Marsha’s forthcoming 3rd studio album, “Near Life Experience” will be released early in 2024. The new album features production from record producers Iestyn Polson
and Henry "King Thumb” Thomas.
Iestyn is a British music producer, engineer, songwriter, musician and mixer. He is best known for his work with David Gray, Patti Smith and David Bowie.
Henry Thomas has played for endless international artists, and recorded on countless hit records, TV and film soundtracks.
He is also famous for his role as Co-presenter and writer contributor of the BBC TV series Rockschool.
The album was recorded at Konk studios in London and Echo Zoo studios in Eastbourne. It features a stellar line up of musical talent including some of the U.K.’s top musicians. Drummers Martyn Barker, from Shriekback (who has also co-written and played with Billy Bragg, Marianne Faithfull, Goldfrapp, Robert Plant, Alain Bashung, & Ray Davies), Drummer Keith Prior (David Gray, Savage garden, Roger Taylor/Queen), Guitarist Tony Qunta (Odyssey, Hazel O’Conner, Imagination, and Zigaboo Modeliste (drummer of The Meters), Bassist Graham Knight (Simple Kid, Orphan Colours, Trent Miller). Pianist and Keyboard player Benjamin Croft (who has played with legends Randy Brecker, Frank Gambale, Chad Wackerman, Barry Finnerty and Mike Miller), Acclaimed violinist Benet Mclean, (Omar, Julian Joseph, Steve Williamson, Troy Miller) international violinist Jen Douglas and many more.
Stripped down acoustic piano versions of the songs on “Near Life Experience” have been interpreted and recorded by pianist Clifford Slapper (David Bowie, Boy George, Lisa Stansfield, Stereo MC's, Alabama 2, Suggs, Gary Kemp). Clifford Slapper is also author of "Bowie's Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson").
Marsha’s “shadow" take on a Christmas song, “Next Christmas”, co-written with Benjamin Croft reached the Semi-finals of the international U.K songwriting contest 2022. It has never been released and currently only exists in raw demo form but can be heard here
Mark your calendars for June 9th, as Marsha Swanson, the talented singer-songwriter from the UK, makes her long-awaited return with her latest release, ‘In Parallel’.
This new arrival truly lives up to the expectations we have for an artist of her calibre, delivering a powerful and heartfelt musical experience. ‘In Parallel’ immerses listeners in a world of raw emotion from the very first note. The track carries a tranquil aura that is flawlessly executed, leaving no room for criticism. Marsha Swanson showcases her exceptional musicality with highly-captivating piano tones that resonate deeply, accompanied by exquisite bass tones that add depth and texture to the composition. The foot-tapping drum rhythms further enhance the song’s infectious energy, creating an irresistible groove that will undoubtedly captivate audiences. However, it is Marsha’s vocals that truly shine on ‘In Parallel’.
Her enlightening vocal effortlessly conveys the message of the song, which explores the journey of finding oneself in the midst of challenging circumstances, while desperately seeking help. Through her heartfelt lyrics, she takes the listener on a profound exploration of personal hardships, the pursuit of inner strength, and the resounding impact of her words strikes a chord deep within.
Marsha Swanson’s ability to infuse her music with such authentic emotion is refreshing. Also, her artistry shines through in every carefully crafted line, delivering a powerful narrative that resonates with a wide audience.
Marsha Swanson’s latest single, ‘In Parallel‘, marks her return to the music industry. Hailing from London, this talented singer-songwriter has gained a reputation for crafting intelligent and thought-provoking songs that are undeniably catchy. After capturing the hearts of critics and fans alike with her previous album, “Sentient Stardust,” she continues to captivate with her new track.
From the very beginning, ‘In Parallel‘ envelops us, immersing us in its atmosphere. The song opens with intriguing drum hits that establish a solid foundation for the rest of the instrumentation. As the track progresses, tight bass riffs and delicate piano tones come together, creating a sound that demands our ears.
Marsha’s vocal delivery on this single is powerful, and her theatrical approach adds a distinctive flair to the song. Moreover, with her voice, it wouldn’t be surprising to witness her serenading audiences on the West End stage. Also, she effortlessly navigates the intricate melodies, displaying both vulnerability and strength throughout the track.
The song strikes a delicate balance between its heartfelt, introspective moments and an overall feel-good vibe. Marsha’s lyrics also delve into profound themes, exploring the complexities of life and human connections. This juxtaposition of emotions makes the track a truly unique listening experience.
As the song reaches its closing section, there is a moment reminiscent of the ethereal and enigmatic style often associated with the legendary Kate Bush. Also, the arrival of strings adds a poignant touch, tugging at our heartstrings and intensifying the emotional impact of the music.
Marsha Swanson, the London-based singer-songwriter, makes a triumphant return with her latest single, ‘In Parallel’.
Set for release on the 9th of June 2023, this early listen reveals a track that encapsulates Swanson’s tranquil yet confident quality, reminding listeners of her golden touch even after a significant hiatus from the industry.
The song opens with a lively drum rhythm, setting a fast-paced tone. The piano keys, struck with vigor, take center stage, accompanied by subtle drops in the background. As the track progresses, the piano hook intensifies, creating an enthralling atmosphere. Marsha’s entrance further enhances the song, as her serene vocals blend seamlessly with the energetic instrumentation.
The chorus takes a departure, offering a soothing and emotionally charged experience. It embraces a more serene quality, deviating from the fierceness found in the earlier parts. This change injects freshness into the sound, captivating us with its depth and sincerity.
In the middle section, the introduction of strings adds weight to the already brewing instrumentation, amplifying the song’s emotional impact. As the track approaches its conclusion, a poignant bridge emerges, where Marsha reflects on the challenges life presents. She affirms that although the journey may not always be smooth sailing, strength can overcome any obstacle. This heartfelt sentiment resonates strongly with us, further deepening the song’s emotional connection.
Marsha Swanson, the acclaimed folk artist and winner of multiple awards for her extraordinary talent, is set to make a momentous return to the music industry with her highly-anticipated single, “In Parallel”.
Scheduled for release on June 9th, this track marks Swanson’s first musical endeavor in several years, leaving fans eager to immerse themselves in her distinctive sound once again.
For this special release, Swanson enlisted the collaboration of an esteemed team of musicians, including the renowned Henry (King Thumb) Thomas. Widely recognized for his role as a co-presenter and writer contributor of the BBC TV series Rockschool, Thomas’s involvement adds an exciting dynamic to the composition. Together, Swanson and Thomas create a powerful fusion of folk and rock elements that promise to captivate listeners from the very first note.
Recorded at the prestigious Konk Studios, “In Parallel” benefits from the expertise of multi-platinum-selling producer Iestyn Polson. Polson, known for his work with esteemed artists such as David Gray, Patti Smith, and David Bowie, brings his wealth of experience and keen musical sensibilities to the project. The result is a finely crafted piece of music.
Marsha Swanson’s latest release, “In Parallel,” is a triumphant return for the artist, setting the stage for a memorable music Friday.
After a break from the scene, Swanson reignites the excitement that surrounds her work. Moreover, with this new single, she firmly establishes herself as a leading name in the industry once again.
Swanson’s vocal prowess shines brightly throughout “In Parallel,” showcasing her undeniable talent and reaffirming her position as a formidable singer-songwriter. Her delivery is both powerful and emotive, drawing us in and holding our attention from start to finish.
The musical composition of “In Parallel” is memorable. Furthermore, the song’s foundation is built on gripping drum rhythms that propel the track forward, setting an energetic tone. The ear-pleasing piano arrangements add depth and texture, while the mouth-watering bass riffs provide a solid backbone to the entire piece.
Overall, Marsha Swanson’s “In Parallel” is a strong release this week. Furthermore, Marsha’s return to the music scene is met with open arms!
