The second-year Concordia student is truly musically gifted
After a short conversation with her, it’s apparent that Erin Marcellina has proved a master of her craft. Her love and passion for the art is undeniable and her knowledge about the subject is truly impressive.
Originally from Ottawa, Marcellina moved to Montreal two months ago to study in the music department after one year of online classes. She is excited to face new challenges in a more arts-oriented city like Montreal, something that was lacking in Ottawa.
“There is not really anywhere that a musician could really go in Ottawa. There are not a lot of opportunities, but in Montreal, there are musicians everywhere and there are opportunities everywhere so that’s mostly why I’m here,” she said.
The 19-year-old has been submerged in the world of music since the age of three. Her mother taught her piano, an instrument she has been practicing ever since. She took a two-year break from music when she was 15 because she felt overwhelmed with how serious and competitive it was becoming. Later, she fell in love with it again. She taught herself the guitar, and began singing, writing, and composing. She comes from a musical family where both her parents are accomplished musicians: one in classical music, and the other in rock and metal.
“I was really lucky because I got introduced to both sides of the spectrum of music, literally like choral music and then heavy metal so then I was kind of able to explore within those genres and I am really grateful for what my parents showed me and I am super lucky that my family is so musically oriented,” said Marcellina.
Marcellina takes a singer-songwriter and folk approach to her music, and draws inspiration from artists such as Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Men I Trust and Daniel Caesar. While she shares similarities with all of these artists in terms of style, she is also influenced by a multitude of different genres, from funk, to soul, to even metal.
Whenever she is composing, she will approach it in a music theory kind of way where whatever genre she is listening to, she will try to identify certain notes and chord progressions. She becomes inspired by these and writes them down to play and interpret them in her own style.
“My inspiration for my music isn’t just within the genre that I listen to. As a musician you can kind of pick out things, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Like, I can listen to a super metal song and then through that find elements that I can put into a folk piece,” she said.
Marcellina released an EP in 2020, Wait for You, which was all independently produced, mixed, and mastered. It borrowed singer-songwriter elements with touches of folk and indie music. Her music can be described as emotional with her gentle piano and guitar lead ballads, personal lyricism and mellow vocal lines. It all makes for an appealing listen that captivates the listener into the world she creates with her songs. It can also be quite sad with tones of nostalgia spread throughout, a sentiment she likes to incorporate into her music and play with.
“I cry a lot when writing music. Composing is a very emotional process especially with the lyricism and the things that I write about. Everything that I write about and put out there is very important to me. […] Everything has an important backstory to it. It can be quite the emotional toll to write, especially an entire EP,” she said.
The Ontarian singer was supposed to release an album last year, but she felt differently about the love themes it explored. She then decided not to release it.
However, she hasn’t ditched the album completely because even though she doesn’t feel that way anymore, it’s still something to hold on to and is a possibility for her to change some aspects of it in order to maybe release another version someday.
“I have been trying to revisit the album but it’s one of those things that when you put so much emotional value into your music or into your work it’s kind of hard to go back and revisit it. It’s kind of like when you smell a perfume that you used to wear years ago,” she said.
In the meantime, Marcellina is set to drop a single in the near future, which she hasn’t done in almost two years. The song is called “Couple Years,” and while it is a folk tune, it is inspired by Radiohead’s “Let Down.” The song doesn’t have a release date yet but while waiting for it to come out, you can always listen to her first EP Wait for You.
Photo by Juliette Carpi