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Texcentric Eurostar? Marina Rocks on her European tour, music with a message and what the future holds

13 July 2023

Hi Marina, we last spoke in the fall of last year after the release of Austin To Houston and with some gigs in Europe lined up. How have the last ten or so months been for you?

Between recording my second CD release in a year and traveling back and forth most weeks from Austin to Houston to work on a demanding project up there, it has been extremely busy. I’m ready to take off my recording engineer hat, set down my cordless drills and saws, and be a full-time musician again.

Was there a noticeable difference between European and U.S. gig experiences? Are the crowds different?

European crowds were great! It was my 1st trip ever to Europe. I went solo. I went because my original song Shine was #1 on Radio Benelux (in the Netherlands) two weeks in a row, and they asked when was I coming to Europe. So I went. Radio Benelux and the audiences couldn’t have been nicer. No matter where you’re at, I find people almost always seem to want to connect on a human level.

And now you have a new E.P. out, Texcentric. Was there a reason you put this out now rather than wait until you had enough songs for a new, full-length album?

While in Europe, I heard blues-rock and band-driven material similar to what I played before I was a solo act. Between that and sitting in with two blues/rock bands in Amsterdam, I decided when I got back to Texas I would get back in my studio and record a slightly more electric album. Self-imposed deadlines can drive you crazy with so many
moving parts involved in a finished product.

I’m very lucky I have a great team of nice folks there for me. I also didn’t wait just because I was inspired by my trip to Europe but because I also felt a sense of urgency. To me, some of the songs are timely. Like “Dummin’ Down,” “Nameless,” and “Walking on Water.” Texcentric’s total playing time is 27:25 (for six songs).

“Dummin’ Down,” the opener to Texcentric, addresses some poignant issues. Can you talk me through what you are saying with these lyrics?

A4: Politics and art aren’t always a good mix. I try to write about things I feel strongly about. If I can reach someone who has another point of view, great, but maybe it’s just a way to get it off my chest and share it with fellow travelers.

It seems to me that the decline of fact-based truth in certain media and entertainment is chilling. My state (Texas) was part of the effort to strip women of their rights in the U.S. I sometimes wonder what ever happened to the separation of church and state. Defunding public education does long-lasting damage. Certain media masquerading as news organizations spreading propaganda for profit are undermining the arts, democracy, society, and peace.

At the very least, they’re divisive and unkind. I once saw a documentary on MTV. Something about, How can music and the arts evolve if we just keep imitating what’s being recycled in certain media. “Dummin’ Down” the media and society have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

Is it hard to write songs that are both immediate and accessible and yet have lyrical depth and something important to say? And do you think it’s a shame that more artists don’t aim to mix those same factors?

There’s lots of inspiration out there to write about. Some folks manufacture songs about travel-worn subjects – not my thing. Some folks just write what they know and straight from the heart. If you’re asking why don’t artists write more political songs, it could be they are understandably afraid of backlash. I think a lot of folks do write that mix and just maybe haven’t been heard yet.

Are there any other issues that you think are important for artists to use their platform to speak out on?

Plenty to choose from; just turn on the news, and btw more than one source is a good way to cross-check their facts. Plus, everyone has their own life experience, and that, understandably, is often their biggest concern. When telling your story in song, you might be surprised how many listeners share your experience. And perhaps you’ll find you’re not so alone after all. I personally plan to write more about hope. At least, I will try. My country and the planet have been through so much these last four years. I think we need time to heal and be kind to one another.

And what does the rest of 2023 hold for you?

As my project winds down in Austin, I look forward to sleeping in for a week or two and then start traveling and perform more. I’m also exploring re-inventing my musical self again. And I might explore some other fun stuff, too! It’s a great healer.

And thank you as always for taking the time for a conversation, and good luck until our paths cross again.


Picture courtesy of Cressandra Thibodeaux


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