Marsha Swanson's latest single, 'In Parallel', showcases her tranquil texture as a singer-songwriter from the UK.
With a perfect blend of pop and folk influences, Swanson weaves a serene atmosphere throughout the track, enriched with subtle undertones.
Her vocals are inspiring, and she reemerges into the spotlight with renewed vigor.
The music itself leaves an impact, drawing us in with its captivating melodies. The piano arrangements serve as a cohesive force, seamlessly binding the elements together. In the closing moments, the addition of angelic live strings enhances the ethereal quality of the song, while a foot-tapping drum rhythm adds an infectious energy.
Marsha Swanson, the ethereal songbird hailing from the enchanting lands of the UK, emerges like a gentle breeze after a rejuvenating hiatus from her melodic odyssey.
Her latest creation, ‘In Parallel’, gracefully waltzes into the realm of indie-folk, yet its essence transcends boundaries, embracing an amalgamation of diverse styles and genres.
Swanson, ever the harmonious soul, unites with a tribe of esteemed musicians, including the illustrious Henry (King Thumb) Thomas, whose illustrious presence graced the BBC TV series Rockschool as a co-presenter and writer. Also, beneath the hallowed roof of the legendary Konk Studios, where musical magic is whispered by the walls, the luminary producer Iestyn Polson, known for his alchemical touch with luminaries such as David Gray, Patti Smith, and David Bowie, meticulously captured the essence of this captivating single.
As the sun-soaked chorus unfolds, a wondrous surprise dances upon the airwaves, evoking profound emotions within our hearts. The celestial notes of the piano, like drops of stardust, gracefully intertwine with Marsha’s poignant vocals, bestowing a symphony of sublime pleasure upon our ears.
Green Man review of 'Sentient Stardust'
This is the second album from London-based singer-songwriter Marsha Swanson, a singer who I first heard providing beautiful harmonies for Swill and the Swaggerband on their album, Elvis Lives Here. Kicking off with the title track, "Sentient Stardust" reveals a rather spiky sounding production with more than a few nods towards 1980s pop. In contrast, "How Are You?" is a heavenly piano-led ballad, achieving the sweeping, hymnal heights reached by the likes of Beth Nielsen-Chapman. With its reference to kingdoms and "the month of May," the slightly kooky "Alice The Palace" contains dramatic imagery that could be straight out of an old English folk ballad. Sounding somewhat like an English take on Suzanne Vega's "The Queen And The Soldier" might, it could also be equally at home if sung by English folk-queen Maddy Prior. Lyrically, Swanson is astute and reflective. The fragile closing track, "Still Wrong," another delicious piano-led ballad, deals with the reluctant acceptance that a relationship is failing: "wrong / try to be strong / love may carry on / but it's still wrong." Similarly, "Author Of Your Life" cleverly dissects the insincerities of a life spent refusing to face facts: "turning through the pages of your predetermined lifestyle / you're the author of your book but it's not true." Swanson's voice avoids over-ornamentation and the histrionics that many chart-fodder female singers deliver, singing with a clear and direct plaintiveness, and hitting all the right emotional buttons. Comparisons to the likes of Carole King, Beth Nielsen-Chapman and Suzanne Vega are not merely fanciful; Swanson delivers a similar brand of grown-up, well-written pop. With songs of this quality, the classy Swanson surely has all it takes to seduce the music-listening public who are looking for intelligent, well-produced and thoughtful music.
Toxic Pete review of 'Sentient Stardust'
Marsha Swanson has been likened to several very successful and influential female artists over the last few months and years, but to me, Marsha Swanson is just simply Marsha Swanson, very much her own entity with very much her own style and sound and 'Sentient Stardust' is a fantastic collection of Swanson originals done in her own inimitable way.
Somewhat of a musical enigma, Marsha Swanson straddles several popular musical genre; she can be a stereotypical but mature popster, a genuinely powerful folk singer, jazz diva and just about everything and anything in between. For me, that's what makes Swanson so accessible - her diversity and all-encompassing musical prowess. Here, once again, Swanson gives her all - built on impressively strong songs and her natural ability for vocal expression no matter what sentiment is required, 'Sentient Stardust' positively glows with charm and well crafted, polished professionalism.
'Sentient Stardust' is beautifully packaged with front cover artwork that Kate Bush would be proud to use, it includes full lyrics which are useful rather than a necessity (Swanson's diction and delivery being so precise that you can pick out every word as you listen). The twelve songs here are varied but always stunning and Swanson's attention to detail is clearly demonstrated in every track through beautifully orchestrated works that ooze emotion and touch the heart and caress the soul.
Marsha Swanson has an ability to make me feel good no matter what she does, no matter what the lyrical content, no matter what the mood and 'Sentient Stardust' is once again typical of this superb artist. 'Sentient Stardust' by Marsha Swanson is as near to perfection as it gets; covering many moods and incorporating plenty of light and shade it's a beautiful album that says more about Marsha Swanson than I ever could! Want something with a real feelgood factor? Get 'Sentient Stardust' by Marsha Swanson!!
Peter J Brown aka Toxic Pete (Rhythm & Booze rating 10)
Nick Serre review of 'Sentient Stardust'
Marsha Swanson's second album thwarts the notion that follow-ups frequently fall flat on their face. Perish the thought. Sentient Stardust is a wonderfully eclectic blend of styles, and Marsha's song writing, arrangement and production skills are exemplary once again. With an endearing maturity, 'How Are You', 'Touching The Void', and 'Still Wrong' especially, demonstrate her beautifully dulcet tones and Marsha's incredible vocal range. The musical eloquence throughout adds to the overall impact. All of the 12 tracks here are emotionally charged and seem to be a mixture of a slightly tormented soul, yet with a stronger-than-fuck attitude. Much as comparisons are rather blasé, imagine shoving Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and Annie Lennox through a blender and filtering the best parts..this, with ease, is where Marsha is at.
UK Music Search review of 'Sentient Stardust'
Straddling the worlds of traditional folk and a more interesting and experimental direction, Marsha Swanson continues to be a singer/songwriter who comes dangerously close to achieving something special. New album, SENTIENT STARDUST finds her making significant steps towards achieving that something special, a collection of songs writhing with ambition, though at times still mired by the stiflingly predictable and dull. Opener and title track SENTIENT STARDUST sees Marsha delivering a song that belongs in some middle ground between the dull and the special, starting out as a pretty acoustic folk tune before descending into a dull chorus and layering in some weird space rock guitar effects and militaristic drumming towards its climax - great in places, dull and predictable in others. SPARKLES is an undeniable pretty tune, melancholic piano chords underpinning Marsha's searching vocals; the simplicity and honesty in every moment here working to her favour and drawing you into her world. The orchestral other worldliness of ALICE THE PALACE is the records most intriguing and unexpected moment, Marsha Swanson giving in to her more avant garde urges and delivering a song that touches on mediaeval folk and offbeat English pop; a sound that sits somewhere bizarrely between The Kinks, Joanna Newsom and Bjork. With MY LIFE MY OWN Marsha continues to impress with a song that pushes her sound into further fresher directions. With a driving Motown bass riff and funky beats, this is radio friendly pop that bears the odd similarity to recent Amy Winehouse material; Marsha Swanson delivering catchy melodies in that folk tinged voice, echoes of Joni Mitchell and Beth Orton shining through. The torch song melodramaticism of IN TIME is another highlight whilst with THE FALL OF MADAM M, Marsha delivers pretty acoustic folk that wouldn't sit out of place on the latest OC soundtrack album. Elsewhere here, THE SECRET OF MAZEY is another slice of pretty acoustic folk, TOUCHING THE VOID, a haunting ballad underpinned by strange ambient sound clashes and AUTHOR OF YOUR LIFE, a rousing piano led song that wears its Elton John and Bernie Taupin influences firmly on its sleeve. With SENTIENT STARDUST, Marsha Swanson makes sizeable steps towards delivering the record to mark her out as a truly distinctive and original singer/songwriter.
