For the past thirty years, Marcia has sustained a diverse career as a singer, musician, songwriter, recording artist, and music educator and vocal director in the fields of live performance, studio recording, music business administration and education. We chat to Marcia about her fifth solo release, her time on The Voice and what’s next.
Hi Marcia, thanks for taking time to chat with Forte Magazine, we understand you’re currently putting together your fifth release, how is it coming along?
We are working to finish the album, ‘Everything Reminds Me’ for the launch at the Workers Club in Geelong on Friday October 6th and the Thornbury Theatre (Velvet Room) on October 7th with my band, Isaac Barter, Matiss Shubert, Lee Morgan, Justin Olsson, Richard Tankard and special guests.
Did you approach this album any differently?
This album is dedicated to my musical mother, Teresa. She was a singer, piano player, secretary and actress in Warrnambool on radio 3YB in the war years and has been the greatest musical influence in my life. One of the songs I wrote on this album, was written for her after her passing when I was staying with my French songwriter friend, Lise Hanick in Paris. Yes, I worked with Isaac Barter to record and produce this album and did most of the demos myself over the last couple of years. I released an EP Nashville Sessions in 2015, recorded in Nashville but I had been accumulating songs since then. Isaac Barter recorded Justin Olsson, our drummer who played along with my piano, acoustic guitar and vocals that I had recorded on Pro Tools, while travelling in the past two years. We then recorded my band around that.
You’ve also recently written a thesis with musical themes, how would you sum it up for our readers? And how did you find the process of writing something more in-depth in comparison to song writing?
The Masters Research Thesis in Education, Holy Wells To Waterholes, and belonging through song is a thesis about song writing and the process of recording and writing songs. It is an auto ethnography that also looks at my lived experiences as a songwriter and is basically five songs and five chapters. I have also been a music educator for the past 20 years. I currently lecture part time in Music Education at Deakin Uni, and Collarts in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
You were a part of the legend that is Goanna too, what are some fond memories you had from that time?
I was the youngest member of the band. It taught me so much professionally – both musically and business wise and personally I formed some life long friendships. I have great memories of seeing Goanna perform at the Eureka Hotel in Geelong in 1977 – when I was still at school!
Does your brother Shane play much of a role in your solo career now (for advice, in collaborating etc)?
We come together now and then to perform. In 2016 I was humbled and honoured to be awarded Artist of the Year at the Port Fairy Folk Festival where I launched my Nashville Sessions EP with my band. I did do one show at the festival with Shane and my talented younger brother, singer songwriter, Damian Howard as the Howard Family. The three of us have co written a song I recorded with my band on this album, ‘Love Will Always Lead You Home’.
What’s the biggest thing you learnt from the Goanna experience?
Songs can change hearts and minds, and believing in what you sing about does matter. Fame comes and goes and the music business does also. The connections we made through Goanna with Indigenous Australians informed my sense of belonging in this Country. At the end of the day it’s the art and the connections you make through the songs that matters. The music and the songs live on.
And how did your time on The Voice last year influence your music?
My nephew William encouraged me to go on the show when I came back from a year overseas in 2015 after recording my EP in Nashville. I was hesitant at first but it turned out to be a worthwhile musical experience. A fabulous band, musical and production team to work with. It was an interesting experience for me as a musician and songwriter being able to just focus on my singing and singing other peoples’ songs in an interesting way was a professional challenge for me. It was lovely to meet the other singers on the show and sing with them backstage. I was able to see the machinations behind the scenes and the contracts being offered to artists these days. At my age I was not delusional about the competition and how far I would go in the show. As an independent artist who finances her own art, shows and CDs it meant promotion for my work that I could never have afforded. I sang with and met some talented musicians, singers and songwriters – Delta Goodrem being one of them.
Thanks again for chatting with us, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Singer Songwriter Bec Goring from Torquay is joining us for the Geelong Workers Club CD launch on Friday October 6th, which makes it a Geelong all-female show, right beside the old Goanna stomping ground, the legendary Eureka Hotel. My son, singer-songwriter Liam Gubbins will be opening for us in Melbourne at the Velvet Room, Thornbury Theatre the following night, Saturday October 7th. We would love you to come along and support our music at these shows.
When & Where: Workers Club, Geelong – October 6 & the Thornbury Theatre, Thornbury – October 7.
Ticket are available via www.marciahoward.com.au.