Phew, I'm getting all philosophical and preachy to myself which is not my style OMG, but anyway I hope you will give 'Bed' a good listen and let me know if you get what I was trying to put across. Most of all, I hope you're humming the tunes and want to download them and share them with your friends :) I've spent four months recording and making 10 music videos (one for each track on 'Bed') so this time around you will get to see me interpreting the songs as they seem to me, and I guess somewhere in there you will also see an actress who chose music just because she doesn't have the hours in a day to do both...but in her heart the love of acting will stay and come around again I hope.

Staying on my marks as a trolley dolly 

Music took a back seat the past couple of weeks to deal with a lot of emotional personal relationship stuff but now I am back and ready to go again. Despite the angst I have with my esteem and self image I guess I'm lucky I can channel that through my songs, but I realise not everyone has that outlet, so if I come across as needy and self analytical in my songs sometimes then it is actually part of my healing process that you get to share . Last week was busy with regular Jane daytime stuff and I was partying yesterday and it is good to have so much manic variety in my life right now. I have some great new tunes in line to be recorded and am actually listening to Radio 1 again which helps me keep current, but I'm back in Live Set mode now for a while and will be in touch with some festivals again for next year.

I still want to record maybe four more music videos for 'Crave' songs so I will be discussing that with my team this week and hopefully we can do this before the weather changes. I knew I had to record the 'Crave' and 'Autograph' music videos in the sun because I visualised halycon days and a taste of the country when I was singing them. The remaining songs can be shot in the studio so I'm looking for sets where I have enough space to give me the same freedom...and annoy my videographer and AP by not telling them when I'm going to leap out of shot!..although I am getting better at staying on my marks now. Some film sets are good for tight camera work, but not so good for long shot or moving 'dolly' type motion shots so this time I need to think about what I MIGHT do in the videos, although I will always be an improviser since I trained in it :) Of course with a mega budget and Sony studios to manage my entire choreography I could put myself anywhere and play any scene, but we are small fry right now and I have an amazing team that make brilliant stuff and work so well with me, so if I ever did get a big budget then I would keep the same team to manage it we can all all learn by doing.

I'm really grateful my fan base is growing but I still dream that somebody somewhere may accidentally share my songs to a Mr Big music mogul who has a zillion Facebook followers and I can at least get it heard by the size of audience I need to reach. I don't have the money to do it myself or the know-how so every little bit of help you, my friends, can give me to share my music with your friends is one step closer to my dream. My dream was never fame or X Factor, my dream was always affirmation in my music and acceptance of myself. I would love my words to make a difference to lots of people and my melodies to become songs people will want to sing in their smallest room too, so any name dropping with 'Marcie' in it would be welcomed.

Loving the hate but doing it for the love  

I was out an about last week shooting videos for tracks on the 'Crave' album and learned even more about photography and video editing. I had additional help this time, but ended up doing an extra unplanned outdoor shoot for 'Cry it Out' the day before the scheduled studio shoot on Friday.

On Thursday afternoon we went out to look at a future location and found a wonderful picturesque backdrop by the river with some boats moored. My helper, who is fast becoming like my manager too, only had an older camera in the car with him but we decided to use it to see how we would work together. The location was so good and the weather so bright and sunny that we found ourselves there for over an hour, so we shot the video there and then. The quality is low resolution but good enough to view at smaller screen resolution 640 pixels (for media buff techy fans!), so I uploaded it to You Tube as I was pleased with the scene and what I did with the song completely improvised. I only chose 'Cry it Out' that day on the spot because it has the line "I won't let myself sink" and as we were out on the water it was sink or swim! I didn't consider it one of my strongest tracks when I wrote it and made the album, but the feedback I've had has been positive and I like it more now, so it was a fortuitous choice after all as my first would-be 'single' from 'Crave'.

I did get one odd 'hater' comment about my singing, but I know I am unique and have a weird voice anyway so please don’t compare me with ‘The Voice’ or X Factor ‘proper’ singers. I'm not a fan of You Tube 'likes' and 'dislikes', because it encourages trolls and anyone who does not personally like me or is intent on trying to bring me down, assuming they think as an unsigned pauper new artist I am 'up there' in some way... so I take that as a compliment :D. Rihanna's song 'Dem Haters' sums it up well, and one of my true fans said "If you have haters you're doing good", so that made me smile with gratitude, what a fabulous line to believe in! My simple view is to ignore haters because they don't matter or affect me, so it's all for nothing.