Rock 'n' Reel review of 'Sentient Stardust'
For whatever reason, there appears to be a preponderance of singer-songwriters around at the moment all wanting to be the next KT Tunstall or James Blunt. It’s arguably a good thing that most of them will never make it any further than the local folk club or open mic night. Even if they do the competition is still pretty fierce, so it takes something special to succeed in an increasingly competitive market place. Londoner Marsha Swanson could, if this album is any indication, have what it takes to make the grade. Her second release, Sentient Stardust marks the culmination of a busy year that has seen a significant rise in her profile and it’s easy to see why. A writer of intelligent and thought-provoking songs that have the added bonus of being ridiculously catchy. Swanson puts everything into their performance. It’s not surprising that she’s been likened to Kate Bush because, from the heartfelt tenderness of 'How are You?' and 'Still Wrong' to the more upbeat 'My Life My Own' and the acoustic rock of the title track, her voice swoops and soars to wring the maximum possible emotion from her beautifully crafted songs.
Fatea Records review of 'Sentient Stardust'
It's been quite a year for Marsha Swanson, her three singles have seen her picking up increasing radio play. She won the Glasswerk New Music Awards Folk Artist of the year and picked up the nomination for best female vocalist. More importantly she's just released the follow up to her debut album "Waterhed". "Sentient Stardust" named after the first single, is a powerful and evocative album. It has a hint of the dark fae about it. Swanson has honed her songwriting skills giving her contemporary folk/acoustic pop sound a distinctive edge.
Music Press Review of 'Watershed' by Cartman
The first thing you will notice when listening to this CD is the strong vocals that stand out. The singing is very folkie, although saying this you can sometimes say it is like pop singing. On the first song I would say the singing is very Bjork like, the music is also done very well, the music is almost like slow calming background music which accompanies the voice very well. As the CD progress the music become more like pop rock which is good because it gives the CD a nice variety of songs unlike some CD's where you will listen to a song and think you are just like listening to the same song over and over again, it has to be said that this CD does have a good variety on it, where some songs seem rocky others are almost atmospheric sounding smoothing and calming. The only downside I see to this CD is that the voice is relied upon too much at times, which lets the music down at times, all in all this is a good buy for people who like Norah Jones or Katie Melua type of music.
UK Music Search Review of 'Watershed' by Mike Bond
There's little doubt that London based singer/songwriter Marsha Swanson knows her way around a pleasant sounding song, offering up twelve here without breaking a sweat,
and if inoffensive pop tunes that find the middle ground between Carole King and Dido are your thing then you're in for a treat.
With her debut album, Marsha Swanson has opted for a musical route largely free of the usual hurdles such as challenge, freshness or originality -
presenting a record almost full of acoustic based tunes that wouldn't have sounded out of place emerging from the Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter scene of the mid seventies.
Artists like Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Carole King hang heavily over proceedings musically wise, WATERSHED an album that works best when stripped back to the more simple pleasures of just a voice and piano or guitar.
The opening track is a case in point, DON'T BLAME IT ON LOVE is presented as Marsha and a simple acoustic guitar, the subdued stirrings of an orchestra humming in the background - it's a set up that works in her favour,
the basic nature of the song playing up her strengths and evoking a raw emotion lost in many of the other songs to follow. CRY is another song that follows in the same footsteps, but its also one that fails to reach the same heights -
Swanson reaching for high notes in the chorus and stumbling to achieve them, an effect that renders this the feel of an early demo recording rather than a finished track on a debut album.
Breaking with the mould slightly in places and heading more in the direction of a Fiona Apple, songs like JOHNNY CAN'T READ and MADAM M find Marsha Swanson experimenting with programmed beats and samples, MADAM M in particular excelling in this department and finding her reaching for near operatic melodrama, a place where Kate Bush meets Jon Brion. The breezy acoustic jazz of WEEKEND BEST FRIEND is by turns something of a letdown, returning to a sound that places her in distinctly bland territory - a place already populated by far too many upcoming singer/songwriters right now, something repeated by the equally dull sounding GHOST SONG. There are times when Marsha Swanson manages to really impress, the likes of WATERCOLOURS and BRAVE FACE find her hitting you with an emotional impact that can be breathtaking - her vocals soaring in a way that suggests this is a singer who can really deliver with the right songs, whilst the radio friendly sound of HOOVERING THE SKY also suggests someone who stands a very real chance of commercial success. A record that impresses in places and leaves you cold in others, WATERSHED represents something of a mixed bag. Marsha Swanson is someone well worth investigating and on the handful of occasions here that she hits her stride you'll be transfixed. WATERSHED is an ultimately patchy and uneven debut, but the glimmers of something special are undeniable.
Toxic Pete Review of 'Watershed'
Marsha Swanson's 'Watershed' is a smooth piece of contemporary folk tinged chill out. Swanson seems to float effortlessly along as she tells her beautiful tales in her own easy way. The album has been produced exceptionally well; Swanson's vocals ride clearly and majestically over the stunning orchestral backdrop. Crafted to the 'nth' degree 'Watershed' reminds me very much of the classic Carole King era; she has the same silky approach to her vocals that made King what she was. Her songs too have a similarity to King's works. 'Watershed' soothes away the days toils, it caresses and nurses the torn and jagged raw nerves of everyday life. It really is a stunning work of the highest order. This may not be the most commercial offering I've come across of late simply because this genre isn't in the public eye (or ear!) currently. But, 'Watershed' will make its mark and find its way to the purist music lover - it'll find many a good home where it'll be appreciated for what it is and what it's worth. Well, it's Christmas Eve and I'm here listening to and writing about something that's got me away from the barrage of Christmas jingles, sleigh bells and carols. It's taken me to a place that feels warm and safe. It's like an unexpected Christmas present - one that's appreciated and one that'll get a lot of use. 'Watershed' is a release from the banal crap that I hear so often on the airwaves - it's a pleasure to behold - a fortyfive minutes of aural joy to drink in and cherish! A bit of Christmas cheer and a ray of light on a dismal, cold and damp day.
High Voltage Review of 'Watershed' by David Robertshaw
Since receiving a favourable single review by our own beloved HV back in September, London based singer/songwriter Marsha Swanson has been hard at work preparing Watershed, her debut album. In a notoriously overcrowded genre, something special is needed to get noticed. Swanson has this in a classically English folk-tinged voice which works well both with the Portishead like trip-hop beats and backed by simple piano. Swanson kicks off the album with the sparse, wintery sounding 'Don’t Blame It On Love'. It’s a track reminiscent of Beth Gibbons on her collaboration with Rustin Mann and is an encouraging start. 'Johnny Can’t Read' displays her variety, mixing a bizarre spoken alphabet sample into something sparkling and sprawling that could easily be Massive Attack. Elsewhere lies a mixture of simple piano ballads that Will Young would take to No.1 ('Losing Me', 'Watercolours') and straightforward pop done with more panache than the god-awful KT Tunstall ('Hoovering the Sky'). 'Breakdown' and 'Braveface' make a fine attempt to fill the void left by the absence of Beth Orton, incorporating trippy drumbeats with mystical echoes and smooth vocals. With the ability to mix the simple and the more experimental, Swanson has made an exceptionally well produced & bewitching album, lush with different musical styles and sumptuous vocals, it is one to listen to while relaxing away the stresses of this modern life.
