The Coffeehouse Invite is hanging out on The Alameda! Singer-Songwriter, Mardi Morillo and I enjoy some great drinks at Crema Coffee as we talk about his life and music. Mardi worked in IT for many years then had lost part of his eyesight. Through that time he has now found his passion in creating music. We’re excited to have him as our guest and to have him perform his acoustic song “Searching” for our CHI exclusive. He is also the host of Crema’s Monthly Songwriter’s Showcase that gives artists a platform to share their work with the community. Read on and get to know more about Mardi!
Interview with Mardi Morillo
The Coffeehouse Invite: What’s up Mardi! Thank you for joining The Coffeehouse Invite. Tell us what your you do.
Mardi Morillo: I pretty much do music full time. Managing social media, trying to book shows and perform at open mics, producing content: recordings, videos. And I also collaborate with other artists on video and audio production.
The Coffeehouse Invite: How did music become something you love to do?
Mardi Morillo: It was a little accidental. I've always loved music and picked up a guitar to learn one song, but from there I started writing songs and performing.
The Coffeehouse Invite: Your creative influences are all over the musical spectrum from 90’s R/B, cold play and alternative music. Can you share with us your favorite song from one of your influences and tell us why you chose this song?
Mardi Morillo: Though I have many favorites. I'd have to say John Mayer’s “Stop This Train.” It was the first song I learned and it opened my life to making music and writing songs.
The Coffeehouse Invite: What is your creative process when you start to write music?
Mardi Morillo: I usually play around on the guitar until a chord progression or a guitar part moves me. Then I try to find lyrics and vocal melodies that fit well. But I've written with lyrics first or song titles, I find these methods less organic in my experience so they are more difficult ways for me to start.
The Coffeehouse Invite: Your original song “Searching” gives me the feels! Can you tell us the background of your song and how it came to be?
Mardi Morillo: That was a song where the chord progression came first. I used a vibrato playing style while strumming a chord and I knew I had to write a song around, and the lyrics came later. I think lyrics often simply express what the music is trying to say through pitch and rhythm. Lyrics provide an explicit meaning that the music delivers in an implicit way.
The Coffeehouse Invite: What are 3 tips on staying creative you would like to share with others?
1. Believe in yourself. This sounds like a platitude, but it's not. I think any artist needs to understand who they are and what they want to/are capable of expressing. The more you know and accept yourself the more authentic and stronger the voice of your expression will be. The less you worry about what others are doing and how a given audience will receive your work.
2. Nothing is original. All artists are thiefs in a way. Imitate and steal from other artists and if you combine it with enough sources and if you know and believe in yourself you will transform those influences by putting them through your point of view.
3. Find people. An artist can be an island but it's art like anything is improved by a community. Have a friend of peer that you trust to give you real feedback. Be inspired by people in your circles. Other artists my give you influences to draw from. Friends and family may give you stories to tell through a song.
The Coffeehouse Invite: I think it’s so important for artists to connect and network in our very own communities so it’s great to hear that you host a monthly songwriting showcase. Tell us more about.
Mardi Morillo: Yeah doing open mics, I always wanted something longer form where my friends and I and others in the community could work out our material and develop our respective sets and performance skills.
The Coffeehouse Invite: What can we expect from you this year? Any upcoming shows or projects?
Mardi Morillo: I try to book several shows every month. At least two a month, and I try to split my time in various areas in California. I may have more things to announce later this year with some other artists. We’re still finalizing details.
The Coffeehouse Invite: At CHI we encourage others to reach out and find people to collaborate with. Are you looking for anyone to work with? If so let, our CHI community know.
Mardi Morillo: No one in particular, but I'd love to meet more musicians. So if anyone wants to get in touch, please contact me!! Thanks again for having me on. These opportunities to get people to know an artist and their work are a vital part of community building. This is a great platform!
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