The UK country music market continues to keep growing, with acts like The Wandering Hearts and Sam Hunt leading the way for many newcomers to the industry. We caught up with another name to watch out for in the UK country scene, Demi Marriner, who told us about her musical pathway from being a five-year-old violinist to playing UK tours of her own music.
What is your earliest memory of listening to music, do you remember who it was?
My mom always had music on in the car, so I remember growing up listening to bands like The Stereophonics and The Dixie Chicks. There was always a real mix of genres.
How did you go about learning to play the guitar? Did you get lessons?
I didn’t ever have guitar lessons, though I wish I had. My first instrument was violin which I began playing at five years old and having regular lessons over a ten year period. This made picking up other instruments a little easier, however, having guitar lessons is something I wish I’d done.
Do you come from a musical family?
No, not at all really. I come from a music-loving family, but none of my family play any instruments.
How many instruments do you play?
I can play the guitar, piano, ukulele, and violin. I am currently still trying to polish up my skills on mandolin and banjo.
What is your songwriting process? Do you think of lyrics first then chords?
It really is a mix when it comes to songwriting. Most of the time I find it easier to sit and write lyrics once I have a brief chord structure, however, I am constantly thinking of little melody lines or lyrics on the go, so the process sometimes works with that in mind too. I always have a notebook in my bag and the voice notes app on my phone is forever full with little ideas. Sometimes one of those sticks out and the lyrics get placed together before I have even picked up a guitar. It really varies and is a process that can be different for all writers to suit their style.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I do. It was a song called ‘Here Whatever Happens’ and it was a music GCSE project. Growing up, I was very much involved in several creative fields; music, musical theatre, dance etc. When I had to choose my GCSE’s, I had to narrow it down to just one of them to focus on for my exams so I picked music. This resulted in my first song and first compositional piece, which is something I’ve carried into my career.
What one song do you wish you had written and why?
What music did you listen to growing up?
I listened to a lot of different music growing up – a mix of genres and styles. A lot of indie music influences like Stereophonics, Fall Out Boy, Snow Patrol, Feeder, Maroon 5 and All American Rejects came from my mom. But I also listened to a lot of pop music and some of my first concerts were people like Avril Lavigne, Busted, Hillary Duff and Mcfly.
Are there particular artists that you are listening to currently that you’d like to recommend?
Tons. I am currently listening to Ruston Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, Molly Parden, Lori McKenna, David Ramirez, Faye Webster, and Mindy Smith. It’s a never-ending list!
What kind of equipment do you take to a gig with you?
My set up is pretty simple personally. It’s just myself and an acoustic guitar, so I don’t ever need to take too much. I always take my own microphone to avoid any illnesses or a mix of germs. I also trust that I will get the right sound from my microphone which is really important as a vocalist. When I play full band shows, the set up consists of several multi-instrumentalists playing the drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, double bass, pedal steel, dobro, vocals and backing vocals.
What do you prefer, being in the studio or playing live?
Playing live, for sure! I love being in the studio, but I feel that is a place that you can over complicate music because it’s so easy to make constantly do takes and perfect everything. I really adore the feeling of playing live and everything feel raw and falling into place. It’s a real thrill.
Do you have any gigs coming up that people can check out?
I have a show supporting a wonderful artist called Sam Outlaw from the States at The Town Hall in Birmingham, and I also have a bunch of shows coming up in Scotland, with a confirmed show in Glasgow at The Glad Cafe on August 12th. Keep posted online.
You have had great success online, could you tell us more about your process of getting noticed?
The best way to get noticed is to be visible. That sounds silly, but consistency online is so important. Social media is the biggest tool you can use as an artist in this day and age, and it is so important to use that. Regularly update your social media with photos and small bits of information on whats happening. Use Facebook and Instagram live to connect with fans. Also, make sure that the photos or videos you are posting are of a good quality. Consistency has to go hand in hand with quality.
What is next for Demi Marriner, are you working on anything new?
I am constantly writing music with plans for an album next year as well as some tours and travelling in the pipelines. Watch this space.