Not Your Ordinary Girl: Jarina de Marco
There is nothing ordinary about Jarina de Marco. The Dominican and Brazilian artist considers herself a multidisciplinary artist. From inception to completion De Marco is involved every step of the way. Her most recent single “STFU” is an eclectic fuse of sounds and the music video is anything but short in creativity.
This week she’s our TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week and in this exclusive interview she shares with us her musical beginnings, her greatest musical influences, and names a few other rising artist she believes have what it takes.
Tell us about yourself.
I am musician, a singer, a songwriter and visual artist. Pretty much involved in every aspect of my art. I am Dominican and Brazilian, the daughter of musician parents who had a band together for 15 years. It was a Dominican/Brazilian tropical jazz band. I was very lucky to be able to move around with them because of music. I went to Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Montreal. I was able to learn different languages and listen to all different types of music that have really influenced me as an artist and as a musician. Really this is who I am in a nutshell—I am an artist.
When and how did you start making music?
My parents are musicians. I was super into bossa nova, blues and jazz growing up. My father and I would play music together and I would sing him my songs because I started composing my songs at around eight years old, full-length songs. I was super into Billie Holiday so I would compose blues songs. I would sing for him [father], and he would arrange the music for me. Shortly after that I was singing with my parents. They would bring me out in the middle of their set. From there on I evolved. I grew as a writer and as a composer and he helped me build a jazz band in my early teen years [Santo Domingo Funk Crew]. Soon after that I started being influenced by other music. When I was growing up I was very much influenced my world music, Dominican folkloric music. My mother [Irka Mateo] is an ethnomusicologist, a musician and artist. She singlehandedly recorded all of the folkloric music of the southwest of Dominican Republic and categorized it to make sure that those traditions are not lost. A lot of times they’re passed down usually orally by families who have been signing these songs for hundreds of years and if they don’t teach their children or the children don’t learn them to prevent the music from dying the rhythm and the song them and categorized them and cataloged them along with the GRAMMY foundation. I grew up going with her to all the expeditions deep in the mountains, sometimes it would take 14 hours to get to the little villages and we did the same in the Amazons of Brazil.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
It’s always been a mix of different people. Early influences were definitely based in jazz like Billie Holiday. And of course I internalized all of that folkloric music. Women who sang songs on the countryside with just drums and their voice influenced me heavily. I use a lot of that folkloric rawness in my music and the chants and little sayings and rhymes. I picked up all along the way from different artists. Later on in my life Björk was a great influence, Radiohead as well. Los Tetas from Chile who are a hip-hop funk band, it really is like an eclectic crew. Ana Tijoux as well.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?
Björk definitely changed my perspective on music. She is so free and always changing and experimenting and able to lose herself in her creativity in a way that I find to be the ultimate form of expression. There is no barrier between her and her imagination and creation, which I think is admirable. And she surrounds herself with an incredible array of creative from every realm and discipline. That’s the kind of career that I am currently crafting.
Recommend another rising band/artist you believe in.
I am super excited about Princess Nokia. I love Empress Of she’s an incredible hondureña, of course Kali Uchis. I am rooting for us brown girls. It’s our time to be heard. English speaking Latinos too, we are multifaceted and all these women embody that.
And finally, if your music were a physical thing, what would it be? Please describe.
It would definitely be a palm tree. My name Jarina is from a tribe in the Amazon called the Guarani tribe. My mother named my brother and I after indigenous names. Jarina means heart of palm tree. That’s why I always keep a tropical vibe all the time because it’s my totem, the palm tree . . . the royal palm to be more precise.
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