Interview: Marshalee talks about her life and music career with Gospel Redefined


Gospel songstress Marshalee has been singing for as long as she can remember. She performed her first solo at age 12 and has been actively performing as a soloist ever since. Marshalee’s performances receive rave reviews for her soaring vocals, engaging style, and excellent stage presence. Her vocal style is most often compared to R&B singer Gladys Knight and Toni Braxton and gospel singers Oleta Adams and Tremane Hawkins.
Gospel Redefined interviews Marshalee and we got to know her the more.

GR:  How did your music career start?

    I did my first solo in church at the age of 12 and have been asked to do solos ever since. I started out singing in church plays and on my church choirs and groups in Jamaica; in the US I growing up I sang as a soloist in Regional Community Choirs in the Bronx New York, traveling with my Pastors as a teenager, as a college student and continue to do so now as an adult at their preaching engagements and street crusades. I also host my own events concert events annually doing a regional community concert for youths, sing at several churches locally and in other states in the Northeast, and is a recording artist releasing my 1st CD in 2009 and releasing my 2nd CD in 2015. 

GR: When you say Gospel Music is a ministry to you, how do you mean?
    Singing gospel music is a ministry to me because gospel music is a different format of sharing the good news, which is that Jesus Christ has come to redeem all of us from carrying the burden of sin throughout our life on earth and has come to give us the assurance that our souls can rest in peace when we die because we have obtained salvation through the acknowledgement and acceptance of the gift of life and salvation that He has offered to everyman. Each song to me is a 3:30 minuet sermonette. A CD with 10 songs has 10 different sermonettes that combine into a beautiful story. Music and singing is very powerful! The bible tells that us that God loves music and that it fills the heavens. It tells us that the place of worship, praise and music is where God’s spirit dwells.  Many genres of music is good and pleasant however Gospel music is particularly powerful because of the message of hope and love that many of its songs share that has the power to create a miracle in someone’s life, inspiring them to change direction from negative to positive, from desperation to inspiration, and from sadness to happiness. There’s boundless hope and power in Gospel Music. It has the power sooth the body, soul, heart and mind and as the bible says its message can “…console and bring joy to those who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning, and the garment of expressive praise for a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be revived and that God may be glorified” (Is 61:3).  Gospel music has the power to empowered the hopeless and to rebuild ruin lives.  The songs I sing and write are from a desire God has placed in my heart to show others the love, hope, and vibrant future that God has promised and provided in His word to anybody who truly trusts and believes in Him and to anyone who wants it!    

GR: Can you briefly tell us about your debut album "God's Favor"
     On September 18, 2009 I released my 1st CD titled ‘GOD’S FAVOR’ with a very successful concert in MA. Marketing the cd myself I sold approximately 2,500 copies which is good on a local grass roots level.  I’m excited about what a nationwide marketing campaign would produce. The CD is available on my website at www.MarshaleeMusic.com, as well as at on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gods-favor/id338650063 , on www.Amazon.com and other electronic media. The CD has several popular singles including, ‘Praise Ya’, ‘Sin Can’t Win’, ‘Tambourine’, ‘So Bad—Lord I Need You So Bad’, ‘God’s Favor’ which was the title song off the CD and ‘With Open Arms’ which is loved by many and some are already sees it as a gospel classic. Over the last year or so these songs have been blessed to have received national air play on radio stations across the country, and internationally including Hawaii, Jamaica, and Holland. The cd produced two music videos ‘Praise Ya’ & ‘God’s Favor’ which are on www.Youtube.com and facebook www.Facebook.com/MarshaleeGospelSongstress. 

GR: People say you sound like Gladys Knight and Toni Braxton, what other artist do you draw inspiration from?
    I draw inspiration from the honored mothers of Gospel music such as Shirley Caesar and Dottie Peoples; big sisters of Gospel music such as Yolanda Adams, Erica Campbell, Mandisa, Mary Mary, Le'Andria Johnson and Tasha Combs; and big brothers such as Donnie McClurkin, Switchfoot, and Jonathan Nelson.   

GR: Growing up in Jamaica, do you see yourself doing Reggae-Gospel music?
    Naturally! As a singer and song writer, in addition to regular traditional, urban, contemporary and R&B gospel song arrangements song ideas also comes to me in different formats including reggae and calypso both of which are natural format of praise and worship. I believe God intended for me to incorporate those types of musical arrangements in my albums and stage presentations by virtue of the culture in which He caused me to be born and raised, on the Island of Jamaica. 

GR:  Working with Fred Jerkins III, how good is that?
    Amazing…I have worked with him for my 2015 album for one of the single which is now released called BY HIS BLOOD. He was so good I almost became a tack-addicted! Fred would send me tracks and I just wanted more and more because each one was better than the last one sent. Fred and his writing and production partner Alvin Garrett are truly geniuses; I couldn’t believe how easy it was to work with them once we got in the studio and how smart they were. It was great!—love those guys!  

    Jeff Pardo is also another musical genius that I had the pleasure of working with on my second album for my 2nd single called FOLLOW. Working with him was magical. It was effortless and GREAT!  He’s an amazing musician and extremely creative. 
GR: What is the latest thing you've been working on and what more should we expect from Marshalee?
    Currently I’m working on my 2nd album, from which 2 New!! singles were recently released! Folks can buy a copy at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marshaleeelliskehlhem The name of the two singles off the NEW 2015 album mentioned earlier are: 1) FOLLOW which I wrote with Grammy Award winning song writer and producer Jeff Pardo, and a 2) BY HIS BLOOD which I wrote with Fred Jerkins III and Alvin Garrett who are also Grammy and Dove Award winners who also produced the song and the track.You can see the videos for my singles on YouTube at these links: FOLLOW at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqSBPnk2iGc   and BY HIS BLOOD at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpmusebngJk  

GR: Three best words that describe Marshalee?
-       Humble
-       Loving
-       Encouraging

GR: Tell us 3 things the world doesn't know yet about you
-   My brother a US Marine walked me down the aisle at my wedding in full uniform, and gave me away
-   I was extremely shy as a child
-   I was crowned Miss Bronx 1991
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