Marsha Swanson, The Interview Series.

Words By Joey Rochert.

Hello, Marsha, Let’s talk about your new single, ‘In Parallel’, what is the meaning? 

The song is reflecting on what is involved in maintaining a long-term relationship. I reference swans, as a symbol of loyalty. Not only do they mate for life, but they can often be seen swimming in parallel together over great distances. As humans, we have many distractions and interferences both internally and externally that can knock us of our path. In the video, I use ballet to represent the expansive dance involved for any couple.  I include in this dance, each person’s understanding and management of their own inner child. I also wanted to get across that whilst some threats to the relationship may be conscious, others may only become knowable via dreams. However, it is the ability to face up to or throw sentient light on what lies in the shadows,  that can ultimately strengthen a relationship.

I found it particularly poignant to learn that swans sing when they die.  I feel that each song of mine is perhaps a swansong of sorts, because there needs to be a death to give rise to a birth so it is inherent in any creation.

Which artists in the current industry inspire you the most?

The way that David Bowie continued his music to the very end of his life, incorporating his own dying process into his art was profoundly moving and inspiring. Even though he died in 2016, the ripples of this legacy are still powerfully current.

My daughter listens to a lot of Billie Eilish and as a result of this, I have been exposed to more of her music over the last few years than almost any other artist. I have been really struck by the power of her vision, from her songs to her videos, her performance and even the way she engages with her fans. 

What is the best thing about being a musician in 2023?

All musicians who lived through the pandemic have seen that music still has a place, even when we can’t perform live. For all its widely reported problems, technology has enabled us to both record and share music without even leaving our homes and that is incredible. I think in 2023 we are all appreciating being able to play live again, whilst also knowing that whatever the circumstances, the music will still play on!

Photo Credit: James Sebastian

Is there a certain place you often go to write? E.g a certain room, or environment?

When I’m writing for my own need to express something, it will always be on my piano in my lounge. A piano that goes back 3 family generations and is still able to keep its tune! If I’m writing as a commission, or as a project or co-write, it is a very different head-space and I can do that anytime and anywhere!

What is your first memory of music? 

I don’t know that I could trust any answer I gave to this question. Memory is so unreliable as we tend to construct and fabricate our stories without realizing it, shaping them subtly over time like a Chinese whisper. However, I do have consistent and powerful early childhood memories of my Dad’s best friend singing to me before bed on his guitar. I loved his voice which was gentle and soothing. It certainly had a formative impact on me.

Photo Credit: Marsha Swanson.