Cambridge and Beyond Review of 'Watershed'
London based singer songwriter Marsha Swanson brought out her debut cut, "Watershed" last year, and has recently seen it secure proper national distribution, effectively making it's release date early March. Whatever the reason it gave us an excuse as we missed it the first time around and now have an opportunity to right the wrong of us missing it at the time. The first thing you notice about "Watershed" is it's elusiveness. You think you're about to define it and suddenly there's a new sound or vocal phrase that takes it just out of your grasp again. It captivates like a willo the whisp drawing you towards it and then luring you down unexpected paths. Marsha has brought out an album with a very English feel. There are some great atmospheric landscapes around which Swanson's vocals weave the song. It's delicate, at times almost tinged with melancholia, but with an underlying strength that allow it to avoid falling into the world of faux sentimentality. The presentation is direct, and distinctive, but there is so much below the surface to reward you for putting the effort in. It's almost two albums in one. You can just let it wash over you, allow it to do the work, allow it to entertain. "Watershed" is a very subtle album that will take you with it's flow. You are, however, better off giving it your undivided attention. Swanson understands her craft, listen to it and you will pick up the under currents that add that extra meaning. The subtlety in the song and the lyric are matched by the quality of the voice. Marsha has that undefinable something that sets her apart from a number of singers without really being able to define that something. Kate Rusby is a great English singer that brings a Northern edge. Swanson isn't really Southern, but she does have that crystal tone that gives her voice a ring, without it grating. The songs all sound as though they can take a bit of experimenting. I can imagine "Ghost Song" as anything from a haunting lyrical piece, accompanied just by Marsha and a guitar, as a band piece, which is how it's presented, or as a full blown orchestral score. "Watershed" is an album that features great songs, that are packaged to do them justice. I may have missed this the first time around, but both the album and Marsha Swanson are definitely on my radar. Marsha's website gives you the opportunity to try before you but my recommendation is to go for the wallet pretty much straight away. If you're lucky you should also be able to catch up with Marsha Swanson and her band at a venue near you soon as she hits the road in support of watershed.
Heathen Angel Review of 'Watershed' by Dave Adair
The pleading Donna Lewis sharing a therapy session with Joni Mitchell opens up a world of well produced pop music with heart and soul; "Don't Blame it on Love". Marsha's melancholy mingles exquisitely with her lush voice to make the reflection both meaningful and bracing. 'Cry' continues the lucid investigation into matters of the heart, digging down to imply that you do not need to have a voice as low as your boots in order to convey deep thought and heartfelt yearning. Swanson's voice floats serenely on a surf-board of cushioning piano riffs, gliding around the mind in the previous single 'Losing Me'. The old friend of hindsight puts matters in their place and helps our heroine come to terms with a hopeless situation. 'Hoovering The Sky' is a shotgun that starts the album really firing; the vocals lift up enough to knock KT Tunstall off her pedestal (wouldn't that be nice?). This offering is dreamy bubble pop to wrap up and give to your loved one as a gift, with the carefree freedom made all the more eye-catching because of the reflective songs that have preceded it. The reflection returns and Marsha's stubborn defiance is at mule point in 'Madam M', as the Beth Orton in her comes to surface. This London lass has what it takes to carry the burden of responsibility of bringing veracity and thoughtfulness back into English pop music.
Alternative Rock Review of 'Losing Me' single
Singer/songwriter in the Carole King/Beth Orton mould, London based vocalist Marsha Swanson is a pleasingly proficient singer who keeps her folk-influenced single 'Losing Me' simple, using violin, acoustic guitar and her voice to create a relaxing and easy on the ear composition. There's nothing ground-breaking or emotionally crushing here, just modern re-telling of folk-songs played over the decades that your Carole King's and Janis Joplin used to churn out in the Seventies all the way through to mainstream likes of The Corrs and credible Fiona Apple. The key to a solo female artist is the strength of voice and Swanson possesses a good set of vocals, aiming more for soothing and atmospheric than lung-busting. The single has an obligatory dance mix which strips away some of the nuisances and feeling from the original, which is flat and uninspiring. The stripped down piano version is far more effective, Swanson's vocal performance more powerful and expressive, which plays to her vocal strengths keeping the dealings natural.
Glasswerk Review of 'Losing Me' by Dave Adair
Marsha Swanson is a versatile artist who has worked on more projects than Pete Doherty that has involved a sideline with Steve Sidelynk (Madonna's programmer/drummer), she creeps out of the shadows with melody and crispness. The theme of growing apart is explored with precision and a warming sense of pride. 'Losing Me' combines the lost style of Bjork with the uplifting nature of Carole King against a backdrop of tingling and uplifting pop instrumentals that build from a slow and yearning piano propelled base. This London songstress is slowing weaving a musical web of interest that will slowly catch the attention of genuine music lovers.
High Voltage Review of 'Losing Me' by Jake Richards
Marsha Swanson is a singer/songwriter from London who may well be on the verge of breaking through the often impenetrable walls of the capital's competitive solo scene. She sings with a well-honed and direct delivery; her style, without wanting to pigeonhole, perhaps somewhere around the Beth Orton mark and latest offering 'Losing Me' is a clear demonstration of her potential. Whilst maintaining a peaceful, uncomplicated sound, the track is riddled with painful subtleties - "I'm starting to hate your style" - and is accompanied with equally dulcet string, piano and guitar parts. Impressive production and a mountain of critical acclaim certainly help to create a sense of intrigue around Swanson, who could well start to see herself gaining notoriety in a more wide-spread arena.
Bad Robot Review of 'Losing Me' by Suzanne Gaskell
The follow up release to 'Hoovering the Sky', and taken from the critically acclaimed 'Watershed' album, 'Losing Me' sees Marsha Swanson deliver a tune of poignancy and contemplation. Deftly combining bittersweet lyrics of disintegrating love over a textured soundscape of piano and strings, her voice simultaneously conveys a sense of resignation and vulnerability. At once folky and contemporary, Swanson manages to strike a rare balance between vocal fragility and lush instrumentation. This intelligent offering provides welcome respite to the increasingly formulaic and vapid singer-songwriter contributions that have attained recent chart success.
Toxic Pete Review of 'Losing Me'
London singer/songwriter Marsha Swanson's latest release, 'Losing Me', is a gentle, typically English piece with a contemporary folk lilt. Three mixes of 'Losing Me' showcase the song's versatility and Swanson's rich, sensuous voice. Mix one opens gently before beautiful strings, subtle acoustic guitar, punctuating percussion and gentle harmonies unfold. It reminds me of the great Carole King with it's simple lamenting lyrics of a broken relationship. Swanson's approach is slick and easy; an effortless vocal outing that sits comfortably within the impressive arrangement.
Swanson's second rendition, for me the least impressive, features a slightly funky arrangement which sits a little less comfortably with the vocal style. Although demonstrating the strength of the song the funked-up feel does nothing for me.
Mix three I do like. Opening with voice and piano there's more drama from the start. Once again the strings come in to emphasise the melody and add more emotion. Interestingly, this mix is not labelled at all - a bonus mix? For me the bonus really is a bonus; I'd fall for this one simply because of the opening verse with its dramatic piano intro. I like Marsha Swanson's gentle approach to her art. Her often dusky sounding voice is passionate and easy on the ear. Judging by 'Losing Me' I'd have to say that she's also seems to be a pretty cute songwriter. Swanson's style is not really too commercial but I'm sure she'll always be in demand at folk and jazz biased venues - where the audience actually listen.
The Beat Surrender Review of 'Losing Me'
Marsha Swanson - Losing Me
"Say what you want, if you're done with me. Can't always count on your smile. Do what you want, but your losing me. I'm starting to hate your style. Remember a time, when your eyes, reflected what we could be. Now all I see, is a place, so removed from you and me. And I'll fight to see it again. But I won't go it alone."
