While I've been slowly writing out new feelings and reflections, I did something else that I'm proud of! I have officially released my 2nd single from my 'Drifting' project! 'Catch Me' is a slow-burn track that delivers some killer R&B style vibes. It's simple. It's honest. Most importantly, it's one of my favorites I've ever made!Read More
…feel what you need to feel. Write what you need to write. If you love something, let it go. That shit's gonna hurt like a motherfucker, but if you have an outlet, you'll work through it. Strive to be better. Never stop changing and experimenting. But most importantly,
Get an early listen to the first single from my sophomore album "Drifting" right now!
Finding calm in my life has been difficult lately. I found myself feeling very peaceful and content a few weeks ago, but suddenly an uncomfortable wave of change happened. Attitudes changed rapidly and I found myself feeling as if I was spiraling. However, while feeling as though I was grasping for solid ground as my professional life was seemingly, and once more, swept from under my feet, I found I didn't need to grasp. I'm still standing. I'm still breathing. I'm still fine.
I've never been a fan of rapid change; the kind of change that disrupts your entire being. As I get older, though, I realize that I've gotten better at maintaining my composure. I haven't perfected it, but I've gotten better. Just four years ago, I'd have called my mother in a panic and manic depression that would do more damage than good. I'd have already burned all of the bridges and given in to my compulsive need to turn my inconveniences into a blame game. But that's not who I am anymore. I don't realize it until I'm through a situation, but I've been getting my shit together. It's a good feeling. I think my biggest accomplishment of late has been my creativity.
I was the type of person that would have to take month long breaks in times of heavy stress. I wouldn't write. I wouldn't produce. I would spend my free time taking naps and avoiding anything humans should be doing. I find that I can turn these elevated blood pressure moments into music or lyrics. I can turn my anxiety into projects and goals. For instance, last night I assumed that I would sleep today away because "I deserve a day of rest." Instead, I woke up after 8 hours of sleep and decided I was going to do some music business things, write a blog post, get started on some new music and possibly work on other projects in the works, etc. Now, don't get me wrong. I'll still probably fit a tiny nap in at some point. I'm not a monster.
I have had some very good moments since my last post. It was such a relaxing and easy (and exhausting) day. Cory and I went to Harrisburg to have Hallie time and got to see my mom for a little while. She, of course, gave us wine! I got to spend a WONDERFUL day at Hershey Park with the amazing people I mentioned earlier! I will be heading back to the Hanover location for work, which means less driving and more time for life things! And, as usual, I've been creating more music. I have a few instrumentals in the works, but I've also been having fun planning for my next Open Mic Night. As much as I want to continue promoting my first album, I also want to venture out and do some covers by artists I love!
I find myself drawn to Coldplay, Pink (or You+Me), Adele... you know. Just feeling things out and trying to see what artists and songs my voice can fit into. That being said, I'll end this post with 2 covers I recently recorded. I look forward to singing them live very soon!
Let's talk influences, shall we?
I have been finding myself thinking more about my influences lately. Those of you that know me know that Beyonce, P!nk, Christina, Santigold and a few others are my obvious favorites. Those artists are "home" for me. I grew up with them. In crucial points in my life, their lyrics and rebellion helped me, and still help me, find a deeper part of myself. Note: Yes, you can still be angsty when you're 29 years old. That being said, one album down. Now I find myself getting to know myself post "DeepLove". What direction do I want to go? What styles and genres do I want to explore and/or include? Oh, the questions that arise.
Let's start with what I have been listening to lately. HARRY STYLES! Holy shit! I want to say that I hate boy bands because, you know, I do, but when these artists go solo... Wow! I have listened to Mr. Styles' album about 20-30 times now and each time I feel like I learn something a little different about him. I also learn something about myself when listening. I have learned that I am very jealous of other artists, especially male artists. I am in awe of his versatility, both in styles (no pun, intended) and vocal ability. He might be my newest musical boo.
Next, we have QVEEN HERBY (aka. KARMIN) that has been blowing my mind. I'm normally not huge on white people rapping, I have to be honest, but she is so talented! As Karmin, Amy Noonan made me fall in love with her clear and smooth vocal skills. Her rich lows and floating highs are something from a dream. The lyrics and musical styles were also very diverse, so that's something I always look for in my artists. As Qveen Herby, she seems to shed the pop style that Karmin became known for and went full R&B/Hip-Hop. She has a crazy flow, too!! Check her out.
