Music Spotlight of the Month: Gem Marie
Getting to Know Gem Marie
I: First and foremost, we love your new song and we immediately knew we had to speak with you. Of course we know who you are, but tell everyone else about yourself, who you are as an artist and where you are from.
G: I’m so happy that you guys enjoy my music. I really appreciate you even taking the time to listen. I’m from West Philadelphia born and raised! My Alma mater is Overbrook High School class of 2010. As an artist I strive to be remembered and give a sound that will never expire, you know? The 90’s music era brought that kind of sound. I feel like whenever you hear artist’s such as Usher, Brandy, Joe, Monica, Brian McKnight, CeCe Peniston, SWV, Blaque, Blackstreet, TLC, and Michael Jackson just to name a few, you feel just as excited about their music now as you did back then. You still feel it. That is the kind of music I aspire to make popular again. In my spare time I practice songs from artist such as Chante Moore, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, and Luther Vandross. In a nutshell, I am a unique mix between the old school sounds with today’s attitude.
I: Wow, you just brought back so many memories. Great choice of music artist too. So, how long have you been doing music and where did you get your start?
G: I first discovered my voice when I was in the 5th grade attending Mann Elementary School (now a Charter School). I was humming Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover”. My music teacher Mr. Cally heard me and requested that I stay after class if I am interested in learning a new song. I just said yes not really knowing what it was for or why; I just wanted to finish my crossword puzzle (laughs). So after class he taught me this song and I forget what it’s called or who it’s by but the chorus went “what a bright world this would be.” Turns out he was looking for a student to sing at a Teacher’s dinner event held at the Adams Mark Hotel which used to be located where the Target now stands on City Line Avenue (in Philadelphia). I sang my song that night and received a standing ovation. Just hearing the applause and seeing how many people actually enjoyed it sparked something in me that I’ve felt every single day since that moment. That was when I knew I had to be apart of the entertainment world, mainly singing for the rest of my life. My family always told me I would make a great lawyer because I talk a lot and would always defend how strongly I believe in something. Who would’ve thought right? (Laughing)
I: Amazing story. You never know how or where you’ll inspire a child. Instill a dream in a kid, and they’ll stick with it when they grow older. Alright, let’s discuss your new song “You”. It’s a hot song that many people should check out. Now how did the song come about? Like, who produced the track, wrote the lyrics, things of that nature?
G: A good friend of mines, Sean Boyd with Mario Crew, produced the track. I heard the beat on his Soundcloud and when the beat dropped I was completely sold on it! I wrote the lyrics with a special guy in mind. As a woman, I believe we all go through that phase when we want a man that we can’t have but we fantasize what it could be like all the time. (Laughs) Everything about how I felt at that time effortlessly flowed out. My absolute favorite part about the song is when I say “this ain’t even right, but since we gon’ do it, rock my body like I rock this beat”. It just cracks me up. I knew this song was going to be special because the lyrics just sort of hit me, you know? I did hardly any brainstorming while writing this one. Every now and then when that happens, I like to believe that the song was already created by a force we can’t see and it was just waiting for me to be in the right state of mind to receive it.
I: Cool, you write and you sing too? Talented for sure! Are you currently working on any other projects? Is there anything we should be looking out for?
G: Well “You” was the single for the full LP entitled “Taking Over”. It will have about 6 or 7 songs on the project altogether. All different feels that anyone can relate to regardless of gender or sexual preference. There’s actually a song called “That’s Fine” that I recorded years ago, I want to say back in 2013 I believe. A few of my close friends heard it and fell in love with it. My girlfriends added it to their playlist and get emotional every time it plays and get this, the guys do the exact same thing! With “That’s Fine” I was going through a really tough break-up/make-up sort of thing. You know this person is no good for you, yet something about them you just can’t let go of. That hindered me for a very long time and the only way I was able to rid myself of those feelings as much as I could at that time was to write. This song was pretty much effortless as well. One time I was at my cousin’s house with my friends and it came on her playlist and we were all in her room just having fun together. Mid-way through the song I said out loud “man I’m happy that situation is over” and my cousin said “oh snaps I forgot that was you singing this”. That really made me feel great because it let me know that she wasn’t listening to it just because she was supporting family, but because she genuinely liked and related to the lyrics. That is what an artist strives for and that in my opinion is how you know you will be successful. I can’t wait to release that song especially to the masses.
I: Well we can’t wait to hear more from you. Who or what influences your music. In other words, what’s your motivation?
G: Anyone who knows me knows the answer to this question. MICHAEL JACKSON!! (Laughs) But seriously he does. Growing up all I ever watched was Michael Jackson concerts. Even before it was brought to my attention that I could sing, at a very young age I was simply fascinated by the way people in the crowd reacted to his show. I would literally study this man day and night. It got so bad that I believe my parents didn’t have a burglary alarm system set up in our house to JUST protect us, but to keep me from sneaking downstairs to use our computer. They made sure that me and my siblings didn’t know the code to turn it off. So if we were to sneak downstairs for any reason we would get in so much trouble for setting off the alarm and disturbing their sleep. (Laughs) So how did I fix that issue? Go to school early and use the computers in Mr. Campbell’s room before homeroom started! Sometimes I would even skip lunch and recess just to have my own personal Michael Jackson research sessions. He has taught me a lot.
I: Michael should be on everyone’s list! (Laughs) Alright, we have a few fun questions for you. First one, if you could work with any artist who would it be and why?
G: Michael Jackson of course because I learned so much from him. But since he is no longer on this earth, I would have to say Queen Latifah. I believe she is simply awesome at everything she does and her career path is exactly the same as my plans for my own career. She started out with music, which I am a huge fan of. I love her rapping and singing. On the contrary, I would want to work with any artist who I can learn from. Someone who would challenge me and push me to my full potential.
I: Second one, what would you want your legacy to be as an artist?
G: I want my legacy to be known for just having fun in every aspect of my craft whether it be singing, dancing, acting, etc. I want to show people that it’s ok to break the rules sometimes because if you do it just right, greatness is born. I also want people to see quality production. That mediocrity will not cut it in this business. You don’t necessarily have to be the best at what you do. The trick is to do it differently and do it the absolute best you can. Take your time. If it doesn’t move you it will not move your listeners.
I: Last one, do you have any other talents?
G: I actually got my start in acting when I auditioned for The Prince Music Theater’s Rainbow Company under the direction of Betsey Riley located on 15th and Market. There we took intensive voice lessons under the direction of Carolyn Sims-Nesmith, and dance classes under the direction of Miriam Hyman and Antoinette Coward. I also took tap, jazz, modern, and ballet at PCD Dance school on 63rd and Market. I’ve played the Violin since the 5th grade under the direction of Kathleen Thomas and Tanya Murphy. I also do occasional model work with Brett Jolly who is also Overbrook Alumni!
I: We figured that! Every great talent usually has more than one gift. So before we close out, where can people find your music online, and how can they contact you?
G: I can be found on Instagram at Gem_Marie_Exclusive, Facebook at Gem AllExclusive Marie, and Sound Cloud at Gem Marie
I: Thank you so much, Gem Marie! We look forward to hearing more from you.
(Listen to Gem Marie’s song, “You,” here https://soundcloud.com/gem-641228010/you )