Alexa Marino is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, and performer. She has taken the time to study vocal technique for 20 years and has performed in venues across New York City, including Rockwood Music Hall, Shrine World Music Venue, The Bitter End, and Groove.
Coming from a musical family, Alexa Marino has cultivated her own rich and versatile sound to include elements from the Soul, Indie, and Pop genres.
Fresh off her debut album, ‘Laid Bare,’ Alexa Marino combines her talents with established musician, producer, and co-writer Alex Hayes. Shining the focus on an entrancing chronicle that follows themes of love, loss, hope, and restlessness, Alexa Marino delves into the rich timbres that she so graciously pours onto her sonic canvas of the title track, “Laid Bare.”
With minimalistic instrumentation to commence, we hear complexity progress as the tones exude reverberated guitar chords, electric synths, and plentiful pulses to go around. We are encouraged to sway through the slow to mid-tempos that bare a soul-infused vocalization poignant with bliss. The gripping emotion that Alexa Marino exudes has us pulled into her the seamless combination of space and timing that she uses in her songwriting techniques.
Without overdoing it, she brings a certain grace and elegance to the composition of “Laid Bare,” as she trickles melodious harmonies throughout the masterpiece. Being the final song on her debut album, she brings home this performance in a manner exclusive to Alexa Marino.
She has fluently grasped our focus as we fixate on the progressed instrumentation and through details that have been placed throughout the top-tier quality production. “Laid Bare” has us singing along to the sweet sounds of Alexa Marino.
Congratulations on your debut album, 'Laid Bare.' Could you please tell us about the creative process behind this album, and what it looked like working with Alex Hayes?
Thank you! This was definitely a tough year to record and release an album. Alex and I met in 2019 when I reached out to him to help produce my first single, Hum In A Chorus, and we hit it off right away. He is so talented and super professional, and we found that we work really well together. Hum In A Chorus was the first song I ever wrote and released, so by the time it was out I was more inspired than ever to create a body of work. By September 2019, I had successfully funded a Kick Starter campaign to back this project, and Alex and I got to work once again. Pre-pandemic, I was employed at a full-time job in New York City while also in school at night for my Masters in Sound Design and Music Production, the lead singer of a band that performed regularly, and a member of The New York Chamber Choir…for fun. Alex too was in a band, was in the midst of a move out of the city, and in school full-time himself. We were busy, to say the least. During all of that, we managed to get together every weekend to record. It was a process that lasted from October 2019 until March 2020 when the pandemic hit.
As was the case for most people, my life hit a wall and my project was at a complete standstill. I lost my job in the pandemic, I could no longer play in the band or sing in the choir, and recording had to be put on hold until we knew more about what was going on. I fell into a total creative rut for a while. It wasn’t a great situation, but there were some positives that came out of it. Looking back on last year, I’m almost grateful that I had all that borrowed extra time that I definitely did not have before. While all was quiet in the studio, Alex and I never stopped communicating. We were able to use that time to take a look at what we had already done and asked ourselves how we can make it even better. By the time we felt it was safe enough to start recording again (complete with COVID precautions), we hit the ground running. We wound up scratching songs, adding more, completely revising others, and we were able to reach out to other musicians to collaborate. In the midst of all the pandemic chaos, Alex really reached through my creative fog and we were able to make something pretty great together. In a way, without that extra time, I’m not sure the album would have come together the way it did.
What is the method to your madness with placing the title track, “Laid Bare,” as the final song on the tracklist?
The album itself is basically a narrative about the different forms of love and loss I have experienced throughout my life from different people who have passed through. It’s a story about recognizing the love of others, the love of the journey, and most importantly love of oneself. That said, it was really important to me how we curated the song list. Each song tells a specific story about me. The first and last songs represent love in my present, and they bookend the five songs that tell stories of love from my past. It felt right to end the album with the title track as it’s my most vulnerable song. That’s how I always envisioned it. True to its name, the album is about laying myself bare, with all my strengths and vulnerabilities on display.
How do you find that the single, “Laid Bare,” stands out from the other songs on the tracklist?
I mentioned that the single “Laid Bare” is my most vulnerable song, and I say that because it touches upon a subject that I don’t often address. I have struggled in the past with anxiety and depression and used to have a pretty poor image of myself that was rooted in low self-esteem and imposter syndrome. The title track is the only song on the album that talks about the beauty of finding love in your partner while also addressing your flaws and realizing that it’s not all picture-perfect. It’s about the struggle of learning to give and accept love freely and without hesitation, but in order to do that one has to completely lay their cards out on the table and show their true selves, even the bits that we are so tempted to hideaway. Otherwise, you can never hope to be fully open to love.
Do you have a personal favorite lyric?
My favorite lyric is actually from the single “Laid Bare”:
“I’m testing out the boundaries of my own mind. Waging a war, one that only I can fight.”
I think this lyric perfectly encompasses what the song is about. It says, “I want to reach you, to show you who I am and how much love I can give, but I’m fighting against my own mind that is constantly telling me I’m not good enough, that I shouldn’t be here, that I don’t have what it takes. I’m not what you deserve. I don’t deserve this.” The beauty of this song came out in the process of writing it. There is darkness underlying in the lyrics, but ultimately it’s a positive song. In the end, I have won the war against my mind. I rose above the self-doubt and treacherous voices in my head telling me I couldn’t, and then I did. I was the only one who could.
What are you hoping that your listeners take away from the entire album in terms of themes and messages?
The album’s message completely changed during the pandemic, actually. After the release of my first single, I had thought to focus my next body of work on activism. However, all those extra months of reflecting changed my writing process, and what developed was an album about love. It sounds cliché, I know, but it’s what came through me and I went with it. More than anything, I would want this album to resonate with those struggling to find their inner strength to accept self-love, especially women. Even if only a handful of people listen to my music, if just one of them feels empowered by my songs then I would call that a success. I want people to hear my music and feel understood and emboldened because I wrote these songs to remind us that we have the capability to do anything. Once we realize that, nothing will stand in our way.