WILD BELLE has a bunch of songs that I enjoy, but by far, "Our Love Will Survive" is a gem. I love her smoky, raspy vocals and the reggae influences. The music video is pretty relaxing as well! MARIAN HILL caught me by surprise! "Down" is the first song of theirs that I heard. Check out the pop and bluesy, sensual electronica track. Just make sure you turn your bass up the whole way. Trust me.
These are just a few artists that have been taking up my time. I like to think I'm finding more of a fondness for "carefree" music after my first effort. I've been trying out different instruments and effects while experimenting with my sound. I originally wanted to call my second album "Merlot Dreams," but it's turning into something else entirely. I am still looking for people to collaborate with, but for the time being, I've been investing in amazing sound collections and VSTs and working independently on a lot of new music.
Who are the artists that influence and inspire you? What song or album do you find yourself running back to day after day/week after week? If you're a musician, what traits of these artists or albums do you find yourself borrowing?
I'd like to end this post with a snippet of a track that will give you an idea of what's been cookin' up in my musical kitchen. I hope you enjoy!
Golly! It sure has been a while since I've written a post! One day shy of 7 months! Obviously I'm good at this!
So, 7 months later you might be asking, "What has Mario been up to?" Well, let me fill you in! A little over 3 months ago I released my debut, self-produced and self-released album, 'DeepLove'. It was such a huge undertaking and I didn't fully understand how much time, money, and emotion it would take to accomplish this. Sales keep slowly coming in and it's such an amazing feeling when I see the streams and album sales pop up. I have a few reviews and get lots of compliments, but as I said earlier, it's SLOW. In a way it's disappointing, but being realistic with myself, promotion costs a lot of money and that is just something I can't afford on at the moment. It is hard being an unknown indie artist, but I've picked up about 10k fans since November of last year - and the numbers keep growing every day - which is a great feeling!
'DeepLove' was, and is, such a powerful work for me. I understand that for most people it's going to be heavier and, honestly, a downer. The expectation is that people will listen from the beginning, start to finish, and take that journey with me. However, when your album starts with a hard hitting, raw, and distorted track about mental illness, you know it's going to be bumpy. As I've said in previous posts, it's a work that touches deep on topics such as mental illness, abuse, heartbreak, and what not, but there's so much more than that. I'm still learning from it. There is always a feeling of coping, strength, and healing throughout the entire album. It was very uncomfortable releasing this album because I was figuratively throwing my entire self out into the world. An unknown person, breaking all of my own rules of "keep it to yourself" and "don't be a burden," to someone that has acknowledged and accepted my strengths and weaknesses. I take pride in this first work because I know there are other people experiencing the same things I experience every day. I hope one day they find my album and can feel comfortable crying it out at the beginning and rising up towards the end of the work - just like I have - over and over again. What I experience every day because of my actions, the actions of others in my past, and things I can't control in my brain, will never go away, but I've learned that I am okay and that I am strong. Making this album has given me a life-line. It has given me a reason to keep creating. It has given me a reason to embrace my history and keep pushing forward. It reassures me every time I listen and sing through it, that I am loved now. Yes, I am loved by others, but more importantly, I am loved by me.
"What have you been up to recently?" everyone asked.
Well, I am working on my next project. I have about 7 or 8 different songs in the works or completed. The tone for most of them is lighter, yet still dramatic. I've been focusing a lot on my experience as a composer. I've been bringing out the strings and the brass. I've been digging deep into social issues and observing people and things a lot more. I am also trying to come up with a vlog/blog idea involving interviews of various people - trying to hear their story - so that's fun! Cory and I have been cooking a lot and drinking entirely too much wine, but have so much fun together! It's been a great few months, over all. I am very excited to share new music with you all as I create and compile these next albums!
Check out the streaming section to hear some tracks that didn't make the cut for the first album!
WOW! It's been a while since I've updated this! Sorry about that!