Not sure what it is about life but it always seems the best songs are the saddest songs, the one where you can feel a little bit of hurt in the singers voice, I guess you know they are putting something of themselves on show more openly with autobiographical songs of anguish or relationships gone wrong. As you can probably guess from the above lyrics, Marsha Swansons beautiful folk tinged vocal on Losing Me isn't singing about the joys of spring. No this is a straight from the heart tale of a relationship faltering. It's delivered beautifully and as much as I like an upbeat song from time to time, I'm going to add her album Watershed onto my shopping list on the back of this.
[the-mag] review of 'Losing Me'
Boasting an English folk-tinged voice that could melt your ears, Marsha's hypnotic "Losing Me" demonstrates just how talented a singer/songwriter she is. A gifted musician that could make even the most macho of men reach for those Kleenex. "Losing Me" is simply constructed, with a fragile acoustic rhythm, greatly expressed and is so sentimental it comes off as audacious. Guiltily, I have to admit that the remix appealed to my tastes more than the original being less folk and more energy and optimism. However, it did lack the prominence of the acoustic guitar that initially intrigued me in the original but still managed to keep that mellow, melodious feel. With all said and done though it's Marsha's voice which is really the star here as, if you are after something on a par with soothing hypnotism, then you need look no further.
New Noise review of 'My Life My Own' single by Lisa Holmes
This is unmistakeably 'hard pop' in a sultry 60s mode. Like Cilla Black’s early releases with a Nancy Sinatra-esque hint of steel. You get the feeling that Blind Date is not beckoning Swanson, this is smart and sassy and set for a wider audience.
Toxic Pete review of 'My Life My Own' single
Although typically genre challenging, 'My Life My Own' finds Marsha Swanson gently edging her way towards pop commercialism and wider acceptance. Swanson's simplistic but classy style is like a unique coming together of the mature and innovative Carole King and the fresh-faced, haunting experimentation of Kate Bush. Superbly crafted and produced, 'My Life My Own' kinda sums up Marsha Swanson's whole approach to her music and the way it's conceived - sort of emotionally defiant, focused and determined. Once again Swanson keeps the instrumentation uncluttered; relying very much on punchy bass, empathetic percussion and subtle guitars to drive and punctuate her silky vocals. 'My Life My Own' is probably as commercial as anything I've heard from Swanson so far and with her total commitment to her craft, surely it can't be long before Marsha Swanson gets major radio air-time and long overdue recognition.
Fatea Records Review of 'My Life My Own' single
Marsha Swanson continues to develop as both a songwriter and performer. There's a touch of funk added to the acoustic pop that Swanson has developed over her debut album and a couple of singles. There's an energy that rolls right through the song. It provides a throw back to the sixties and manages to turn Marsha into a Bobbie Gentry for Generation Y or is that Generation Z now? You know she could make "Ode To Billy Joe" her own. "My Life My Own" provides the next fix, but only a new album will take away the hunger.
Subbacultcha review of 'My Life My Own' single
Spookily taking jangle pop and making something epic in it’s place, all backed by her stunning vocal dexterity.
Toxic Pete review of 'Still Wrong'
Yet another excellent release from Marsha Swanson in the form of the single, 'Still Wrong'. Very much in the Carole King style of balladic folk/rock, 'Still Wrong' epitomises Swanson's smooth but heart-searching delivery as she pours out her lyrics to beautifully poised and simplistic instrumental support. Prolific only goes part way to describing this young lady's output and so far I've been nothing but impressed with everything I've had the pleasure to be asked to review. Swanson just comes up with the goods every time and I have to say, I do believe she's getting stronger every time. Certainly, 'Still Wrong' is one of the most sensitively delivered pieces I've heard from the Swanson portfolio thus far; it really is beautiful! Marsha Swanson is indeed a rare and wondrous talent; there's no sitting back and living off former glory for this immaculate songstress - she just continues to improve and evolve and I have to say that, for me, 'Still Wrong' is slap bang on the money. This slow, mournful sounding ballad is superbly suited to her voice and Swanson gives one of her finest performances to date. Stunning!!
Get Ready to Rock review of 'Still Wrong' by Pete Whalley
Taken from her forthcoming album, Still Wrong is classic singer-songwriter fodder. With inspiration from the likes of Carole King, Fiona Apple and Beth Orton, Still Wrong has echoes of Orton's breezy style. Principally a piano number, it's a nice track and Marsha's wistful vocals suit it well. But there's a fine line between brilliance and mediocrity and I'd need to hear more than just the one track to decide whether Marsha is a 'hit' or a 'miss'. It reminded me a bit of Beverley Craven. Whatever happened to her?
Fatea Records review of 'Still Wrong'
Marsha Swanson is a singer/songwriter that we've long championed. Since hearing her album "Watershed" we've had Marsha down as an artist to keep an ear out for. She's released a consistently strong series of singles since her album and the download "Still Wrong" shows that she is an artist still very much in form. If the intention is to use this as an expectation raiser for her new album in the Autumn then it does the job. It is moist in it's anticipation.
Subbacultcha review of 'Still Wrong'
Intensity doesn’t even begin to cover ‘Still Wrong’, like tears tracing down your cheeks, this will make you a little blue…
Fatea Records review of 'Sentient Stardust' single
Marsha Swanson follows up her excellent "Watershed" album with the release of a new single, "Sentient Stardust". The single seems to show Swanson developing a harder, almost more poppy sound than the tracks on the album. It also confirms Swanson in the one to watch category. There are a lot of good singer songwriters about. Marsha seems to be able to define a phrase to create strong lyrics. Sentient Stardust sees her growing with confidence.
Toxic Pete review of 'Sentient Stardust' single
'Sentient Stardust' finds the talented Marsha Swanson once again in fine fettle. Coming at you somewhat more tangentially than much of her previous material 'Sentient Stardust' is as gritty a piece of work as I've heard from this great songstress. This brilliant new release takes all of about two plays to find its way into your psyche. This beauty then sits there and, just like a good kebab, keeps coming back!! Very tasty!! I have to say, the more I hear of Marsha Swanson - the more I like her. Once again she shows here what a great writer she is. This is such a cleverly put together song; and there's more than a touch of Kate Bush nestling inside 'Sentient Stardust' - and it works!! Swanson's silky, folksy, vocal delivery is carried superbly by a stunning contemporary arrangement; sensitive acoustic guitar and infectious percussion are occasionally and effectively joined by, and interwoven with, subdued electric guitars and subtle synths - great stuff!! 'Sentient Stardust' is probably the most commercial sounding track I've, thus far, heard from the ever improving Marsha Swanson.
Peter J Brown aka Toxic Pete (Rhythm & Booze rating 9)
Henk Potts review of 'Hoovering The Sky' single
You know when you get those songs that instinctively remind you of summer? Well this is one of those. With the catchiest chorus of the year, Marsha Swanson has created a song that will enter you head and remain there for the summer. The song rely's totally of Marsha's lyrics...they effortlessly move up and down and take you along to a new level. The version I prefer of the track is actually track two on the CD...take a visit to www.marshaswanson.co.uk and purchase a copy of the Tim Arnold Remix, a more haunting track...play track one on the sunny days, let Mr Arnold add some dark effects to the other days.
