The multi-talented Bernice Marsala really knows her stuff when it comes to the journey of a good track, from visual lyrics to production.
Bernice Marsala is an independent songwriter, artist and producer based in Nashville. Covering vocals and guitar on her tracks, with the help of her drummer husband, Bernice already has a catalogue of hits and the release of ‘Burgundy’ is the proof that the musical talents’ future is looking bright.
We had the chance to chat with Bernice about all things music and creativity, so read on for some thought provoking inspiration!
Can you talk me through your creative process when creating music?
I don’t really have an exact process, it always depends on the song, but typically it’ll start with a small idea and I’ll build the rest of the song around that. In the case of “Burgundy,” I had the concept already in my mind, and the title actually came to me first, from which I derived the line “your regret is my favorite color,” and it kicked off from there.
Your lyrics have the line ‘your regret is my favourite color’. Do you often see emotions as colors?
No, in this case I’m just using imagery to hint at the storyline.
Similarly, how important do you think imagery is when making music?
If there’s a story in the song, I think it’s an effective way to paint it for the listener, so to speak; to “show” instead of “tell.”
You work with your husband who is the drummer on your latest tracks. Do you often have the same vision for a song? Or are your thoughts different when it comes to music?
Truthfully, I usually have a mostly-complete song before I bring him in, and I let him work his magic from there. Sometimes I’ll have an idea of how I want the drums to sound at certain parts, where I want him to come in and drop out, etc., and he’ll base his part off of that and fill in the gaps on his own. Other times I’ll just ask him to run with it, and he’s got a knack for feeling the direction I want the song to go in. For this song, I really didn’t give him any direction. He just vibed with it immediately and knocked the whole thing out in two takes.
Burgundy is an up-tempo number, and the vibe really suits you! Is this pace your tempo, or do you also like a more ballad-style track?
Thank you! 🙂 I do have a tendency to write more ballad-style songs, but I really like the pace of “Burgundy” and my previous up-tempos, like “Little Fires” and “Don’t Miss You At All.” So, as much as I love my ballads, I would love to (and plan to) do many more like this in the future.
What is some good advice for someone starting out in the music industry?
Don’t let anyone tell you there are guidelines to being an artist/songwriter! Like, for example,
“you have to gig x number of times a week – oh, but you may have to play some shows for free”
“you have to find a label to sign you – but you can’t approach them, they have to approach you”
“don’t make your lyrics too vague because then people may not get what the song is about – but don’t be too specific or they may not relate to it…”
Music is subjective. There is no magic formula. Just play/write what you like and are proud of, and there will be other people who enjoy it.
Have you been given any bad advice during your career?
See quoted lines above 😆 It’s not all bad advice necessarily, but I would say to take it with a grain of salt because everyone’s got their own tastes. What five people hate, one person might love, and it doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong because you couldn’t please those five people. They just might not be your target audience.
If you could be on any festival line-up, who would you like to share the stage with?
I grew up hearing a lot of Jim Croce, which probably had some influence on my writing and playing – especially if you look at my older songs. So if he were still living, I think that combination would make the most sense stylistically.
What does the future hold for you?
A lot more music and hopefully even more listeners!
So, what did you think of ‘Burgundy’? Let us know over on our Twitter!