Q&A: Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler: s/t Marissa Nadler: s/t (Box of Cedar, 6/14/11)

Marissa Nadler: “The Sun Always Reminds Me of You”

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An RISD grad, multi-medium craftswoman, and self-taught guitarist, New England singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler has been no stranger to the creative outlets of music and fine arts since her youth.

Choosing to take the musical route shortly after college, the mezzo-soprano holds a discography of acoustic neo-folk that spans nearly a decade. Nadler made her US debut with Ballads of Living and Dying on Eclipse Records, establishing herself as a solo artist with enchanting reverberations, finger-picked guitars, and intoned legatos. Over subsequent albums, her sound and accompaniment expanded, culminating in a fuller, more mature sound.

Her new, self-titled album was funded through fan contributions on Kickstarter and Etsy and has since been released on her own imprint, Box of Cedar Records. Here she discusses her musical paths and the new approaches for her new album, which includes a greater country-western influence.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in music rather than the fine arts, bearing in mind you never received any formal music training?

I still dabble in the fine arts and am starting to get serious about painting again. I just go through waves with what medium I am interested in, but I don’t think the medium you use really makes a difference. I see painting and music as having similar meaning in my life. I got a really direct feeling of expression from music. In some ways, I think formal training in an art form can be kind of a hindrance because you start to intellectualize everything. Sometimes when I paint, I start to say, “This looks like this…” and with music, it still feels like I am discovering things each time I pick up the guitar. I do wish that I could read music and want to learn.