Mari Joyce is a Norwich based singer songwriter who is accompanied by strings and percussion.
Musicmuso were invited to attend a Hanson reunion gig a few weeks ago in the Norfolk area and whilst there, we got chatting to Mari who was in the front row of the gig, armed with frilly knickers ready to throw at the boys (now men). Prior to them taking to the stage, we asked Mari some questions, heres how it went....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence....
Soft soulful meditative songs, organically crafted, weaving gentle melodies with subtle guitar picking, strings and percussion.
How has social media aided your music?
Facebook is certainly a helpful way to spread the word about gigs... And SoundCloud has been a great way in which to share songs. I can feel like a bit of a luddite at times... I probably have a lot to learn about harnessing the full blown powers of ‘social media’... Any tips welcome!
There are many solo singer songwriters out there, what makes you different?
I think authenticity is important in the process of music making. I use songwriting as a way in which to tune in to my inner process, drawing predominantly on improvisation, as well as dream journals and automatic writing. Music making is process for me, and the songs become documentation.
'Open Your Eyes' is a superb track, is there a story behind the song?
There are probably many stories... And they change with time and reflection. The song came from an experience... or a moment of reflecting on an experience. But it feels limiting to try to tell that story. The way that I relate to it continues to change. And to define it’s meaning might limit what naturally emerges in the mind of a listener. I’m with Susan Sontag on this one (who wrote ‘Against Interpretation’). I no longer own it once it exists outside of me... So I am much more interested in the story it creates for you the listener.
Who would you recommend that the MusicMuso readers should check out in 2014?
Norwich is bubbling with wondrous musicianship at the moment. I highly recommend checking out Dr Clyde, Echoes in the Well, and Milly Hirst, to name but a few local beauties.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
My Step Father: “There is only one path worth following; the path of heart.”
Your voice is mesmerising, when was the moment you realised you had this talent?
I don’t think I’ve ever ‘realised’ such a thing. I was painfully shy at school and was terrified to be heard singing, I remember mouthing during choir so as not to be heard! I think I’ve just relaxed into expressing myself.
Do you have a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
I used to like a bit of Hanson in my teens...
What gives you inspiration when writing a song?
Just being interested in what emerges. They tend to come out in bursts of improvisation... It’s nice to carry them around when cycling, to show them different landscapes. Movement always seems to help with the birth of a song...
First song you leared to play on guitar?
An Ani Difranco song, ‘Both Hands’ I believe. I was besotted with her songs and would endlessly seek out her tabs online, working out the rhythms.
First gig you ever went to?
Glastonbury Festival with my parents when I was a wee babe.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Joni Mitchell’s ‘Silky Veils of Ardour’, for it’s beauty and flow.
What does music mean to you?
Music is another language. It the language of the heart. Whether listening to others or creating my own, it is tapping into the world of feeling.
How do you think the folk genre has changed over the years?
Somewhat perhaps...? No se...
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Pooh Bear. The way that he wanders through nature asking questions and being interested in things.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Lord only knows...More importantly, will we ever live in a world in which musicians aren’t asked to explain the meaning of their songs? He he he...
What are your plans for 2014?
To finish an EP that’s been in the making this last last year, and to venture out on a little tour in the autumn. I’m off on a retreat into the mountains of southern Spain soon, so I hope to immerse myself in some writing and being a hermit....
There was a problem backstage at the Hanson gig, they realised that since the age of 13, they had not been able to sing the 'high notes' in the chart topping track 'mmm-bop', which frankly, is the only one that people remember. Whilst Isaac, Taylor and Zac went on a hunt for extremely tight jeans, we steamed in with some quick fire questions.....
Coffee or Tea? Green Tea please
Coke or Pepsi? Are evil...
Mac or PC? Are some computers...
Fry Up or Sunday Roast? Roast yum.
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl for the cool kids.
Car or Motorbike? Bicycle!
Shower or Bath? Bath steeped in lavender...
Tattoos or Piercings? All of them if you like.
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? Are quite similar no?
God or Google? Goddesssssss.....