Zenia Marshall wears many hats in the music industry. However, the loquacious title best to describe her is the title of an emerging Filipino Canadian alternative-pop singer-songwriter and a professional film/TV actress.
Although new as an original artist to the world of recording, Zenia Marshall is a stage vet, having sung and toured worldwide in her mom’s internationally acclaimed Tina Turner Tribute show from the young age of 13. Approaching each song as a different character or with a unique style, genre, and story composed of emotionally rich melodies and deeply vulnerable introspective thoughts, Zenia Marshall hopes her songs can help one person out there feel connected with, seen, and safe.
Tackling a utopia of dark elements that drive into the realm of sheer bliss, Zenia Marshall’s latest single, “Heaven and Hell,” feels like a sonic expedition through the depths that both dwellings offer in terms of radiated energy. Through colossal sounds that begin as trickling melodies, the panning that is used in the production scheme has our mind effortlessly swaying to the dark underworld, yet peeking into the feathery essence of a light-filled burrow. Zenia Marshall cascades her lush vocals over the undeniably intense tempos that the instrumentation produces.
Co-producing each of her musical creations, Zenia Marshall is known for her exploratory tenors that border that silky smooth ambiance of soul-infused timbres. As “Heaven and Hell” progresses, we manage to find a deeper appreciation for the buttery harmonies that sit in the background of this soundscape.
The conveyance calls to us in a larger-than-life manner as the reverberated resonance strikes us in one fell swoop. With her unique songwriting techniques, we are offered a persuasive landscape of rich imagery through the abstract sounds that have us fluttering into an ethereal universe. Zenia Marshall is one of a kind, and she proves it repeatedly through the intoxicating melodies that she brings forth.
Congratulations on the striking composition that is, “Heaven and Hell.” What inspired you to tap into this subject matter through metaphors and realities?
Thank you so much for having me!! It honestly was a rush of feelings surrounding how I felt about love at the time and the story drew from my introspective thoughts when I was trying to articulate that emotional reality. It started with the realization that the more in love, enamoured, and consumed you are with someone, the more power that love has over you. Realizing that love isn’t separate from pain and one cannot exist without the other - the two coexist in a dichotomic dynamic. The concept evolved from that to taking on a more toxic flare and unhealthy aspect of the depicted relationship. I started seeing the parallels between a powerful love and god-like abilities both having the power to alter your world between two extremes and even the act of unknowingly surrendering yourself to the power of another in midst of the vulnerabilities that love requires. Before I knew it, the story expanded on that experience, tapping into the confusion one might feel about the projection of this kind of conflicting relationship which only naturally pushes you to question yourself, your decisions, how much to compromise, and ultimately whether to stay or go. As you can tell, by the end of the song, it hurts too much to leave so the character of this story remains stuck between these two elements. At the time, Heaven and Hell were the only metaphors that truthfully felt like it summed up that conflicting contrast in a consuming love that felt so otherworldly and resulted in an infinite timeless emotional reality.
What is the main theme and message that you’re hoping your listeners take away from, “Heaven and Hell”?
In Heaven and Hell, we essentially have this story about this person stuck in a relationship that puts them through a whirlwind of emotions from the highest of highest and lowest of lows. It sounds hella dramatic from an objective external point of view but for anyone who’s deep in that type of relationship dynamic - those feelings are very real and can feel quite torturous at times (haha!). Hopefully this song can be a safe space for listeners to feel what they feel, to not feel alone in the emotional turmoil and conflicting heartache, to reflect on what resonates with them, and perhaps even empower them to make a decision that will lead to better and healthier relationships.
Known for your work as one of the leads of the “Date My Dad” TV series alongside guest-starring in Supernatural to name a few of your accomplishments in film and television; how is the creative process different when tackling a role for the film, versus your musical creations?
Honestly, there are so many layers to this question because there are so many parallels between music and acting. Currently, in my music creations, I find myself writing each song as a different story, style, and character, partially because I have a need to meet more than 1 type of story or genre. I think I get a lot of that approach from acting. Despite the similarities though, they both fulfill a separate part of me. Most of the time music is emptying out my consciousness and using that truth to sculpt and paint the story in a beautiful sonic world where it can live and be fully expressed in its own unique way. Acting is a lot of the time abandoning myself and forgetting about who and where I am rather than sorting it out intentionally and articulating it. It’s an act of empathy and service for the story, allowing the different sides of oneself to run free under disguise with complete permission to be what it is. In a way, acting seems to ask of you to find both yourself and the character in the world that someone else has written and created and to make that your own. Whereas music allows you to be in your own world from the gecko - especially if you’re a songwriter or producer, you create every single part of that world yourself and makes it feel that much more of a personal space. Ironically, I feel like, despite the differences in my own approach to them, they both lead back to the same emotional truth, inevitable parallels with life’s realities, reflective revelations all phrased into a cinematic or sonic beauty. There’s so many layers to both art forms, I can go on forever about this so I simply must stop before I go on forever haha!
What happens to be your favorite part of your artistic journey this far?
My favorite part of my artistic journey so far is the first blooming buds of creation. It’s the magic feeling of a melody pouring out of your heart and your soul opening up a bit more. It’s so fulfilling yet it’s ironically brutal how it leaves artists feeling just about unsatisfied enough to feel like a project is never done. A trapped melody or not being able to articulate a thought or feeling is like an itch you can't scratch haha. The experience can be really grounding and centering once you get it all out there - it feels like if I leave it for too long, my heart clogs up with so many thoughts and emotions and the act of creating and writing that allows the accumulation of overrun thoughts and feelings to be emptied out and rebooted to restart again. My next favorite part is hearing a song in its first official draft - from what you had envisioned in your head singing into a tape recorder, muttering an abstract assortment of words, and playing a chord imagining a whole band with that to hearing it all for the first time in its entirety. It’s magical. I just hope to be able to share this feeling through my music with more people. If my creations ever get to serve anyone out there or make any impact in someone else’s life, that would surely be my next favourite part.
What's next for you?
Next off, I have a few more singles coming up this year before dropping my first EP! Having written and sat on so many songs for wayyy too long, I truly am stoked to finally get them out there! My next few songs and videos will be quite the switch up from this one as well! Varying from slow ambient hopeless romantic to darker primal existential abstract beats to some fun 80’s pop-inspired upbeat self-empowerment tunes (woohoo!). As you can see, there’s a lot of experimenting up ahead! Overall, I want to make sure that I create each project in the fullest expression of that story and song’s world rather than trying to squeeze it into a single mold or style/genre for the sake of the business. I believe artists have so many sides of themselves to give and I don’t think that should ever be limited and hopefully, that resonates with some people out there! Putting every story into production and crafting a full project around each song has been pushing me to better improve in my crafts and further explore the direction of my artistry, genre, and style, and I’d love to invite everyone to come join me on my journey!
Of course, I’m also hoping that soon Covid will leave our planet be and that times will be safer to resume tours and live performances with live audiences. I’m really looking forward to performing my original tunes with real humans in front of me (haha) and I also am excited to go back on stage headlining with the “Relive the Music 50s/60s” tour once it’s safe to do so! Til' then I will be working hard on getting my original tunes out there for you!