I have been hard at work at my retail job, but I've also been spending some (way too much, probably) time going through each track trying to find things to mix and edit for my "DeepLove" album. I was conflicted about the content of this album. I will admit that this album is HEAVY. For a first album, it is risky having such in-your-face realness without the catchy club bangers to bring more attention to the album. I decided that I didn't care. I'll write a little more about why I made that choice in a bit. Anyway, I've been wrestling with the tracklist. The second I think I have it completely finished, I find another song that would fit, or I write one that would be perfect. That being said, I've promised to myself that this last change is the final list. I thought of making this post about each track and how they fit into the story, but I've decided against that. After listening to the album over and over, and having a few choice people listen to it thoroughly, it has become apparent that the songs speak for themselves.
I like to believe that my lyric writing skills have come a long way since my teenage years. It's important to stay honest with myself as a growing songwriter. With this album, I compiled songs that were written within the last 5 years (I won't tell you which are the old ones :P). In reality I guess you could say "DeepLove" is my version of Beyonce's "Lemonade". There is so much heartbreak and uncertainty in the album. At its core, "DeepLove" is an emotional cry for help. I dig into mental illness, being lied to, being cheated on, open relationships and the inevitable downfall, being able to see beauty in yourself, forgiving yourself, finding strength in the worst moments, and the fears of finding a new and true love. I find something so beautiful in being able to let others hear my story through my music. I sing things I can't say or express during normal conversations. You can hear the vulnerability. You can feel the passion and terror. You can hear the imperfections that come with self-acceptance. Personally, to release this album is huge and terrifying for me, because I've been keeping all of this to myself for years.
I'm excited to let this chapter of my life come to a close. The more I sing the music, the more I heal, but I'm a different person now. I have found a great guy that believes in me and pushes me to be great. He inspires me to inspire others. The changes I'm making to myself are easier because he's growing with me. I'm not perfect. I have some changes to make. This I know. Things can be rough and we still need our alone time and time to grow as individuals, but we complement each other so well. I still accept that I have been damaged, used, bruised and broken down and I'm still recovering, but it's easier with someone that is willing to give his all to me. So, thank you, Cory. I feel I wouldn't have been able to complete this chapter of my life without you and I look forward to seeing how our bond grows in the future. Just be patient with me and I will be patient with you. I am striving to be better. Just gotta work on my budgeting skills! :P
I've already started working on music for the next album, but that's a while in the making. Get pumped! I'm trying to go for a lighter, more fun tone. So, that's something to look forward to! :)
January 13, 2017 will be the release date. Save the date!
1. Killing Me
2. Growing Pains
3. This Bed
4. Downfall (What Do I Do)
5. Straight for the Heart
6. Used to Be
7. Under Water
9. No Longer Made of Stone
11. Past Lives
14. The Way You Did Last Night
15. Recognition (Stripped Bonus Version)
The last two weeks were absolutely insane! Cory, Hallie and I had an amazing time in Florida! We spent some time at my dad's timeshare which was, for the most part, relaxing! I got to spend time with my family which doesn't happen too frequently these days. We had an absolutely incredible time at Universal Studios! All of this was great and good and all of that, but my favorite things about the trip were the time we spent at the beach and all of the insanely delicious food we got to try! Check out my Instagram to see some of the pictures!
This week was crazy, as well. Things were all over the place personally and professionally, but I made it through my vacation withdrawal. I realized this week how much I love my job. Retail is always a challenge, but it's helped me open up as a person. It's helped me keep myself in check. If for some reason I'm feeling overly entitled to something, I think about some of my customers and, BAM, I'm back to being as humble as possible. I will aiming for a store manager position (hopefully in Florida) by this time next year. This week also inspired some new music and new motivation. That being said, I have officially put together a playlist for my first EP that I hope to release at the end of this year into early 2017.
All I can say about "DeepLove" at the moment is that it took me quite a bit of time to get the tracklist together. I wanted to introduce myself in a more upbeat way, but I decided to take a more honest approach. I designed the listing to tell a story about me giving away my heart. The tracks include Growing Pains, This Bed, Used to Be, Downfall (What Do I Do) and a few others. This portion of the album discusses lying, cheating, mental abuse and neglect. The transition comes in with Drifting, Recognition and No Longer Made of Stone. These tracks discuss self-love, self-respect, and recovery. They are important songs to me because I've spent, and still spend, a lot of time investing in bettering myself and learning what I will and will not tolerate in my life. The last section rounds out the album with Heartbeats, DeepLove, and The Way You Did Last Night. I needed to end the album with these songs directly following No Longer Made of Stone because of that song's message. Even after being mistreated, run down, and devalued, I am above that. I will not let someone turn my heart into stone. I will love again, deeply and completely - which is quite true. I am with someone that is truly amazing and inspires me every day.
