Photo Credit: Sarah Midkiff
Last night Gabrielle Marlena was on stage delivering the latest from her recent release, Easier Love in the Lower East Side at the Rockwood Music Hall. A country between us, I’m pretty sure the crowd was more than happy with her amazing single, “Sorry I Ever Fucked You.”
If that’s not a song we can all attach ourselves to, then I don’t know what is. We’ve all been there, unfortunately, but at least Gabrielle Marlena took the cringe-worthy and turned it into a delight. We talked about how she came to be sorry, and also what’s to come next after her most recent show in the Big Apple.
Kendra: Not every musician starts out that way. You initially went off to college to study economics. I aced that in high school but cannot tell you today how. Are you still using that knowledge today or are you all in when it comes to music?
Gabrielle Marlena: Well I actually also have a day job working in sales and marketing. Making and distributing music is expensive, and I’m lucky that my college degree has enabled me to hold an interesting job in another industry that pays the bills. I can’t say I draw on economic theory every day, but my college experience taught me a lot that I use on a daily basis, not only at my day job but in the music world. Communication skills, research, writing, handling a crazy busy schedule etc. are all important strengths to have if you want to succeed in the industry.
Kendra: How was it adjusting to the Brooklyn music scene once you left Montreal?
Gabrielle Marlena: I miss Montreal sometimes, but I can’t imagine leaving New York. I always felt a little outside of the scene when I lived in Montreal, which probably had to do with (a) being a student and (b) the French/English divide in the city.
I would perform sometimes through student events, but not as much as I would have liked. When I moved to New York, I immediately felt as one with the hustle here. There were so many other musicians trying to have their voices heard, from all different backgrounds and places. But it also didn’t feel competitive when I first arrived. People just wanted to help and make connections. And I love Brooklyn because it’s just a step away from Manhattan, but in no way in its shadow. Indie music is making it’s home here, and there are so many amazing performance spaces opening up every day. You can really never lose motivation.
Kendra: So let’s talk about “Sorry I Ever Fucked You.” We talk about universal songs here a lot but this is one of the first I feel like millennials can all truly relate to, especially with the Swipe Right For Sex culture we’re in. Now, did just one person inspire this tune or was it a culmination of interactions that left a sour taste?
Gabrielle Marlena: I for SURE had one person in mind when I wrote this song, which is why there’s such a genuine bitter and sad tone to the track. I was feeling hurt and disappointed, mulling over specific interactions and events.
You’re very right about millennials being trapped in the swiping for sex culture. I did meet this guy on Tinder, but it wasn’t a one-night stand. Rather, it was a long-lasting casual fling that really got my blood boiling after a while. I think what’s really starting to piss me off is the culture of anti-commitment that I’ve found to exist in NYC. There are so many people here, so no one wants to date just one person. If you lose one opportunity, you can find another in a minute on a dating app. People take each other for granted, and that’s what’s really starting to get to me.
Kendra: Back to locale real quick. Do you feel like Easier Love represents more of yourself in Montreal or in Brooklyn?
Gabrielle Marlena: Neither! Easier Love represents me while I was on my tour across the country. Sometimes it’s necessary to see sprawling landscapes and boring highways to remember how to put things in perspective. Easier Love is about moving on and finding independence and confidence in what you create out of your own life. It’s hard to recognize the magic of yourself when you’re stuck in a routine.
Kendra: You celebrated the release of Easier Love and your birthday around the same time (happy belated birthday by the way!). What’s next for you in terms of shows? Are you staying local in NYC?
Gabrielle Marlena: Thank you!! Birthdays are weird…and often anticlimactic. I was glad I could combine mine with this release to make it feel more special. Yes, for the time being, I’m staying local. I played a few full band shows to celebrate the release of my EP, and I’m going to be working on writing new music soon and performing solo. Back to the basics.