MARO / Blessing
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Having gained attention from the likes of Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Jessie J, Tracy Chapman, Lennon Stella, the Paper Kites, and many other notable names worldwide, Portuguese multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, arranger, and composer MARO is undoubtedly one to watch. With only a single listen, it is easy to see why MARO’s inimitable voice and songwriting prowess set her apart from any sound on the market. With over three million streams on Spotify, MARO has built an undeniable following completely on her own in under four years. In 2018 alone, MARO released six self-written and produced artist projects, yet they only scratch the surface of the melodic canvas she has yet to paint.
It wasn’t until she was 19 that MARO realized she wanted to pursue music full time. She graduated from Berklee in 2017 and made the decision to move to Los Angeles instead of going home to Portugal. In her first year in LA, MARO released six self-written and self-produced albums. During this time, video clips she posted on Instagram put her on the radar of four-time Grammy-winner Jacob Collier, who invited MARO to join his debut touring band as a featured vocalist and instrumentalist. She also was asked to open for Jessie J, Fatai, ¿Téo?, and others. With influences ranging from Elis Regina to Esperanza Spalding to Rajery to Justin Bieber, MARO is excited for what’s to come.
For most high school seniors, a senior prom’s cancellation stemming from COVID concerns would prove a devastating blow to the social peak and pre-adulthood sendoffs that teenagers around the country spend years waiting for. But the 20-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist named Blessing took the opportunity and saw inspiration instead of devastation, using the missed milestone as artistic fodder. Out tumbled songs like “rage,” “freak,” “character,” the lead single “girl like me,” and its follow-up, “boys like you.” In fact, the entirety of her debut project took shape in the same period in her life, all responding in one way or another to the suspended state of being that came with closing out her teenage years alone in a bedroom.
Years of drive and self-taught artistry birthed the girl next door, a debut EP brimming with the sort of promise and pioneering musicianship rarely found in young artists. Citing a desire to make music that is genuine and steeped in feelings she’s really felt—even if her stories carry those feelings to new territory—Blessing calls the girl next door “a relief and the ability to finally say what I’ve always wanted to say out loud,” a collection of songs that she wishes she could have heard when she needed them most.