Mariko writes music based on what is affecting her at the moment. She does not restrain herself by style or subject matter. Instead, her songs vary, creating a wide range of sounds and stories, each one just as compelling as the last.
Just like New York City changes from block to block, Mariko’s records do the same from track to track. From the pop-rock “Losing Faith” to the watery piano ballad “The Truth Is Free” to the danceable “You,” each of her songs does something different, while her core personality remains consistent.
Mariko’s path to these songs came by way of Japan, Boston and finally New York. It was in a Massachusetts school, though, that the Astoria singer-songwriter first experienced the creative spark for music.
“I grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and I grew up poor. My mom picked us to live in that area (Brookline, Mass.) because they have an amazing public school system,” she said. “In eighth grade, I was in music class messing around with percussions with my friend Jack and everyone was going crazy over the beat we were creating on the spot. From then on, I was drawn to music because it came naturally to me and I really enjoyed the feeling I got within that moment.”
From that first beat, Mariko found her way to recording her first EP, “On With The Show,” years later. Although she was working with two talented individuals, their busy schedules extended the recording to two years. By the time she finished knocking out these songs she wrote in college, she already had many more waiting in the wings.
While she said the experience helped her develop as a songwriter, Mariko added that her abilities had vastly improved for her second release, “Better Off.”
“My songwriting has drastically changed for the better in my opinion. I’m still learning and growing, but I would like to think my lyrics have improved in ‘Better Off.’ Also my knowledge about dynamic changes, chord progressions and overall production has grown,” Mariko said. “It’s important for me to acknowledge that I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with so many talented musicians and producers who have taught me so much.”
Mariko said she learned a lot about playing live from several festival experiences. Last year, she performed at the CMJ Music Marathon and Summerfest. In 2012, she had a couple of dates on the Vans Warped Tour.
“I learned so much about the music business and what to do/not to do while performing at those festivals,” she said. “For example, I learned so much about touring, how to sell CDs, who attends my shows when I performed at Warped Tour and Summerfest.”
Mariko is back at CMJ this year, with a performance at the Gibson Showroom in Hell’s Kitchen on Oct. 23 at 7:45 p.m. Besides seeing her there, you can also visit www.marikosmusic.com or www.facebook.com/marikosmusic for the latest news and tunes.
– Joe Marvilli