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

Music Video Preview: This Christmas Time

So I can’t contain the excitement of how incredible the making of the video for “This Christmas Time” was. This was my FIRST official music video and I have to say that I had an incredible experience. It’s one thing to make a video, but it’s another to make it with your friends, your family and such an amazing team. The shoot was a lot of work, but so much fun. I am still in awe of how this whole project came together, starting right from the production with my talented friend Colin Janz, to radio promotion with my incredible radio teams, to yesterday where it all came together for the filming of the final video. I want to honour everyone properly in a post coming soon, but I do want to say a special thanks my director/videographer Thomas Wong who literally worked round the clock to get this all done, to all my cast and crew, the businesses that gave us such incredible food, candy and clothes to work with, and a HUGE thank you goes out to my good friend Daniel Ingram for letting us film in his amazing Gastown loft apartment. I was so incredibly blessed to have my whole family film with me, and even my mom in law and my niece Jaelyn flew out to see us, so we brought them in on the fun too. This project is something else, and I’m just enjoying and celebrating every single moment. Check out the preview and stay tuned for more. I love hearing your comments, messages and posts. They are so encouraging! If you’d like to stay tuned, you can check out the FB and twitter pages too – http://www.facebook.com/marikaonline, and twitter at @marikaonline

Here’s the preview!!!

Sometimes I feel like Mike Wazowski. (Little green guy on Monsters University)

monsters1If you’ve ever watched the movie Monster’s University, you may know the story and what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, warning: spoiler alert haha ( I always wanted to write that!)

The short of it is:  Sully ( the big blue naturally scary monster ) and Mike ( little green cute, but wants to be scary monster ), both meet in University with the dream of graduating the scare program to go on to be scarers at Monster’s Inc. Sully has the famous family line, is giant, blue and scary, and doesn’t have to put any effort at all into school. As far as everything Monster goes, Sully has the “IT” factor.  Mike, on the contrary, is not naturally scary, has to work hard, skips all the parties, and makes sure he gets the highest grades in every class. He does everything right, but everyone around him knows that he simply isn’t scary. 😦 sad face for him.

During the story line, you find that sometimes doing everything right, doesn’t matter. You may never get to be a scarer. BUT – there’s room to be the coach. In the end, both monsters get kicked out of scare school, and have to work hard from the mail room up to get to the top, and eventually they make it to the scare floor, as a team. Mike the coach, and Sully the lead scarer.

Great story…mostly. It’s a happy ending as both get to be where they need, but for me it was a little discouraging as Mike had to settle for being great at being just OK.

For years, I feel like I settled for being just OK. Sometimes I still feel like that. I feel like Mike. There will always be the younger, more single, non mom, sexier, popstars that will take the place in the world’s spotlight. AND THAT’s OK WITH ME. BUT…there has to be room for me SOMEWHERE. I’ve been a coach for the last five years, networking other people in to their dream jobs. Still in the entertainment industry, but by default really. I needed a break after being completely devastated by the people I was doing music and business with. They moved on, made more popstars that would get more naked than me when it came down to it. ( There probably is more to their story, but that’s what I saw. This is my blog, so I get to tell it my way lol ). However, I was angry, hurt and disappointed for a lot of years, while it seemed they thrived. The only thing that kept me going was how amazing my entire family and my good friends were through it all, and also the hope that God makes all things work together for my good. He carried me in my broken-ness, and I still made music, I still kept going with the hope that I would someday remember who I was.

All that to say, it’s not that those around me have said  – I can’t do this – it’s that most people haven’t said  – I CAN – which sometimes hurts more. haha. I’m too brown, too short, not black enough, not white enough, not skinny enough, can’t sing as good as ______fill in the blank. You name it, I’ve dealt with it. I do however have to give a big shout out to my USA friends and fans. For whatever reason, they love me there, and encourage me like crazy. OH CANADA.

Anyway, instead of this turning into a whining session, I just want to say that I’m really giving this a shot. I’m in a different season. I get to live life with my family and I get to see God show up. Where I used to work so hard at DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT, I came to realize that THAT will NEVER BE ENOUGH! But, I am BELIEVING RIGHT about myself this time. I know WHOSE I AM. And when I start feeling like I’ve got to get all crazy at trying to make things happen, I have to stop and remind myself, that God takes care of me. I will always be ME and that’s more than enough. ( I have to keep telling myself that EVERYDAY lol ) And I don’t believe that I have to settle. I’ve done things differently, and therefore do music a little differently. I’ve never given up, just been stunted a few times.  I feel like I am just getting going again. I have to say a huge thank you to Philip Janz, and Brenda Janz, and funnily enough a Janz of a different kind ( but yes they’re related ), Colin Janz. They’ve all – in their own way – ignited my soul and given life back to me and my music. Thank you friends. Love you all.

And now, on to a new season. I’m releasing a brand new Christmas single. I should call it “Miracles” because of how it all turned out, but I had to stick with the classic “This Christmas Time” I wrote it about 14 years ago, believe it or not. But Colin took it and transformed it with me into something better than I’ve ever known. Colin is an incredible producer and an artist in his own right. He’s now an Official 604 records producer, but more than that, he’s been a friend, and has just brought his amazing talent to something that’s close to my heart. Thanks Colin for being the real deal and shining on this song. I’m happy to say that it’s going to radio which I am more than excited about. I just want to sing, and have people sing along, and somehow, maybe, be inspired.

Monsters-University-bannerI’m still dreaming of record deals, but also, maybe just making my own company blow up and be what we need to be. That’s just part of the journey, that I take day by day. I’m kind of like Mike, but my Spirit is like Sully. I’m sure somewhere in between, the world for sure just needs ME to be ME.

Be you, because theres always someone waiting for you on the other side of your dreams.

~Me