Keep an eye out for more information about "DeepLove" in the coming months. I'm excited to officially release this record!! Stay tuned!
I have vacation coming up! It's so close I can almost feel the sand in my crack. I just have to get through 2 days of being nice to people at my job and dealing with this constant eye-twitch I've been experiencing. I just have to get through 3 days of waking up in the morning in some sort of panic thinking that I slept in while I could be in the pool or at the beach. I am mentally preparing myself for this 14 hour drive. I don't mind driving, but after a certain number of hours I kind of just want to set myself on fire. I'll need to make some playlists for the drive - I'm thinking a 2 Dope Queens playlist, some Beyonce (Obviously), Ladyhawke, Santigold, Robyn, P!nk... just to name a few. I wish I had more subscribers so I could ask for ideas on new music to listen to!
I am so incredibly excited to head down to Florida on the 23rd! I'm excited because I haven't been there in 11 years. I'm excited because I get to spend time with my family that I don't get to see as often as I'd like. This is either because I'm working a ton of annoying hours, or I have been dealing with so many rude, entitled housewives, that on my day off, I just want to sleep until forever. That being said, spending time with my Dad, Stepmom, and sister sounds heavenly! I'm SO excited to be able to share this trip with Cory and Hallie! Cory and I desperately need a break from PA. It's been a crazy, but lovely few months but I'm excited for him to see me when I'm not a complete mess! I'm so pumped for Hallie to come down with us because we've never gone on a trip before. We have been friends as long as I can remember, but haven't taken to the road to share our awkward bond with the world! I'm hoping time goes slowly while we're down there so we can make the most of every day and every moment.
We are heading to Universal and Islands of Adventure when we get down there. We're going to make a day of it - most of which I imagine will be spent at Harry Potter world! I'm sure we are going to be oh so drained after that, but it'll be so worth it (I need some roller coasters in my life)! The next day we will begin our trek around Old Town and Downtown Disney, as well as making sure there's enough time to rest by the pool and get thoroughly tanned. We'll be at the resort for a few days then off to Siesta Key to feel the sand in our toes and butts! Mucho relaxation to be had, as well as a trip to a seafood restaurant and sushi bar.
I'm hoping this trip will leave me feeling refreshed and reset my perspective on life. Being in customer service for 5 years, things have gotten a little gray. Last year I took a trip with one of my best friends, Sarah, and our 4 day trip to the beach helped me so much. It was filled with meaningful conversation, lots of laughter and, of course, wine. When I came home I was stronger. I was more honest. But, most importantly, I was brave again. It's been almost a year since that trip and my life has been, once again, turned upside down. I put the end to a very toxic, emotionally abusive relationship, moved, worked two jobs, endured slumlord drama, and moved again. I. Am. Exhausted. I do have great things going on in my life right now, so I'm not complaining. Every now and then, though, you need a mental reset.
See you soon, Florida!
I'm so beyond excited to launch my new website! It's been something I've had in the back of my mind for some time, but with work and my desire to sleep as much as possible on my days off, it's been delayed. With help from the always wonderful Cory Thomas, this adorable puppy next to me, and Missy Elliott on Pandora Radio, I have an official place to post my music! Not only will there be audio recordings, but Youtube videos will soon be popping up soon. You'll also be linked to my incredibly interesting life through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There will also be this wonderful blog where you can get to know me a bit more and experience my lazy grammar skills. How excited are you right now? Adequately? Perfect!
The main reason I created this page is to share my music with the world. I have been working for years and years trying to develop my musical skills. I finally feel like even though my mixing skills aren't "amazing", I can share my songs with you all and be proud of what I have to give. I will use this blog to share personal experiences and let you in on my creative process. You can expect honesty and humor. I work in customer service/retail management, so I'm sure I'll share some of my more hilarious "Tales from The Pier."
I want to keep this short, so I will end this post with hopes for my website. I hope that whomever randomly finds or is linked to this site takes the time to really listen to the music I share. I hope that my lyrics are relatable and that my melodies carry you away. I hope, in some way, that my music will help you. Whether it helps you smile, dance, relax, cry or just sit back and think, I will be so beyond happy! So, have a listen, enjoy my feeds and my weird pictures, and let me know what you think!!