Spotlight features interviews with musicians and industry professionals who contribute to our success.
This week we proudly feature singer-songwriter and melodic heavyweight, Kristen Marlo. On the verge of releasing her first new recordings in seven years, we talked about her childhood in New Mexico, some memorable experiences at Seatac airport, and her advice for her peers.
Artists like Kristen are performing for Gigs4U every day in the Seattle area. If you book corporate events, private parties or just need top notch musicians and sound professionals for a one-of-a-kind concert experience, fill out the form at the bottom of this page for more information.
You are from Aztec, New Mexico. What was it like growing up there and what affect, if any, did it have on your music?
Growing up in New Mexico was hard for a lot of reasons. It was a very small town, it wasn’t very cultured and it had a difficult education system. I had the same choir teacher from 7th grade until I graduated. I wrote songs and played the piano. I didn’t pick up the guitar till I was 16. There was no one person who got me started. I just remember always writing and making my family or friends or strangers in the grocery store listen to my songs. I was writing songs basically from the moment I could speak. They weren’t good, but I was writing them.
How long have you been playing professionally?
I have been playing full time for the last 3 years. But I’ve been playing out in the world in a professional capacity since I was 17.
When did you start working with Gigs4U and how did it come about?
I think it’s been 2 years now? My wonderful and uber talented friend Kim Archer turned me on to it. I respect her musically, she was kind of my mentor when I first moved here. I think she respected my hustle and thought Gigs4U would be a good fit.
What is the most memorable thing that has happened during one of your airport shifts?
There was a group of children from Africa, probably about 25 or so. They were five feet from me just staring with amazement. After I was done with a song I started talking to them. Turns out they were a choir and were in the States for a competition. I asked if they would sing me something and they did. It was absolutely beautiful. Hands down one of the most magical moments of my life.
Is music your full-time profession? Do you have any side hustles?
Music full time. Doing that is hustle enough. It’s hard, but I do truly love it. I am grateful for every opportunity I receive to do music as a living.
Who are some of your biggest influences? Who have you tried to emulate in your career?
I really like Sara Bareilles. I have been fortunate enough to open for her twice and getting to chat with her about her career and the struggles is really special. She played LA hard for several years and was rejected many, many times before having success. I also really love Brandi Carlile and Jason Mraz. Jason and I have a very long, tangled history. It would be a dream to open for him some day.
What advice would you give to younger musicians just starting out who want to give a music career a shot?
I would say thick skin is important. Do what you love regardless of all of the doors that may close along the way. Eventually the right doors will open.
What has been the most satisfying moment of your career so far?
I got to perform at the Life is Good festival in Cambridge MA. Singing in front of 25,000 people is just humbling and amazing. Also, any time I sing the national anthem. It’s a really powerful moment and terrifying because I’m used to having my guitar.
What’s next? And where can we find you online?
I will be releasing three new tracks starting in January. I haven’t released anything since 2012 so this is a big deal for me. You can find info about the releases and where I’ll be performing by signing up for my mailing list at www.kristenmarlo.com. I’m on Facebook and Instagram under kristenmarlomusic.