The Living Room (Cambridge) Live Review by Sarah Spenser
I'm sitting in a dark basement venue, the Living Room, run by Hope Street Music. The night has become a focus point for showcasing talent in Cambridge, and this particular night is no exception. Marsha Swanson is tonight's headliner, and as she takes to the stage with her guitar accompaniment I am fairly surprised that she does not play it herself. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. The first song is called 'Cry'. A strolling casual melody, I can't shake the feeling that I've heard it somewhere before. She sounds a bit nervous and I wonder if the PA needs tweaking, but by the time the second chorus arrives she sounds a lot more relaxed. Next on the list is 'Ghost Song' which wouldn't be out of place on a film soundtrack; a lofty tune with catchy pop licks. This song is followed by a swig of water and a bit of banter before my favourite song in the set so far. An upbeat slice of realism with an oh-so-summery feel, 'Weekend Best Friend' is a sly comment on relationships. 'Breakdown' follows. It begins with an icy, Skunk Anansie-tinged beginning, and slides into dark hints of anger and scepticism, matched aptly by the sharp, almost bitter melody. 'Hoovering the Sky' is a twinkling tune dedicated to the idea of having a mental spring clean, cleaning up the debris after a relationship. It's an uplifting song, and every woman in the audience is smiling at Swanson in understanding. The pace is then relaxed as Swanson performs the beautiful ballad 'Johnny Can't Read'. This stands out from the other songs, not only for its simple melody and lyrics, but for the fact that the song is so different to the others in its subject. Swanson explains the next song, 'Losing Me' is about the turning point in a relationship, when something changes, "and that smile isn't enough and you have to work at it"
This song strikes some serious chords in me, and by the looks of it, a lot of other people in the audience tonight. This song has a simple melody, soaring, honest and rather beautiful, and the lyrics are the same. "Your love no longer lifts me", I'm sure that every body can relate to that. 'Watercolours' is a twinkling slice of music, "the best laid plan was to find another man", commenting again on relationships. There's a hint of melancholy here, but it works well. The final song is called 'Sentient Stardust', and before the song begins I hear a man near me snicker to his partner about the title, and she gave him a look and needless to say he shut up. This was a perfect example of how well Marsha can connect to an audience; you'd have to be remarkably thick skinned to not empathise with her lyrics. 'Sentient Stardust' begins and it's beautiful from the start. It's anthemic and upbeat, and I knew it would be stuck in my head for the rest of the night. The rest of the crowd clearly agreed with me as when the end arrived, there was thunderous applause and calls for another song. Swanson looked rather surprised but pleased with the requests, and she kindly agreed to do one more, giving us a preview of her new material from her forthcoming second album. 'Impasse', instantly more soulful but still just as delicately crafted. A lamenting upbeat ballad, "we once were good friends, how can that remain", and lyrics that once again strike chords within me, a hopeful melody. The woman in front of us is different from the one at the beginning of the set. She seems changed, like the set was a cathartic experience for her. In a society that seems obsessed with singer/songwriters, Marsha Swanson is a well needed breath of fresh air.
Sarah Spenser (Apex Magazine)
The Porter Bar live review by Ed Hutchinson
The next act on tonight is Marsha Swanson, a beautiful young singer/songwriter from London. She is dressed casually and has an air of quiet confidence about her. Despite the sparse crowd she makes regular eye contact with the audience and smiles, very appreciatively at the enthusiastic reception she gets. Her voice although gentle has a noticeable hard and forceful edge to it. Soulful would be how I would describe it. In fact a member of the crowd (always time to network!) said it reminded him of a certain 60's folk sound that used to emerge from the common room at prep school. A common comparison with today’s female singer/songwriters I know, yet Marsha’s rich voice and free-spirited aura send the listener to a time and place in which the focus is on pure honest personal expression. This also comes across in her lyrics. In the first song she sings "our loves alive, our love survived"! Followed by "everything dies, that’s why I cry". The balance of joy and freedom with pain and longing immediately coming through. The third track is introduced as 'a summer song' which 'although its not summer, we can get away with'. Its nice to see a performer able to convey that level of confidence and optimism on a cold and rainy day. The subject of her songs is not limited either. The fourth track titled "Johnny Cant Read" tells the story of a deaf and blind child and his own personal struggle in today’s harsh and critical world. She sings, "you don’t know how he struggles so, it hasn't gone away. It's with him everyday". One of the marks of a good songwriter is being able to feel and convey emotion from another person’s perspective, which this song certainly does.
The song "Weekend Best Friend" follows, being described as 'wanting something more than commitment'. Marsha then offers the understandable advice that 'you shouldn't wear heels on stage' although if she's struggling we certainly haven’t noticed! The seventh song of the set is the second track on her album 'Watershed' and is called 'Losing Me'. A subject every one of us can relate to as well as the description of the song being about 'when a charismatic smile is no longer enough'. Once again it’s a beautiful song from a great album most of which has been played live for us tonight. Before ending the set with "Impasse" she sang a song with the lyrics "we are sentient stardust in the air". I thought that was an amazing line and for me it summed up her ability to bring across that 'little something special'. The crowd picked up on it as well as she was cheered on to do an encore. I had the pleasure of meeting Marsha after the gig and she came across as highly intelligent, engaging and insightful. She talked about her desire to place all her focus on writing, performing and creating and I was left with the impression of a happy heart forging an undoubtedly successful career.
Interview Transcript from "The Kensington & Chelsea News" with Sara Loveridge
Sara Loveridge talks to local singer-songwiter Marsha Swanson, as she prepares to release her debut album Watershed, and finds out about the things that inspire her music.
SL: How did you first get in to music?
MS: I remember enjoying singing as a very young child (perhaps more than others enjoyed listening back then). I wrote melodies and lyrics long before I ever played an instrument, but gradually wrote songs on the piano. Whilst I enjoyed a limited spell at formal piano lessons, I found that composing came easier to me by ear. I knew which chords I liked by sound rather than by name. I started to record music when I was about 12, first with a tape recorder, then with a four-track recorder. I would spend hours experimenting with harmonies and layering my vocals.
SL: Who inspires you?
MS: Musically, I have been inspired as much by songs as I have individual artists or bands. My favourite songs have equally potent lyrics and musical depth. Songs like Life on Mars by David Bowie, Your Song, (Elton John), You've Got a Friend (Carole King), and I Don't Like Mondays (The Boomtown Rats) are great examples. The quality that inspires me most in an artist vocally is more about a clear sense of identity rather than technical ability. This quality inspires me whenever I come across it in life, not just in music.
SL: How would you describe your music?
MS: Accessible, yet demanding, in a satisfying way.
SL: What is the new album Watershed about?
MS: Whilst Watershed isn't a concept album as such, there are themes that run through it. A lot of the songs are about relationships, not only between lovers, but also between parents, friends, strangers and ourselves. They are observations about the watersheds that we reach when we deal with the simplicities and complexities of relating with others in love and in life. For me each song that I write is a personal watershed. It is often through writing and expressing what concerns me that I reach a turning point and can then move on to something new.
SL: Where in London do you live and how long have you lived there?
MS: I have always been a Londoner! I grew up in North London, and then moved to West Kensington after studying at University in Middlesex. As Jim Morrison used to say "The West is the Best" (although he was talking about America!).
“A writer of intelligent and thought provoking songs that have the added bonus of being ridiculously catchy”
Rock and Reel Magazine
Marsha Swanson is a singer/songwriter from London. Drawing inspiration from classic songwriters, mixed with orchestral soundscapes, she delivers her own brand of grown-up pop. Describing her music as “romantic realism”, Marsha’s songs are serious but also hopeful, an approach to art best summarized by the famous Thomas Hardy quote “If a way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst”.
Her debut album “Watershed” secured national distribution in 2006 with Proper Music Distribution following a lengthy development deal with Universal Publishing. Early releases “My Life My Own”, and “Still Wrong” received widespread critical acclaim and a stunning response from regional and national BBC radio.
Gaining support from influential music critics and major arts media, Marsha was delighted when Storm Thorgerson agreed to do the artwork for second album, “Sentient Stardust”. Marsha had long admired his iconic album covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin & Muse and was thrilled when her music inspired multiple designs that were later selected for his collection, “The Raging Storm”. The album was launched at Virgin’s flagship store at Piccadilly, 2008.
