BY BILL HEATH
When someone sings so well that a room full of people are totally immersed in the performance, then it’s a safe bet to say the person singing knows what they are doing, and more than likely have been crafting their vocals long before the moment of impact…
When you combine a naturally talented vocal with a desire to sing well and learn the craft, you get solid results. Marley Priest is a great example of that formula. “Ever since I was a young child, I have always adored music and performing arts. I was lucky enough to attend a school with an arts-centered curriculum from kindergarten to eighth grade, which exposed me to different forms of art and allowed me to express myself in ways I hadn’t in the past,” said Marley.
It is my belief that each and every one of us possesses a level of greatness that can be easy, or hard to reach. It is through life circumstances that we discover our own greatness. Sometimes, greatness reveals itself through situations that aren’t planned, but that happen through difficult circumstances, as was the case for Marley…
“In the sixth grade, my family experienced a horrible tragedy. I was offered the chance by my grandmother to sing a song at the funeral, and I warily took it. I did a simple a cappella rendition of ‘Shenandoah’ by a band called Lucius, which was recorded and put online, unbeknownst to myself. The video was shared around on Facebook, and after seeing the encouraging words from my family and friends, I gained a newfound confidence, and realized, ‘Hey, maybe I’m actually pretty decent at this.’”
Since then, Marley has performed with several local bands and musicians. On December 17th, she will perform with the Muddy Creek Players and will be singing three all-time classic songs. When you hear her sing, it is obvious that she goes beyond just learning the words to the song. She is a true student of music. I asked her how she prepares for performing covers of songs, and her answer is quite impressive, to say the least! “This sounds a little strange, but how I prepare for a cover is by ‘immersing’ myself into the song. My first step is to read the lyrics, sans music. After that, I listen to the original recording and then research the origins of the author and the song itself. I do this because it allows me to find a connection with the lyrics and message, and empathize with the characters that the author has created. Following my interpretation, I always study the music outside of the vocals and familiarize myself with each individual melody, harmony, and instrument that goes into creating the instrumentation. Then, I begin to sing along with the track repeatedly until I can wean myself off of it, and get to the point where I can sing it a cappella. After properly ‘learning’ all aspects of the song, I fine-tune my vocals technically until I feel I am fully prepared to perform. While this process is lengthy and somewhat tedious, I feel this is the best way for me to feel personally ready to cover a song and convey its message properly.”
Marley performs with the Muddy Creek Players, in the Muddy Creek music Hall, at 8pm, on Saturday December 17th.