Q+A: 5 minutes with Marianna Winter

Bang Bang, she shot me down; Marianna Winter sports a firearm in her newly released music video for her single ‘Consequences’. Directed by Trygvi Danielsen, the video makes its debut soon after the song was first released late last week and has already earned support from the celebrity entertainment magazine CelebMix who voiced that they are excited to watch the Faroese American pop singer grow, saying we cannot wait to see on the mainstream map.”

So what exactly makes this gun-toting diva tick? We interview the Tutl Records signee to find out:

Stream / Download: Marianna Winter – ‘Consequences’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

It wasn’t really much of a choice. I’ve basically been performing since I was a baby. I was born in West Hollywood, and I think it always felt like I was supposed to be up on a stage. My parents would take me and my siblings to concerts from an early age, and I’d always get an overwhelming feeling in my whole body of wanting and needing to be on the stage. I would be thinking, “I WANT TO BE UP THERE AND SING TOO” the whole concert. I still do to this day when I’m at a concert, even though I get to perform all the time.

The fact that music became my creative output is honestly probably random in some ways because it could’ve been something else. I love filming and editing the visuals for my music as well as for other artists. I love dancing (when I’m alone, not so much in front of others, ironically). I’ve always dreamt of acting, but my insecurities have held me back.

So I write music. I write when I’m sad, happy, jealous, angry, excited… it’s definitely a constant in my life and even though not everything I write will be released, it’s always a part of me and the projects I work on in some way.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The idea always comes first. The idea for a chorus or a verse. Or an idea of what I want to write about. That can pretty much set the tone for the production and chords as well as melody or words. I’ll usually get these ideas when I’m driving my car alone. I always get so many ideas when driving, and then I’ll record them on my phone. Sometimes I even have to park somewhere just to write down a verse, chorus, or just a line that I just thought of.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I collaborate with other songwriters and producers, but as for the new material, there aren’t any other artist collaborations on the tracks. That said I work with so many different Faroese musicians, artists, and songwriters!

We’re a whole collective of talented, creative people who work together on each other’s projects, so sooner or later there will be collaborations on my releases!

What’s on your current playlist?

A beautiful Norwegian artist called Beharie has been on replay. He writes beautiful lyrics as well as music. His music is sort of indie meets neo-soul and reminds me of Daniel Caesar while still being totally original.

I’m also listening to a lot of indie-pop and R&B artists such as Rachel Chinouriri as well as Hope Tala, Mahalia, Joesef, and Olivia Dean.

A classic for me that I can always go back to is ‘Tin Man’ or ‘Ventura Highway’ by America.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It’s awesome. There’s nothing better than connecting with my audience. That feeling when I’m singing a song that really resonates with others, and I can see in their eyes that they’re fully in the moment with me. It’s so cool.

Of course I do have a couple of songs that are meant as more ironic and funny, but even those tend to get people to feel good. They move their bodies and feel sexy, which I love.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I try to get different things into the production, from all the different music I listen to.

It varies from Pop to Jazz to R&B to Indie-rock…. there’s so much and it shouldn’t fit together, but sometimes it just does. And then you’ve created something that no one else would think of.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I like to get into the studio pretty early, not too early though, but around 10 AM with a coffee and a snack. If I’m working in my studio, I’ll just start by listening to a couple of voice memos that I’ve recorded (probably in my car) or notes I’ve written. Then I’ll choose the one I resonate best with that day and then work on that. I’ll press record and start improvising melodies, different parts, maybe I’ll mumble some words that I end up writing from.

When I work in sessions, it’ll be me with a producer and sometimes another songwriter. When I work with others, I love to hang out for a little while, small talk about what’s going on, what am I feeling, what’s something I’ve had on my mind this week, etc.

We’ll then choose an idea, topic or something I’ve started on, and we’ll start creating a vibe.

Then moving on to improvising melodies, writing lyrics, etc. Basically the same as when I’m alone.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I think I’ve always just known and because of that, I’ve always worked towards it in some way. I’ve never chosen another option or road that has led me away from it. It’s just naturally where I float towards.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

WATER. My mouth will dry up like the Sahara when I get nervous.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Beharie is definitely a top pick!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Being out of my ordinary element. Travelling and being in a new city or even just on a plane, in a car, on my way somewhere.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I am! I’m a part of an acapella Jazz trio. We write and arrange our own stuff as well as perform our own arrangements of songs by The Andrews Sisters.

We’re writing an EP that we’re going to record live in a beautiful studio here in the Faroe Islands.

I’m also playing and singing backing vocals for another Faroese artist called jazzygold.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think just by working with other talented people and learning from them. I feel like I’m a better songwriter every time I’ve finished a session. Even if it was a bad session and the song didn’t turn out great, that’s probably when I learn the most.

Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

NEW music! Killer visuals! and I’m hoping I get to perform internationally even more this year so I can meet more people and connect with them through music. The new stuff will also vary in sound. There will be a little something for everyone.

Famous last words?

Remember to look at progress with a wide lens and not with binoculars.

Watch the official video for ‘Consequences’ below:

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Image credit: Dania O. Tausen