It featured production from ex Jocasta frontman and founder of Save Soho, Tim Arnold and Alex McGowan (Co-writer and producer for Martina Topley Bird’s Mercury Music Prize nominated album “Quixotic”, (who Marsha was also the lyric consultant on). The album went on to win Marsha the Best Folk Artist and Best Album awards at the Glasswerk New Music Awards in London 2007.
Marsha completed two BBC regional radio tours as well as performing exclusive acoustic sets for the likes of BBC Wales, Talksport and many more. Singles from the album all received daytime regional BBC and commercial radio airplay. The video release for single “How are you?” was chosen for playlists by “O Music TV” and “Propeller TV”. Marsha also performed it live on Channel M Breakfast show.
In this period, Marsha began an extended period of varied musical collaborations, experimenting with Steve Sidelnyk (programmer/drummer to Madonna), Richard Robson (programmer/remixer to Richard Ashcroft/Magic Numbers), and Canadian composer Ken Ramm (Euphoria). She co-wrote with Joe Cang (hit writer of Aswad’s “Shine”), BAFTA nominated producer and writer Tim Baxter, and provided guest backing vocals to Phil "Swill" Odgers from The Men They Couldn't Hang for his Swill and the Swagger Band debut.
Marsha combined her two passions of songwriting and working with children, when writing multiple songs for a children’s charity which supports deprived inner city children, called "Kids Company". Her work with them for over a decade included two performances with the children to King Charles (then Prince Charles). Another performance to Gordon Brown took place in 10 Downing Street and the song also featured in a Ruby Wax Documentary about the Charity.
After taking a break to become a mother, Marsha joined forces with Celebrity children's entertainer Amanda Frolich of Amanda’s Action Club. Amanda has been dubbed the Jamie Oliver of West London’s playgrounds. Marsha met Amanda when her daughter attended her classes which she loved. She was delighted to help out when she learned that Amanda was looking for new music for her franchise. Marsha wrote songs for Amanda’s new album for pre-school children, in collaboration with multi-million selling recording artist Alison Wheeler from “The Beautiful South”, a longtime supporter of Amanda’s work. The album features songs about growing up, healthy eating, & sharing. It featured the vocals and even the laughter of Marsha’s then 6 year old daughter. Amanda continues to use this music to host parties for her A-list following which has included the Beckhams, Amanda Holden, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s children.
In 2015, Marsha began a new project after being inspired by the novels of bestselling and Orange Prize winning author Lionel Shriver. After reading “We Need to Talk about Kevin”, (which was later made into a motion picture), Marsha came across an earlier novel of Shriver’s which was available in America but had not yet been released in the U.K. It was about a fictitious band called “Checker and the Derailleurs”. Marsha was struck by a comment in the afterword where Lionel mentioned "As for the song lyrics, I had a blast writing them, and if anyone is ever inspired to set them to music they’re welcome to give it a try”. Marsha saw this as an open invitation and immediately started composing music to the lyrics in the novel with guitarist Seb Cooper. She was delighted when Lionel finally heard their interpretation and expressed that it was exactly as she heard it in her head when writing the novel. Lionel’s work certainly connected with Marsha artistically and this collaboration was unusual, if not unique.
The single, “You Think I’m So Great I’m Not” was released on the same date as the U.K. release of the novel to tie-in. It departed from Marsha’s usual style, following Lionel’s description of the musical sound and instrumentation of the band in the novel. She described an edgy youthful crew with eclectic influences rooted in rock and punk. The song reveals the protagonist’s own idea of himself which lies in stark contrast to the idolisation he receives from his peers. Lionel Shriver talks about the song as one of her desert island discs on BBC radio 6 show paperback writers.
In 2015, Marsha released single “An Island”, a haunting tale of isolation. The accompanying video for An Island marked a new collaboration with photographer and film maker Michael Clement. Michael has also taken photos of Marsha for her forthcoming album.
After a 7 year hiatus, Marsha returns to a much changed music scene with a whole new body of work. During the pandemic, Marsha wrote and recorded (online) a children’s album and resource for schools which is currently in development with Karnac Books. 2023 also saw the completion of her third studio album due for release early in 2024. The first single from the album, “In Parallel” will be released June 9th 2023. The album cover has been designed, yet again by Storm Thorgerson’s team, who are responsible for creating some of the greatest album covers of all time spanning 5 decades, including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy.
Flipping the well understood concept of a “Near Death Experience” and turning it on its head, the new album, titled “Near Life Experience” is the thought provoking culmination of lyrical and musical reflections that have emerged from major life and world events.
Amidst all the uncertainties and adversities, Marsha retained a dogged determination to make a record of integrity born from solid musicianship, life experience, and love. The journey began when finally getting to work with producer Iestyn Polson (best known for his work with David Gray, Patti Smith and David Bowie) on an E.P. at Konk studios, following a missed opportunity to work with him a decade earlier. When asked by an over-stretched Iestyn, “why should I work with you, I can work with anyone and I have limited time?” Marsha explained pragmatically that she knew what she wanted to say, why it might be relatable to others, and how she had written music that could communicate the core messages effectively. After much serious talk about the current state of the music industry, all the pitfalls and a million reasons why not to make a record, the deal was finally sealed with Marsha’s promise to make Iestyn the best studio sandwich ever! This starting point, in many ways, characterizes Marsha’s whole approach to recording music. She sees enjoying the process as being as important as the end result.
Marsha was introduced to Henry (King Thumb) Thomas (famous for his role as a Co-presenter and writer contributor of the BBC TV series Rockschool, and for playing for endless international artists, recording on countless hit records, TV and film soundtracks) at Ronnie Scotts. It was here that he was playing with revered pianist and Marsha’s long-term collaborator, Benjamin Croft. They hit it off immediately over their joint passion for using music as a therapeutic tool for young people. In recognizing a kindred spirit in each other, it wasn’t long before Henry got involved. First, it was as a string arranger and composer on the E.P. and then later as a producer when him and Marsha were given an opportunity by Dave Lynch at Echo Zoo studios, Eastbourne, to record by the sea. It was during this time that the E.P developed into an expanded 15 track album. Henry brought in a group of long-term musician friends, selected not only for their musical prowess, but for their like-minded temperament and commitment to any project that they believe in. A fire was lit, and the highly ambitious process, confirmed Marsha and Henry’s shared view that the end result of a recording cannot help but contain within it the sum of its relational parts.
The album as a multifaceted and combined conglomerate features a stellar line up of musical talent featuring some of the U.K.’s top musicians. Drummers Martyn Barker, from Shriekback (who has also co-written and played with Billy Bragg, Marianne Faithfull, Goldfrapp, Robert Plant, Alain Bashung, & Ray Davies), Drummer Keith Prior (David Gray, Savage Garden, Roger Taylor/Queen) , Guitarist Tony Qunta (Odyssey, Hazel O’Connor, Imagination, and Zigaboo Modeliste (drummer of The Meters), Bassist Graham Knight (Simple Kid, Orphan Colours, Trent Miller), Pianist and Keyboard player Benjamin Croft (who has played with legendary musicians Randy Brecker, Frank Gambale, Chad Wackerman, Barry Finnerty and Mike Miller), Acclaimed violinist Benet Mclean, (Omar, Julian Joseph, Steve Williamson, Troy Miller) international violinist Jen Douglas and many more. Assistant production and engineering was provided by Alex McGowan (Stewart Copeland, Tricky, Josh Homme, Mark Lanegan).
Stripped down acoustic piano interpretations of “Near Life Experience” tracks have been recorded by pianist extraordinaire, Clifford Slapper (David Bowie, Boy George, Lisa Stansfield, Stereo MC's, Alabama 2, Suggs, Gary Kemp) which will all be available to hear in Jan 2024. Marsha contacted Clifford during the pandemic after reading his book, "Bowie's Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson"). It was only by coincidence that they found out during a phone conversation about family that they were in fact distant relatives via marriage! The serendipity was palpable.