The following day we were in the studio shooting videos for 'Dignity in a Shell', 'One of Those' and 'Brag' so I can't wait to see them finished soon. I'm practising piano every day and rehearsing the 'Crave' songs that will be in my live show, once I am ready (and get some chances set up), and there is a lot of marketing to do so I am always trying to be the best I can be at this to stay ready to perform as an artist. That's all I can ask of myself and the rest is out of my hands.

I am very happy though I stuck with finishing 'Crave' when I wanted to die some days. Now there is no stopping me and I'm here to stay. I'm already writing for my next album next year, and may release a few 'singles' of new songs I write that can't wait until they find their way on the album! Thank you for believing in me and supporting me, it means a lot and I owe you all a personal hug one day :D

Living in the moment 

My latest album 'Crave' is now available (19 June) for download and/or streaming from Amazon. iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and many more. I will write about the experience and progress in my next post but today I wanted to say this because it resonated with me.

Just reading Taylor Momsen's Wiki entry (I love her voice and band 'The Pretty Reckless'). I had no idea she has been a Model, Actress and Singer. She says "Music is where I can be me. Acting is easy. I've been doing it for so long and I totally love it. But you're playing a character instead of yourself. Music is more personal because you're writing it and you're involved in every step of it."

I have been a model, actress and singer too and had to make a choice in October 2012 to do this for the same reason. I haven't achieved anywhere near her standard of experience and great work but my feelings are similar as an unsigned pretty unknown performer.

Acting is about living your character in the moment through yourself. Singing is about being naked in the moment living only as yourself. Music is also in my hands and I can play every day and indulge myself for hours writing songs and am happy letting out my unique feelings and thoughts. Acting is wonderful when you have a role to work towards and a partner to play to, but lonely when you are talking to yourself as somebody else reading monologues, and however hard you try to create an audience it is still just you and somebody else's words you are saying to the space or walls. You have to imagine the expressions and feedback. With music the feedback is in how my heart feels about what I am singing out loud as myself.

If I were acting every day I may never have picked up my guitar again, it is hard to do both. I did not make the choice because I had given up on acting or thought I had a go and was not good enough, just that I had the songs in my head and had to get them down and it took me over. I did not know I could confidently sing them either, until I had to as there was nobody to help me and I had started recording by then. Since then I have worked on singing and playing and learning piano so I am doing my best to live in the moment every day now.

It's so positively nourishing to say 

....That ....I've just finished putting down all of the music tracks and arrangements for my forthcoming new album 'Crave', after four months or so and many hours of late nights. I've not decided the final track running order listing, but these are the songs:

1. Brag
2. Demigod
3. Freefall
4. Crave
5. Reputation Points
6. For saying Yes
7. Dignity in a shell
8. Autograph to You (All’s Fair in Love)
9. Do it for the Love
10. Cry it out
11. One of Those
12. Don’t make me Bitch

I've had lots of mini stresses and strains, and I only realised yesterday that my posture is not good when I'm sitting down playing or leaning over the mixing desk, and that's why I've had all kinds of nervous tension and muscle strains. I had blood tests for anemia and allergies because I have been so tired too but they didn't find anything yet so I think it's just that I've been overdoing things. Also I had extreme hypertension and tingling in my hands from too many hours without a break, and nowhere near enough water so that I've dehydrated. I've stopped drinking too much coffee too because that was making it worse and there have been tons of tears. My sleep pattern has been bad for ages.

Today I am a bit better and drinking lots of water and lemon to help my voice ready to sing for you! The good news is I have done the hardest part so will be laying down the vocals over the next few weeks and singing my new songs acoustically so I can feel more free when it comes to the ad-libbing :)!

There are a lot more keyboards on this album and I have tried some new beats, but I think it is very much a progression from 'Valid'. All the songs have my sound and I think fit together as a collection. I will spend an age mixing it this time after learning so much about levels and production so I hope I will get it right first time.

