Described by Rolling Stone magazine as, “Melding the dreamy world of Beach House or Mazzy Star with Nikki Lane’s quirky cowgirl,” Marchelle Bradanini is reviving folk music as her own modernized form. Her acoustic, relaxed sound creates a feeling of tranquility while projecting the truths of societal faults such as mansplaining and consumer culture. The time Bradanini spends reflecting on current issues shows in the strength of the messages in her music.
This California-based singer has taken what’s been done and shined a new light over her genre. Being a mother by day and spending her nights writing further demonstrates that she is an artist to be watched, full of determination and bright ideas. With the recent release of her new album “Only a Women,” we look forward to seeing what Bradanini does next!
Get to know her more below:
Hey Marchelle, hope you’re doing okay during these unprecedented times. Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better! Let’s start by hearing where you’re at now – what have you been up to during quarantine? (*Just for your consideration* Has it affected your writing/production process, fan engagement, etc)
Thanks for talking with me. Well, on the micro level I have a baby and a toddler out of school, so my days are mostly filled with removing snack foods off various surfaces. Also, changing from my night sweatpants into my day sweatpants is a new ritual. I have to work and write mostly at night and put a hold on going into the physical studio for the time being. Lots of voice memo demos happening though.
On a larger level, in some ways, I think we’ve all developed more of a collective bond as so many of us have been forced to put the breaks on and take a hard look at where we are a society and how something like a pandemic highlights so many systemic inequalities. I feel lucky to be able to take a step back and listen and learn and hopefully move in a more proactive direction going forward.
Additionally, on the music front, I’ve been able to have a lot of long conversations on podcasts and IG live, etc where it feels like you can have a more direct and meaningful interaction with fans, journalists and other musicians. It’s been nice to connect in this time of isolation.
How would you describe your sound and what brought you to the genre of music you are working in today?
I’ve decided to be a pioneer of a new genre of mom-rock that is woefully underserved. It’s not music about being a mom, but more of an attitude of not caring what people think because we’re all tired and done with the bullshit. When I was younger, I used to be afraid of getting older as a woman and an artist and now I want to highlight them now as a badge of honor. You learn a few things after being in the circus so long!
What’s something that people don’t know about you?
I may not actually be a natural blond. Joan Didion is my ultimate.
Your music is very geared towards modern day societal issues and injustices. How have your own life experiences shaped those storylines?
For this record, I sort of took stock of the state of America from empty consumer culture in Chinese New Year to how we still undervalue women in Only A Woman to the relentless assault on our democratic norms and society in War All the Time and Red, White, & Blues. For me personally, I think the election of the current president in 2016 was pretty triggering in seeing a clearly qualified woman being passed over for the loudest idiot in the room who active engages in daily misogyny, racism, and general hate and division. It’s the worst sort of blow that we’ve all been living in wake of ever since.
It was difficult to try and take this anger and pain and not just be completely debilitated and numb. However, even from the physical limitations of home, I think there have been so many opportunities for people to get involved from joining an adopt-a-state through Vote Save America to learning about various non-profits doing the work and just how to be a better ally in effort to address everything from system racism and implicit bias to housing to education to reforming the criminal justice system. No day like today.
What does your process look like in writing these powerful and meaningful songs?
It usually starts with a word or turn of phrase or the rhythm of a melody and works its way into a song from there. I usually let these ideas ruminate for a while until they finally demand to be put to paper. At that point the songs usually write themselves pretty fast.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a musician for you?
I love the process of songwriting. It’s like a mysterious puzzle that can sort of unveil itself like divine intervention at the best of times. Also, being on stage and locking in with a band or the music without effort or too much analytical awareness. It makes all the other crap totally worth it in those fleeting moments.
View this post on Instagram
Took a minute away. Had a baby. Made a record about reckoning with these trying times as a woman and new mother. I was waiting to release when I could properly tour, but that’s not probably not in the cards for a minute so releasing a tune now. It’s trivial, but there it is. Giving 100% of proceeds to my hero Stacey Abram’s @fairfightaction and @nokidhungry . Link to full tune in profile. Special thanks to my musical compatriots, @scorpionfader for playing and producing, @amyaileenwood on drums, @tristentristen for her harmonic wizardry and @jonathanleahy for his laptop. Mastered by @johnbaldwinmastering ! Art by @fetzerdesign photo by @emilybeaverphoto lawn chair by @katekillsit . It’s no, Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven, but still in honor of Mr. Prine. Hope everyone is hanging in ok. More soon x
What advice do you have for other young women aspiring to be musicians?
If someone is trying to have a business meeting with you after 8pm, it’s probably not to talk about business. Also, find the people who believe in you and ditch the ones who don’t. Art and music can be subjective, don’t waste your time dwelling on a negative comment or bad review. Your achievements define you and failures are opportunities to learn. Do the work. Learn your craft, practice your craft. Explore the roots of those who inspire you and learn their music. Delete auto-tune from your presets. Use what makes you different as a positive. Support your fellow musicians.
What can we expect from you in the near-future?
Man, I’m just taking things day to day at this point. I’m so excited to release Only A Woman into the world and hopefully tour when that’s a thing again.
What major goals do you anticipate in the next five years?
I feel like an EGOT is a reasonable goal? I mean, I’m just trying to make it through the next five days at this point. In some seriousness, I’ve always wanted to score a film with original music in the vein of Aimee Mann’s Magnolia or Neil Young’s Dead Man. I also want to continue to become more civically engaged in helping save our fragile democracy from dangerous autocratic morons and faux populist demagogues trying to burn it all down.
What are you listening to right now?
New Dylan. New Phoebe Bridgers. New Fiona. RTJ4. Lots of old Folkway and Light In the Attic releases. Billie Holiday. John Prine. Neil Young. I’m an oldies kinda girl.
Keep up to date with Marchelle Bradanini by following her on Instagram and checking out her Spotify below!