“Time goes fast, time goes slow. Time’s we’re sharp, with all we know. Can lose it all in a moment, never to come back again. Or gain it back in a distant instant, holding tight to what it might have meant. When we’re facing life.”
“How can we swim in parallel, when it’s a long way for us to ride. Sometimes it’s plain sailing. That gives us strength to meet the tides. Cause only then we’ll know that if the feeling goes, we can get it back again.”
“A form so fine there’s so much dignity to bear. Cause we are sentient stardust in the air. Mobile and mindful, so much life to declare. Cause we are sentient stardust in the air”
“But I’m understanding some. I’m out of luck, you’re out of love, Gave yours to another, and there’s not enough. Don’t want you to leave, like this we can’t stay. We once were good friends, how can that remain. Cause I’m out of love, yes I’m out of love, I’m all out of love, In that way.”
“I try so hard to live my life the way that I would choose. And I can do that most successfully, when I’m with you. But when the star comes out, it shines so bright it can misguide. You don’t have to shine so brightly, leave those sparkles for the sky. Sky, oh, leave those sparkles for the sky, for the sky”
Alice The Palace
“So she broke down her palace, and cried out for Alice. Faced with the earth, in idle glare, she took a leap and embraced the air. Never to touch again, never to touch again. Alice the Palace, way down from England, Lost in her Kingdom, It’s not a surprise
My Life My Own
“Loving a feeling’s easy to do, No prizes for pleasure. But can you know it’s not you, While you’re under pressure. And the clouds of confusion invite you to mix it up some more, While the comfy corner’s entice you into their open door. My life my own, how you going to spend it? There’s only one we know. My life my own, do you know how to live it? There’s only one we know.”
“And while the time, while the time dictates what I do, I can forget that I love you. When I can’t find my own piece of mind, Is when I am stuck in time. There’s nowhere to hide, Ahead or behind. Its’ when, when I’m in time
How Are You?
“I’m becoming an all-round expert on you, Gives me strength to help you, Gives me hope, you’ll have will to pull through. Gives me time to bring out all of you, Gives me peace when I know what to do. I’m becoming an all-round expert on you”
The Fall Of Madam M
“You’ve come to gloat that you got over me. You’ll never see that I’m down. You think that you are immune and so strong, But don’t take me on you’d be wrong.I’m still here, I’m about, put away your hope and doubt."
The Secret Of Mazey
“Her weighted words fill her with fear and won’t disappear. Has such little faith in what people can bear to hear. And it won’t be long before its out, A Silent secret wants to shout. It won’t be long before it starts to show, I know, I’ve seen how it is where it ends and how it begins the secret of Mazey”
Touching The Void
“It’s only you, No-one else can fill the gap for you. You’ll need to find a way to see it through, In this lifetime”
Author Of Your Life
“Turning through the pages of your predetermined lifestyle, You’re the author of your book and it’s not true”
“And now a space is here, I knew we’d find it hard. But how we’ve dealt with this shows how we’re worlds apart. Even the end is hard to mend, Cause we are wrong, try to be strong, Love may carry on, but it’s still wrong
Dont Blame it on Love
“Don’t blame it on Love, it’s a matter of life. Loving you is easy but the livings not right. Help me break up with you.”
“Matter of fact, I suppose, its early in the day to prepare for our parting. Nevertheless, I suppose, it’s obvious to see, that’s the fear that comes with falling, Now’s not the time to cry."
Johnny Cant Read
“Trying hard to spell his name, empty letters fill the page, but the words are branded in his brain. Teacher calls his name out loud, trying hard to face the crowd. Time’s up he’s not saved by the bell.”
“Do what you want but you’re losing me, I’m starting to hate your style. But this time, it’s not alright, cause tonight, I found that your laugh no longer lifts me. Your eyes so cold but I feel no chill. Don’t know if I ever will.
Hoovering The Sky
“I can remember when you were the king of the sky. I rode behind you with clouds in my eye, now I cry. I’m hoovering the sky, feel so free, I can fly in the open breeze. Can feel the landslide where you lay, moving with the magic of today. Its lifting me”
Breakdown, I see you’re full up to the core. You can’t stop you fill your diary up some more. No space, no gaps between your words. No doubts, no room to be observed, A slave to each new year. I know we all need incentives, but you’ve had them all year round. You say that you’re building new fences, but the old ones are still falling down.
“You’ll feel tortured with the rest, Don’t think you’re the best, you won’t stay on my mind. But in the mean-time, come see me, but leave on the last train. Be sure, you’ll leave on the last train. I’ll give you some time, I will prey on your mind.I will show you how good it can be, with me”
Weekend Best Friend
“We ride through life’s rollercoasters, you’re my weekend best friend. And the Jury’s out when no-one’s about you’re my weekend hang out. Oh and I’m glad I met you, and more, ever since I met you, it feels so old and new. And I’m starting to see, how much I’d like us to be, More than Weekend friends”
The watercolours seeping through. I want to see again, Cause you saw the art in love. The pictures that we painted, Of the colours we created, Slowly faded”
“Your ghost relates to mine, They’re always by our side. They’re making their own jokes, they’re talking their own lines. And they’d take a ride on a back train, But it’s alright don’t be scared, Free your mind, it’s always there. It’s the ghost of time. The ghost of time says to you, let it go, Do what I’m telling you.
“The dark it won’t hide you. But the light provides no clarity. But your brave face, wants to see me, Brave face, can you hear me”
“I see your face eager to see, What you always triggered off in me. I played the game, I knew you’d do the same. Now, the time has come to change what we called fun”
“Time goes fast, time goes slow, times we’re sharp in all we know. Can lose it all in a moment, never to come back again, or gain it back in a distant instant, holding tight to what it might have meant, when we’re Facing life."
Happy Ever After
“Who sold out daughter’s the happy ever afters, who told our sons there’s a soulmate for everyone, let’s see, what will be.”
“Calmly accepting of not knowing more, this is the world that we live in for sure, we didn’t choose it, we’re not choosing now, still we all live it somehow. Though we know we can’t stare straight at the sun, if we face it in fragments, can more light be shone, might it awaken, serve to inform, the space between night and dawn…..making waves, saving grace, ripples across the shore, maybe there’ll be some more, nano levels at bay, making waves.”
“There he goes, dressed head to toe, the peacock spread to turn her head, now approaching very slow, side on, he finds a friend that’s close, he laughs he grooms, he works the whole room, his eyes are full of planned surprise… its no mystery, why he acts that way, in mothers web with Dad away, he’s not learnt to relate”
“What’s it all about for you, what makes you do the things you do, what makes you scream and shout you’re through, or keeps you loving when you don’t want to, what matters most in the end, we can’t even comprehend, but try as we might and we do, as if there could be one truth, oooh we’re all just spinning round, clinging on to sounds, that resonate with our soul, oh, its such elusive grounds, that a partners found, it seems we’re homeward, seems we’re homeward bound”.
Mahler’s Letter of Intent
“This talk of your music, I cannot abide, when it’s just for you, not all mankind. I am a no philistine but I want a wife, a colleague could not be my life, for this to be right, the role for you, is more noble, faithful partnering, haven, heaven, can’t be broken” “This talk of your music is mere vanity, ever diminished circles. If you can’t renounce it then we cannot be, for it’s in our love that we’ll agree, that we’ll submerge, where I’ll retrieve, rebuild myself, unassailable”
“How can we swim in parallel? When it’s a long way for us to ride. Sometimes it’s plain sailing. That gives us strength to meet the tides”.