I EXPECT 'Crave' to be submitted for distribution to the online stores around the beginning of August, so it hits my October target at the latest. Some stores and streaming sites can list it within a few days, others can take 6-8 weeks. I will upload it to my own website as soon as it is ready, which will have samples of every track. I will keep you posted though and upload some samples and full versions in sites such as Reverbnation so you can hear it first!

Here's a sample lyric line from the title track 'Crave'. I wrote it for a girl I was thinking about, which is very left field and unique for me, but I had to write about it because it's been on my mind a lot.

"In an ordinary world a lot of gumption gets the girl
But it’s so positively nourishing to say….that I ....

Crave for you
I wanted to stay with you
I made a mistake with you
I crave for you"

Enjoy the sun!

It's Crave! 

It's official, my new album will be called 'Crave' and most of the songs have been agreed now, plus I managed to do the artwork and agree on the best image after some great feedback from you my lovely friends and fans! I have taken an age to record the title track and it has changed from a ballad to being a semi-dance rhythm. I am more influenced by dance and hip hop on this album and there are a lot more keyboards than on 'Valid'.

Speaking of which I am having piano lessons and really loving the new perspective it gives me to my songwriting. I have to be careful though because the finger numbering is different to guitar and I find myself forgetting that my thumb is Number 1, and not T as it is in guitar notation!

I also had a message from a Hip Hop Instrumentalist who wanted to use some of my vocals in a collabartion (ala a '.feat Marcie Mycroft' type thing), and I was up last night recording 7 tracks/samples for him to use. I chose song ideas that may not be on 'Crave', although one or two of them sounded better when I sang them so I may put them on the album, nothing is decided until the last moment with me! I wrote one melody in the car yesterday, but it is so strong as a chorus I am thinking about going straight in and recording it today above others I have in line for the album. That is how I worked on 'Valid' but I found that if I had such a strong vibe about a song and was humming it all day then it just had to be included.

I am itching to put something out there for you but have decided to wait until the whole album project is complete and I have 14 or 15 songs to choose from so I have thought it through fully. I have recorded 7 songs so far but not the vocals, I am doing all the vocals together in the final week. I will then spend at least a week on mixing because that was a big lesson I learned from recording 'Valid', to play the album to death on all kinds of equipment until it sounds as perfect technically as I can get it with my low cost simple means! :) Things like reverb and compression can make a big difference to the quality, particularly on vocals, and I wish I knew more about panning left and right channels, but that's why sound engineers are so brilliant. It's a real art and I have spent weeks on it and learned a lot through trial and error but I still know I would prefer some professional help too as the late nights kill me. I want to get back to a normal persons sleep pattern soon and enjoy the summer, and I need energy so I can walk miles again, sitting in a chair mixing music at 2am is not good! Listen out for some new stuff soon and thanks for following me and sticking with me on this, I promise myself (and you) that 'Crave' will be worth the scars!

Unravelling Like a Diva 

Yes I'm "Unravelling like a Diva" at the moment, which is a line from my song 'Autograph to You' I was working on today. It's funny how things look different a few months on. I recorded this song on 28th September last year (2013). I wasn't happy with it being good enough for my 'Valid' album so I left it out; it was too busy and messy. It's a pop song with a bit of a country rock feel but I've found myself singing it ever since and it's grown on me. I went back to it over the weekend and added some bass and a remix, and I'm doing the vocals again late tonight, but much better. Since I had some lessons I can hear the difference in my voice from the first 'Autograph' version in September :) I think it's going on the new album. It's hard to know if it really is up to my fussy standard or I just got used to it, but it's catchy enough so I hope you will like it too...assuming I don't change my mind again. The new album should be ready around October but I may take longer if I'm not happy with it then. I'm looking around for a good mastering studio in the meantime.

I've also finished recording all the music for Demigod and mixed it on the way so I just have the vocals to do this week hopefully, then that's two songs in the new album can. I may have 14 or 15 songs on the next album because I have that many sketched out that I'm singing every day and liking, so I may include extras as 'Bonus' tracks.

I am waiting on confirmation that I will be appearing at a UK open air festival in the summer and I was very excited to get a reply from them with their initial interest. I love playing outdoors and there is a top name band on the bill (OMG I am dying to say!), so I hope that if I get a slot I will be on the same day as them.