S.A.C Songwriting & Blogging Challenge 2015

6panel_poster_backI joined a community of songwriters where we are part of a 6 week challenge to write and blog for the next 6 weeks. For those new to my blog, I’ll post a little bit about me, for those who have been avid readers, join me on this journey of this beautiful mess I may be in haha.

My name is Marika. My favourite ice cream is Mint Chocolate chip, I’m primarily a pop recording artist, and technically, I’m a professional songwriter as I have had numerous songs chart on top 40 Pop/CHR and Hot AC radio, Canadian Christian radio, #1 album and #1 songs in Asia, and lots of film and tv placements. I also write my own music and lyrics for the songs I record and perform. For the last 10 years, I had also been developing and coaching artists in to their careers through my company Emerton Records which was an incredible journey, but at the end of December 2014, I made the decision to close the company and focus back on to my own career and my family’s careers as well. 2 years ago, I became really sick and couldn’t tour the album I had just recorded, and it was a huge wake up call for me in terms of priorities and what I wanted out of life. These days, I’m very purposeful with what I do, how I do it, and who I do it with. My passion is to create great music, and entertainment with integrity that also brings a positive image to women especially in the forefront of the music and entertainment industry.

cropped-marika-reallifestory-small-1.jpgI joined the challenge as I think it’s pretty great when you have to discipline yourself to work on your craft so here I am. There has been so much going on in my career and my life, but I feel like I’m in somewhat of a season of starting over.

So far, I feel very behind in the 1st week challenge. There was some confusion on my registration so I was a late addition to the group, which – to be honest – threw me completely off as there was already so much said and done day 1. I joined day 2, which meant I was already playing catch up and in more ways than I would have liked. At the beginning of this year, I made a huge decision to not be on Facebook. Part of that was to LIVE in REAL LIFE, and be present. I know as far as career goes, so many thought this would be a bad decision for me, but I have loved being present, trusting in the opportunities that are right in front of me, and not feeling I have to update and keep up online. So, having to be on FB again for this challenge, is…challenging. Not sure how I’ll handle yet. Forgive me if I don’t interact so much on FB, but feel free to reach out in other ways. Also, please know, it’s not because I don’t love communication. I LOVE meeting people and hearing their stories. I just have four people I live with, that are all working full time in the entertainment industry, and I LOVE being present with them. These people are my husband and 3 amazing children who are making their own marks on the world all as professional actors. So – my time is spent songwriting, performing, reading scripts, dropping kids off, meeting with agents, coaching, and as well, making breakfast lunch and dinner, and oh yes…homeschooling. So – again, forgive me if I’m not on FB all the time.

The challenge: So, it’s pretty cool that we get to try and write a song to pitch to Matt Dusk. I’ve followed his career for a while now, as I think our songs were out during similar periods and I always love following other Canadian artists along the way. I don’t know what the song I’ll write will sound like, but I never say no to a good challenge. I guess my only hesitancy is that I’ve never written with an artist in mind. My songs haven been recorded by many artists, but I usually write them for me, and then they’ve been placed with other artists just by different opportunities. It’s worked so far, so maybe that’s my plan. Write a song I love and then pitch to Matt. We’ll see. I’ve haven’t started anything yet, but I did write one song this week, so I feel accomplished nevertheless. I had the privilege of working with a group of kids from Project Limelight – an organization run by two amazing ladies and casting directors, Maureen and Donalda based in Vancouver BC. I taught a songwriting workshop to 9 kids and their leaders and we created a song basically in about 3 – 90 minute sessions. The kids were from about 8-14 in age, and they wrote and performed an incredible song called ” Brave “. So – no progress on Matt’s song, but wrote one pretty incredible tune with these kids. It really was inspiring!!

So – on to week 2. Going to try and stay in touch, on track, and see where this takes me.

-M

A Shiny Bright Christmas – The Album

A SHINY BRIGHT CHRISTMASIts an album. A Canadian Christmas Collective – if you will! This is for fun. And it is a lot of fun. These artists are all my friends. We’ve done the journey together, some for a while, some, we are just getting started. Ryan McAllister and I have journeyed the last 10 years together. He recorded my first demo and album when I first moved to BC. He had just signed a major record deal and built his own studio. He still is one of the best writers and artists in this land in my opinion 🙂  Anna Vandas is a beautiful friend, singer, songwriter and mama of 2 who I recently started working with, but her husband David and I have shared ideas, and worked together on numerous film, TV and book projects in the past. Mia Arbeau is one of my biggest supporters, and a songwriter and artist in her own right. Darlene Ketchum and I created a music internship program at a college together and she is a mentor and good friend. She has so much heart and soul and can play piano like nobody’s business. Roy & Rosemary inspire me every time I see or hear them play. Their performances are stand out as an instrumental pop fusion duo, and it’s their hearts and desire to succeed along with their incredible manager Paul that allow them to rise above the rest! The HOLLE girls are an Edmontonian Girl Band who shine bright like this album title and are like little sistas to me! Kelly Elford, whom I recently just met, is a woman with a dream, that’s just starting to take off.
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I admire everyone here. They have the courage to write, to sing, to play, and to share their journey of life and music with the world. And they are pretty great at it too. They are some of the most talented people I know, and so I wanted to share them all with you.

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Merry Christmas! I’d love you to check out the album, and support some good people.

HUGE Thank you to all the artists involved:

Here’s the link to buy it today: www.ashinybrightchristmas.com

It’ll be up on iTunes soon!

Have A Shiny Bright Christmas!

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– M

HEAR IT FIRST! New single – #RealLifeStory – 10 Songs 10 Pianos

cropped-marika-reallifestory-small-1.jpgSo I’m releasing a new radio single! My first major one in a few years. Aside from the Christmas single that I released in December, my industry – in terms of being an artist – thinks I went away. I didn’t go anywhere. I just had to do the “music” thing differently.

I’m ready to tell my real life story now, and no matter what happens in the business, I came back to why I started it in the first place: because I love to play piano and sing for people, to inspire people to dream big for themselves, and I really really LOVE music. In celebration of that, and releasing this new radio single, my family and my Vancity Pulse TV show crew set out on this adventure of playing 10 original songs on 10 pianos on the streets, with the help of a lot of support and some great friends and companies along the way. Huge thank you to Sean Pacey for being a guy who has a passion for pianos, and a passion for music and decided to make playing piano’s in some of the best places in the city something real. I’d love you to check out the story – maybe send Sean a thank you note for being awesome at http://www.supportpiano.com and stick around till the end of the video to hear a sneak peak of the new single #RealLifeStory. If you like it, then share share share!

Thanks everyone, for sticking around. I’m pretty excited about this one!

~ MARIKA