Marcella and Her Lovers
SWAMP SOUL SONGSTRESS
MARCELLA RENÉ SIMIEN
"Simien is in the core of Memphis tradition- different roots influences in idiosyncratic and unexpected ways. She is one of the most interesting artists to emerge on the Memphis scene in years.” -Chris Herrington, GoMemphis, Memphis Commercial Appeal
What does a smile sound like? Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Simien grew up onstage with her father, two- time GRAMMY award winner Terrance Simien. In 2009 she moved to Memphis to attend the Memphis College of Art. In no time she was back onstage, delighting audiences with a sound born from fusing elements of her Creole heritage with the angelic grind of Memphis soul.
One detects in Simien’s music subtle yet devastating touches of the Memphis and Muscle Shoals sounds infused with the fingerprint of her Creole ancestors—that now laughing, now sighing Zydeco accordion and exhortations in shouted Creole French. Throughout, Simien’s voice, an instrument fierce and galloping with dignified pleading, floats above the music’s cradled melee like a night star, fondly reminding us of a mysterious past while at once exciting us with the romance of the uncertain future.
In addition to her extensive work with her own group, Marcella and Her Lovers, Simien was featured on her father’s most recent album “Dockside Sessions”, which won a GRAMMY™ in January of 2014 for Best Regional Roots Album of the Year. She co-wrote a song on the Dockside album. She has recorded with hip hop artist Cities Aviv, and was featured on the album “Digital Lows”. One of her contributions to the Cities project, the track “Black Box”, was featured on theindieplaylists.com (summer of 2011) compilation in the company of Arcade Fire, Mayer Hawthorne, Modest Mouse, Coldplay, and many others.
Marcella sparked the interest of Jonathan Poneman (Sub Pop) at the GrammyGPS event in October of 2011 at Earnestine & Hazel’s in Memphis, where he and his wife stayed for Marcella’s entire set, requested to meet Marcella and invited her to submit (and/or email) music to him.
Simien has shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Susan Cowsill, Jack “Jack O” Yarber (of the Oblivians), Al Gamble (of St. Paul & The Broken Bones), Trombone Shorty, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Susan Marshall among others.
In 2015 Marcella & Her Lovers were featured as one of the top ten Must Hear Memphis Originals on the memphismusichalloffame.com
She has performed with her father’s band at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Festival International de Louisiane, as well as solo engagements at Cité des Arts, Hi Tone Cafe, ABC Local 24 Memphis, Mollie Fontaine Lounge, Bar DKDC, the Folk Alliance Conference, GRAMMY™ GPS, and at Memphis Crosstown Arts art space.
Over the past two years, Marcella and the band have appeared in/with: GRAMMY GPS artist showcase, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Memphis commissioned work, Lucero Family Picnic, Levitt Shell, Double Decker Festival (Oxford,MS), Auto Zone corporate event, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Legendary Blues Cruise ft. Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Marcia Ball, etc.
Ryan Harris, of Oxford American's South on Main live music venture in Little Rock called the bands' 2015 performance one of the "top 5 of the year."
Legendary producer Boo Mitchell ("Uptown Funk", RZA, Royal Studios) and Scott Bomar (Hustle & Flow, Cyndi Lauper, Electraphonic Studio) who engineered The Bronze Age, are great fans and frequently attend live performances.
Marcella was featured on the cover of the Susan Schadt's cookbook Memphis: Sweet, Spicy and a little Greasy. Marcella also appeared in Samantha Crespo's book 100 things to do in Memphis Before You Die
Just this year, Marcella also caught the ear of a senior director at The Orchard Tommy Borscheid and Meghan Wurtz at The Orchard and Sony Music.
Marcella and her Lovers are an industry experienced 5 piece group (guitar, bass, drums, sax and keyboards) and have logged well over 200 performances and last year launched a wildly successful IndieGoGo campaign. They raised $6500 to fund recording and pressing their 5 song EP, The Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was independently released and digitally distributed through TuneCore.
A few notable supporters of the campaign were Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, VT; Kathy Fish, Fish & Assoc., Memphis. Karen Blockman Carrier, award winning restauranteur (Beauty Shop, DKDC, & Mollie Fontaine) is a prominent local supporter of Marcella and the ensemble.
Marcella and the band are currently writing their first full length album to be released by the end of 2016.