This month, we interviewed Unspeakable artist MariGo on her unique sources of inspiration, favorite haunts around LA, and upcoming releases in 2018! Read the full conversation below.
What inspired you to start creating your own music?
I think I’ve been writing music and songs since the time I was 3-years old…so long ago I don’t
even know what drew me to music at that time. I remember just making up songs off the top
of my head and singing them around the house as a really young kid. It was a bunch of
gibberish, but now that I look back on it that’s what I was doing…writing songs!
I started playing piano at age 4. I saw my two older sisters take lessons and I demanded that
my mom let me start (obviously I was a pretty weird kid). My mom used to take me to see the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra rehearse during the day, which was a huge inspiration. It made
me really wanted to be a conductor actually. I also was really inspired by people like Ben Folds
and Regina Spektor. People who were not just singers, but amazing musicians and could play
and sing. That’s what I always wanted to be.
A few years ago, I took time away from writing and performing in an attempt to find some
stability and financial security. It really felt like a huge hole in my life and eventually I found my
way back to my music path, which just feels like home.
Tell us about your musical background! How has this shaped the music you create today?
I have a classical music background. As I said before, I started playing piano really young and
continued to train classically until college. I ended studying classical voice at the University of
Denver. I have to say, even though I became a great technical singer, I feel that studying music
actually took some of my creativity away for those years. I was so focused on technique and
perfection that I really didn’t write much of my own music at all in college and was really hard
on myself. Contrary to my classical music training, I have also been really influenced by jam
bands, rock, and hip hop. I sang in a classic rock cover band in college. The Grateful Dead has a
really special place in my heart. Even though my music is mostly electronic, it is important to
me to bring in that spirit of improvisation and include live elements to keep the soul in the
Do you have any go-to films or shows that you watch to get inspired?
I love the documentary Festival Express. It follows the 1970 train tour called “Festival Express,”
which included the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Band, Buddy Guy, and others. It’s just
amazing footage of all of them chilling and jamming on the train and amazing concert footage
as well from the tour. They all seemed so free and music just poured out of them. I kind of
always wished I was alive during that time.
I’ll also watch the entire Lord of the Rings series any day of the week. Best movies ever made.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I allow myself maximum half a drink before I go on stage. Since I usually am playing keys, I just
find that I get clumsy even after 1 drink. I like to be totally with it (probably because of some
control issues to be honest). I like to hang with my friends or family until just a few minutes before almost like nothing is going to happen. The less I overthink things, the better, so that
the music can just flow. Just before performing, I’ll do a little breathing and meditation to
invite in support from the universe, spirit and inspiration.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I have a dream of writing for films someday and would love to work with Howard Shore who
composed for the Lord of the Rings movies along with some other amazing films. The music in
those movies is just such a huge inspiration and I’d love to learn from the master.
What are some of your favorite hangout spots in LA?
I love to be outside whenever possible. I’m happy at the beach and in the mountains. Pretty
sure I have been both an eagle and a sea creature of some kind in a past life. Franklin Canyon
park is an awesome place to just get some nature, trees, and quiet. It’s a huge, amazing park
that never seems crowded.
I also love going to this place in Culver City called the Boardwalk. They do karaoke every night
and I swear everyone that sings there is like ex-Broadway or something. It’s the best free show
in town. Also love going to see comedy at the Comedy Store or the Hollywood Improv.
If you were a style of eggs, what would you be and why?
I think I’d be soft-boiled. Clean, no-nonsense, healthy, but super gooey and soft on the inside.
Constantly in an internal struggle of whether to be soft or hard, but are really both…or neither?
What have you been listening to recently?
Sylvan Esso’s album from this year, new Nai Palm record, SZA, Ibeyi, Amy Winehouse, St.
Vincent, Baths, Vulfpeck, Puccini.
As a woman living in the United States, how do you cope with and/or address a lot of the issues
our country is facing today?
It’s definitely disturbing times right now. I often feel myself being pulled into anger, frustration,
and victimhood. I constantly have to remind myself of the truth: that everything out there is a
projection of myself and my own ego. It is all the “maya” or the illusion. Everything that is out
there is also a part of me and I have to own that and not blame others. I teach yoga and
meditation, and I’ve found my own practice is becoming more and more important. And
forgiveness. If I can forgive everyone and everything (especially myself), it’s really the best
thing I can do for the collective consciousness and to help begin the healing.
Do you have any upcoming shows, releases, or recent projects you can tell us about?
Yes! I just released my first single (Waiting and Rainy Day in LA) on Unspeakable Records
(yay!), and I’m self-releasing my debut EP, Flying at Night, on January 19, 2018. It’s a collection
of beats that I made when I first started producing in Ableton a little over a year ago. I feel that
I’ve come a long way since then and my writing has evolved, but I’m excited to release these
tracks and share my journey. It feels like a celebration of my return to writing/performing music after having some health issues and just losing my way. The first single drops on January
5, along with my first music video ever featuring some kick-ass home video footage.