Back again, what? Check out what Marie Choi is sayin, word!
Marie Choi (born Choi Yoon-Mi on June 25 in Tenafly, New Jersey) is a singer-songwriter, who gained attention while participating in Kollaboration NY 2009 as well as having had videos on YouTube prior to that. After having moved to LA from NYC not that long ago, she spared a moment to answer these questions for your reading pleasure!
How long have you been doing music for? Are you doing it professionally or independently?
I’ve been singing ever since I was a kid. I began classical training in high school and pursued it pretty heavily into the beginning of college. So I guess you can say that I started performing in high school but more seriously during college. I’m doing it independently and pursuing it professionally.
What style of music do you generally play?
My style of singing can generally be categorized as a soulful R&B, indie sound... to be very general lol.
How did you first get involved in music?
I guess I was always involved with music. My family has always been musical. But for sure, it was church that started it all! Having been raised in church and having traveled in missions with my parents (missionaries), I was always involved musically. It was my offering wherever I went.
What made you decide to start YouTubing your musical talent?
Um, I actually just took down most of my YouTube stuff… lol. I need to start over with that one…so stay tuned!! But to answer your question, originally I posted stuff on YouTube for feedback & to demo how I sounded to potential collaborators & such. Very amateur stuff ☺.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
The first CD that I bought was in elementary school, Boyz II Men – II. Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston, oh, and the Les Miserables OST (haha) started it all… then Lauryn changed my life… especially her Sister Act II rendition of “His Eye is On the Sparrow”. Actually, that film did a lot for my singing career. My friends and I would do 4 part harmonies to songs in that movie… and then just any song we liked. Music has always been my passion. Since it’s always moving and changing, I find myself constantly being influenced by different people and sounds… influenced and inspired. Oftentimes, it can be one song that does it for me… that song will stay with me forever. But just to give you some names, in no particular order: Lauryn, Mariah, Stevie, Donny, Jill Scott, Chopin, Radiohead, The Roots, Musiq Soulchild, Alicia Keys, Etta James, Total, Yeah… I love the 90’s! good stuff…
How does it feel to be getting all this support from people for doing what you do?
I’m very grateful and encouraged. I hope to only get better with time!
Is there ANY musician that you would like to do a collaboration with in the future?
So so many…
You took part in last year's Kollaboration NY event. How was that experience?
It was a great experience. I’m really grateful to the musicians who sacrificed their time & played with me. Also, my friends who came out and made a lot of noise & a huge fluorescent “MURDA” sign, I love them… I’ll never forget it… it was the first thing I saw when I stepped out.
What has been your most popular cover on YouTube? Your most popular original song on YouTube?
My most popular cover on YouTube was when I was in highschool. Me and my girl, Nellie, sang Lauryn’s version of “His Eye is on the Sparrow”… actually, that may have been my first YouTube post. In fact, that was a clip from one of my first live public performances and people, strangers even, still come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed that night. Haha. But I’ve long since taken that down, good times but we’re moving on. But, like I said, no more YouTube clips at the moment…
I imagine you have a lot of music tastes; what do you normally play on your iPod and/or when you’re at home?
My iPods, plural, are crazy… I have tens of thousands of songs. I go through phases for sure, but there are definitely songs that I’ve been listening to continuously for years… at least once every few days. Wow, that’s a crazy thought actually. But, let’s dig… um…
Fiona Apple “The First Taste”
Amerie “All I Have”
Lauryn Hill “Sweetest Thing”,
Radiohead “How to Disappear Completely”, “Bulletproof”
Sam Sparro “Black and Gold”
Gregory Isaac “Night Nurse”
Keren Ann “La Forme et le Fond”
Raphael Saadiq – “Still Ray”
Nas – entire It Was Written album
Jill Scott “The Way”
The Roots ft Musiq Soulchild “Break You off”
Robin S “Show me Love”
Ok, I’ll stop...Definitely, just a few but all AMAZING.
Where’s the one place where you can go and get your creative flow going in order to write/create music?
It could be ANYwhere physically b/c it’s really all internal. I just have to get to that place mentally and emotionally. Oftentimes, it’s spurred by conversation, a contemplative moment, a memory, film, and a melody… that kind of thing.
Who is your closest musician friend, and how did you two meet?
I guess my closest musician friend is Vudoo Soul. We met randomly at a mutual friend’s bday party a few years ago. We became especially close when I first moved out to L.A. and stayed with him and his producer at his studio.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not playing music?
Spare time… hmm, what’s that? Haha. Man, well my favorite thing to do is just kick it with the people that I love. Being out here in LA’s been rough b/c all of them are back in Jersey & NY but, luckily I’ve been keeping so busy that I’m not feeling too much…It’s brought out a lot of writing, believe me.
What do you hope to accomplish while being involved in music?
I hope to accomplish so many things with music. I think the root of it all is what I can do for others with the music that I make. Not only do I hope to bring comfort and enjoyable listening, but it’s also about the movements that I can be involved in through this career. Actually, I’ve reevaluated a lot of what my idea of success is these days and it’s becoming increasingly clear that God’s given me a gift and a passion to use it for His glory and not mine… because selfish ambitions have and never will bring happiness!
Do you have any final words for the readers?
Um, 2010!! It’s my year!! Also, if you want me to come sing for you… or if you want to be friends… ☺
My email is Muhreee@gmail.com or facebook me!! Marie Yoon-mi Choi!! Thanks for reading!!
Thank you to Marie for the interview. Keep checking back regularily for more awesome interviews like this, I am O-U-T for now!