MARISSA SAROCA says I’ll take Manhattan

KASAMA Vol. 24 No. 3 / July-August-September 2010 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

MARISSA SAROCA says I’ll take Manhattan

Newcastle singer-songwriter Marissa Saroca has been a busy girl since the release of her debut album Cheaper Than Therapy. The twice-winner of Best Female Vocalist at the ABC Newcastle Music Awards lets us in on what makes her tick, her love of New York, and the role models who have inspired her fresh, soulful sound.

Marissa Saroca Q: 2008 saw the release of your debut album Cheaper Than Therapy. What have you been up to since then?

Marissa: I left Australia and spent seven months between New York and Toronto, Canada, working and gigging, making contacts, song-writing, and laying the foundations for a possible move there. So then I moved to Sydney for the rest of 2009, preparing for another couple of months in New York.

Now I’m going to Europe/UK, and I’ll have a week in the Philippines.

In terms of working with other artists, I’ve recorded for local acts like The Humm, The Stickupkids, play regularly with Mark Wells’s band, and have guested for bands around town like The Nickson Wing and Little Blak Dress.

Q: You’ve toured through the US and Canada, and are about to embark on a tour of the UK, but where has been your favourite place to perform?

Marissa: Everyone says it — and has the T-shirt to prove it — but I am totally in love with New York City. It’s such a vibrant city and people just go out to hang and watch music.

People are so open to new acts and talent, it’s such a great culture and setting for music and the arts. Everyone is an actor, dancer, songwriter or musician, so you meet interesting, inspiring people at every turn.

Q: You have a few gigs coming up at the Grand Hotel and Longbench. Are these residences?

Marissa: I’m not playing with just one band at the moment, so it’s often that I’ll have no gigs on any given weekend and then get some calls on the Thursday and find myself with three!

The Grand Hotel gigs came up like that, last minute, not a strict residency, though I do have another one this Saturday and a few when I get back in October.

Longbench has music Friday and Saturday nights and I happen to work there too (it’s my Clark Kent job) so it wasn’t too hard to twist their arm for some regular appearances.

But I do a lot of fill-in gigs for bands and duos, and then have my own spots at places like The View Factory and the Brewery.

Q: Where does most of the inspiration for your song-writing come from?

Marissa: I’m really interested in human nature and relationships. A lot of my songs have come from my life experiences, but it can get a bit confronting, leaving me feeling very exposed sometimes.

Q: Who were your musical influences?

Marissa: I credit Mariah Carey for teaching me how to sing – I used to copy her runs until I nailed them. I also loved Whitney Houston, and pretty much every singer with soul who could belt. Once Alicia Keys came out, though, I kinda found my place.

Q: At what age did you first realise you were serious about a career in music?

Marissa: It was always my dream to be a successful recording and performing artist, and I was doing what I could through school, university, and full-time work in a media job, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I realised it just wasn’t gonna happen without me dedicating my life to it.

This article originally appeared in the Newcastle Herald, 29 July 2010 and is reprinted here with Marissa’s permission.

You can sample Marissa’s songs at