Marina Marqueza has been playing music since the 7th grade. Being a SLC-based performer, Craft Lake City was able to have Marina as one of the performers at the 10th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival in 2018. Marina has experienced what it is like to try her hand at almost every type of music, with a radiant hunger to ravage every opportunity that has allowed her to express herself through her talents. This includes but is not limited to: singing, music production, performance, branding and promotion. She applied all of these skills to her new album that came out January of this year—Orbit Pluto—a 15-song electronic album with R&B and hip-hop influences, primarily steered by Marina’s siren-like vocals.
Hearkening to her cultural background, Marina excitedly announces herself as a queer Japanese-Venezuelan artist driven by a purpose. She says, “I want to leave the message, particularly for other queer people of color across the spectrum, that we deserve to flourish in this world. That if we have a desire to do something, even if nobody in the world takes us seriously but ourselves, that desire is valid and you are more powerful than you know.” Marina knows her value, and the value that a message like this holds in the hands of budding artists, who without examples like Marina, would have a harder time to bloom.
Listening to Orbit Pluto solidifies this message. The eighth song on the album, “West of the Sun / East of the Moon,” begins with the vocals “I’ve got shit to do / Not wasting more time waiting on you” and follows with “I don’t belong here / But I’m not going anywhere” and “I deserve everything I demand”. Hearing this song that asserts self-confidence and self-reliance helps push Marina’s message of encouragement and empowerment to her community and others beyond it. These lyrics also hold a lesson about not letting surroundings determine one’s fate, and in the current environment POC and queer people are fighting against, Marina’s words can go far. She says, “I think more people need to know my story because I am not the only one if that makes sense, but people like me do not get recognized too often because we are in the shadows.”
Along with being talented, inspirational and a great force, Marina is completely self-made. Being self-made is important because it gives an artist the ultimate freedom to decide who they are and what they create. However, the road less traveled is not the easiest to take. “I was learning how to produce at the same time I was writing. Teaching myself how to use software while training my ear, practicing, practicing, practicing, all the time,” Marina says. With no musical training and a goal in mind, Marina produced her first solo album, and it has been wildly successful so far, including a mention in the popular POC publication, Remezcla.
There are rewards to reap in building yourself up with your two hands. Like a sculptor at a throwing wheel, all the forces are against you to throw your hands off balance, but as soon as you gain control you are the one who decides what shape to take. Marina says, “I wrote Orbit Pluto over the course of years as I worked on perfecting my methods but also growing as a person. Many of the songs grew with me.” But it didn’t come without a few growing pains. Marina says, “It has been rough in many ways as I learned to believe in myself despite what society believes about people like me, especially in the music industry. But I pushed through a lot of low moments because I just have this desire to see how far I can go. Overall, writing and producing all of my own music for a finished work was the hardest but most empowering thing I feel like I have ever done.”
In the summer of 2018 Marina performed at the 10th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival. She performed on a hot summer day on the stage of the Gallivan Center, and dazzled those who stood before her. She says, “… it was fun and exciting to be a part of a community of creatives in Salt Lake City. I feel a special attachment to this place and it made me want to perform for more and more people!” Much like her, the DIY Festival helps celebrate artists who have also built themselves with their two hands and a message driving them through the throws of being self-made. To other musicians who are interested in also participating as a performer in the Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival, Marina says, “Give it all you’ve got!”
As you can expect from hardworking Marina, she has already started working on music for her next release, she says “I will be taking a step back from the intensity of energy I put into my album and practice more. My goal is to get better in every possible way and have my next release be something that demonstrates my new leap!” You can find Marina’s album, Orbit Pluto, on almost all music platforms: Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Amazon Music and more. If you are an artist that would like to take steps toward being self-made, signups for the 11th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival are open now and you can apply through the Craft Lake City website. To be eligible as a CLC DIY Festival performer, you have to reside and operate within the state of Utah. You can read more about the guidelines and parameters of the application process here.
Photos by Logan Sorenson.