Music in Her Soul

Marisa McKaye

How did you get started in this business? 
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My parents told me that when I was 3 years old, I would remember song lyrics super easily and I was constantly singing something. My first performance was when I was 5 years old, and I sang at a fair. I was 11 when I first started writing songs. Our neighbor, Anne Buckle, is a songwriter, and she introduced me to and taught me songwriting. The first few songs we wrote together are on my EP, Colorful Girl.

What’s your favorite type of music to perform? 
I love all kinds of music, but my main favorite genre of music is either pop or country, or somewhere in between. I love to perform and listen to slow, emotional songs, but I also love fast, upbeat songs with a positive message. If the venue I’m playing at is quiet and attentive, I’ll play a slow song, but if they are noisy, then I tend to play more upbeat songs.

Please share a “fangirl” moment—a time where you met a celebrity that just took your breath away!
I met Colbie Caillat two years ago when I did a writer’s round, and she and her fiance asked me to write a song with them. It was an awesome experience, and I loved the song that we came up with. It was crazy to think that I was writing with the person who wrote and sang some of my favorite songs growing up, like “Bubbly” and “Brighter Than the Sun.” She and her fiance were both so kind and inspirational, and I love their music, their creativity and their voices.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 
I’d like to be writing songs and singing just like I do now. I’d like to play out more and maybe even have my own band to play with. I’d love to travel to different places and play my music for people from all over. I want to write really meaningful songs that many people can relate to, and I hope that will come as I experience more things as I grow up. I want to make music that makes people happy, feel moved, and that they can connect to—just like I connect to music I listen to now.

Any advice for other young teens who want to break in to the music business? 
Some advice that I can give is to practice as much as you can, to play out at venues that have live music and meet new people who are also in the music industry. I would also say that sometimes it gets hard to keep doing what you’re doing, but no matter what, you need to keep doing it if it’s what you’re passionate about. It can be hard to not listen to what certain people say, but sometimes it’s best to stick to your opinion and your own confidence in yourself rather than people who try to bring you down. Also, don’t compare yourself to others and be confident in your own abilities. Stay true to yourself and do what you want to do, not what others tell you to do.

Share how you balance a music career while still being in school! 
It’s hard to keep straight A’s in school and also balance my music career most of the time. I’ve considered homeschooling from time to time, but I love my friends, and I love being around people my age. Advice that I would give is to pay attention in class because that way, you won’t be confused when you have to go home and do your homework, or you won’t have to study as much. Paying attention in class saves time and it helps you have a better understanding of the subject. I know that sometimes it’s hard because you want to talk to friends or you just zone out, but try as hard as you can to pay attention. Another piece of advice is to stay on top of your workload and get your homework and projects done on time or in advance. I try not to stress too much about school and just do the best that I can do.