Quick Q and A with Marina Evans

 Marina Evans, a musical fixture on Cape Ann, has been spreading her music wide and far and wide and delighting her audiences. Marina’s strong vocals are memorable and her collaborations with her husband, Bernardo Baglioni are full of vitality and a strong sense of commitment to their art.

To learn more about Marina Evans, check out her website.

Here’s a video of Marina and Bernardo!

Marina and Bernardo will be playing at the me&thee in Marblehead, MA on March 15, 2019.

We’d love to know about your connection to Rockport!  Did you grow up there?

Yes, I was very lucky to grow up in Rockport! Even though I first left home at age 14 (boarding school) and have been moving in and out of town every few months since then, Cape Ann’s air, sea, and landscape have always stayed with me.
Were you musical as a child?  When did you start singing and playing?

Yes, I come from a very musical family. I started playing violin when I was 4, clarinet when I was 9, and joined the school chorus in middle school. I took voice lessons in high school and started gigging in a jazz duo, but I didn’t study voice more seriously until college. I started teaching myself folk guitar in college as well — thanks entirely to Eva Cassidy. Her version of “Early Morning Rain” was a game changer for me, and inspired me to start playing, singing, and writing songs.

Who were your early musical influences and have they stayed with you into adulthood or has your taste and sensibility shifted to include different kinds of influences?

My musical influences were always pretty varied, even as a kid, thanks to my pianist mother and my father’s infinite vinyl collection. As little kids, we listened to a lot of early rock’n’roll – Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, etc. – along with big band music (Count Basie, Duke Ellington). It was through the big bands that I heard great vocalists who first really turned my head around – Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Billie Holliday. I will admit there was a brief and regrettable hiatus into boy band fandom around age 10, but fortunately my brother saved my musical soul with a classic rock mix CD he made (Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, Thin Lizzy, Boston) – and I haven’t turned back since. I’m finding now a lot of these influences that have seemingly lain dormant in my writing in recent years are coming back around again – I am rediscovering my deep affinity for southern rock these days, for example. So here’s to an ever more complex melting pot!

We’ve heard about your life in Rockport, we’re eager to find out about your connection to Italy!  Does it, perhaps, have to do with meeting Bernardo? 😉

Indeed. I studied abroad in Florence, Italy in 2008. I was actually slated to study in Paris, France, as I had been studying French since elementary school. But my university’s music theory department didn’t approve of the theory programs offered in Paris; the only city in Europe that had a music program that was up to snuff was in Florence. So music brought me there by default. I met Berna towards the end of my sojourn, after I had started recording the first three songs I’d written at the time. We met in the studio, and played a gig together. Let’s say we were mutually intrigued at that time – but I had to get back to New York to finish school. We didn’t meet again until 2 years later in 2010, when I was back in Italy visiting friends. Berna and I ran into each other by chance, and the rest is history. My 5 day stay turned into 6 months, and some years later (after a lot of travel back & forth!), we were married!

Do you like the experience of recording?  What have you learned about the process that would be helpful to aspiring recording artists?

I do like the experience of recording. I’m much happier recording vocals than instruments, just because singing comes more naturally to me. I’ve found that the two most important things going into a recording session are 1) preparation and 2) flexibility. Knowing what you are going for (and how to achieve it – through practice!) can help direct the session & improve your result;  but being open to change and new ideas is crucial as well.
Tell us about Tide and Stars.  What are you most proud of with this recording?  

While I am of course proud of all of it, one of my favorites is the song “Foxes” (unreleased) – it is a co-write I did with one of my oldest friends. He sent me a greeting card with a poem in it; I read the poem, picked up my guitar, and immediately played and sang the whole song from start to finish. That almost never happens! Similarly, upon hearing my acoustic version of “Foxes,” Berna heard a fuller arrangement right away. And what he came up with is just so beautiful. It really feels like this song just sort of “happened” to us – a mysterious visit from the muse – and for that I am so grateful!

You are a music teacher.  Do you primarily teach children?  Does that get tricky when you’re working with kids of all ages and their voices change with age? Do supply them with tools and tips so that they can adapt?

I teach voice, guitar, and ukulele to kids ranging in age from kindergarten through high school; I also have a few adult students. It absolutely can get tricky teaching voice to kids as they grow – especially boys. I do my best to create an easygoing environment where they feel comfortable experimenting – some vocal techniques require silliness and flexibility! – with the goal of providing a few general tools and exercises that they can apply to their singing throughout their adolescence and into adult life.


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