I’ve been songwriting for around nine years but there was a point where I didn’t see the type of music I was writing being accepted. Yes, I appreciate the music that stays in heavy rotation on the radio but I also enjoy music that allows be to think, music that allows me to relax and just focus on lyrics – especially, because I’m a songwriter. Around 2014-2015 I took a brief hiatus when it came to creating, and focused solely on finding artists that could cater to me. One of those artists I happened to come across was Mariami, a musician from Georgia, Russia based in New York City.
She had just released her debut project Gates, which covered genres such as jazz, pop, and soul. Normally, it takes me a while to warm up to artists but from the very first song I heard , I knew she was one of those artists I would gravitate towards when looking for inspiration and she undoubtedly has.
When I decided to create Arcane, I knew that I was going to talk about Mariami – whether it was through an article, a review, or an interview – I knew I had to introduce you readers to her music. I did not think that I would be able to get an interview with her but I reached out and since then she has done nothing but support me and what I want this website to become.
In August she released her sophomore project Vortex that was noticeably different from her first, as far as sound, but just as good. In this interview we briefly get to speak about her career beginnings, the inspiration behind Vortex, and much more!
Q: For some readers, this is the first time they are hearing about you, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: My name is Mariami, I’m a Songwriter and Recording Artist from NYC, by way of Georgia (country, not the state)
Q: How would you best describe who you are as an artist and the music you are creating?
A: I would describe the music I create as soulful, retro + reflective. I aim to tell stories that will stick w/ my listener as something they can relate to, but use musical language + tools unique to me and who I am.
Q: Is music something you were always interested in? When did you decide you wanted to become a professional?
A: Always. I got militant about it in 2012 — that’s when I started writing Gates. It was a steady build up until now.
Q: I know that you are based in the United States, but you are a native of the Republic of Georgia. Do you feel having this background has somewhat influenced your music?
A: Absolutely. The Gates album was influenced by the legacy of Queen Tamar. I was also really influenced by the landscape + the grandness of the Caucasus Mountains. Nature plays a big part in my art. Georgian church music is also very vibey + rich. Lots to draw from.
Q: In January 2015, you released your first project Gates, were you nervous about how it would be received?
A: Yes. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything epic. I quit all my part time jobs when I released that album and thought upon its release, I’d become famous. Looking back, it was a slow burn to achieve recognition for that writing. I wrote every song and produced the album myself and can humbly retrospect and take pride in the sacrifices needed to make that vision a reality.
Q: Did you write all the music for the project yourself? If so, are you open to collaborating with other writers?
A: Yes, I write everything by myself and only in 2016 began collaborating. Wish I had started that sooner. A larger portion of my projects are collaborative now.
Q: What kind of advice could you give someone who wants to release their own project but has no idea where to start?
A: Get the pen + art out. Any form will do — voice memos, notebook jots. Don’t focus on the end result and just begin. Upon doing so, the next steps present themselves.
Q: This project included a range of genres such as reggae, funk, and pop; with this being said, who are some of your musical influences?
A: List is way too long. Sade + Pink Floyd hover on top.
Q: Skip to August 2017 with the release of your second project Vortex, was there any significant difference in your creative process between this and Gates?
A: Massive difference. Gates came out of a real studio, I recorded Vortex in my apartment in Bushwick. I built a studio in my closet and tracked one of the songs in a hotel in Sedona, Arizona. Vortex is pure spirit + destiny. The EP came out of a break up w/ a person who played a significant role in my career + life. It had to be gritty, raw and honest. I didn’t aim for perfection.
Q: Rather than being another project filled with dance and soul music, this EP is predominantly alternative pop – was this intended?
A: I didn’t set pre-determined expectations for how Vortex would be received. The project was a reflection of a moment, a time capsule to capture what was happening in 2016. It was a completely different effort than Gates.
Q: Do you think it is important for artists (both aspiring and mainstream) to explore different types (ranges) of music?
A: It’s good to explore all music, it’s not imperative. When I wrote Gates I didn’t listen to other people’s music for nearly a year.
Q: Who are some current artists that you enjoy?
A: Rae Sremmurd, Kendrick, Frank Ocean, Chris Stapleton
Q: Are there any artists that you want to collaborate with?
A: Frank is and has been at the top of my list since Nostalgia.
Q: Since your newest project release, you have already released three more songs, do you think it is important to be consistent in this industry?
A: Consistency is important in any career, but I also think that strategy and doing things with purpose is just as powerful. If releasing contrasting sounds is part of larger picture or goal for an artist, then do it. Being random seldom works.
Q: What are some tips you can give aspiring artists?
A: Listen to your gut, whatever it says is typically the key to unlock any door.
Q: Last but not least, is there anything you want to tell your supporters?
A: My gratitude is really grand. Thank you for your love + support.
Make sure to support Mariami’s latest singles: