Marilyn Fernandez - Beauty & the Ballad
While other Latin artists are setting their rhythm machines in top gear, Marilyn Fernandez realizes that pace is no substitute for a quality voice. Energy comes from within. Any good, flashy arrangement can turn "This Old Man" into a chart-topping dance song, but those are like disposable lighters. Easy to use and they work for a while, but it's not a flame that keeps burning.
Marilyn, with her self-titled CD, proves that there are many paths to the "Latin" sound. And they are not all dance-driven. It is her voice, not the music, which is the star, and accentuates to lord over all things. By the time you get to track 11 (one of the two English lyrics on the disc), you won't be tired out from a non-stop pulse.
Like a real woman, Marilyn's emotions come in fits and starts. True, "I Do Love You" is one of the epic beats here, flitting like a stripper thinking of her one, true love, but then she turns the groove to a soul-hop on "Where Is the Love," softly lusting "come to me, baby" in a very radio-friendly pop piece.
The hit of the album is certainly the first track, "La Que Perdio," which also enlivens the end of the disc in the form of 3 very different remixes. The remixes spice the album nicely, especially the salsa version with its great horn section and rhythms that take you back to a simpler time, when Latin wasn't about special effects but being Special.
"Existe" is incredible and should be released as a single. Okay, yes, it's unadulterated dance (complete with the electronic distortion in the voice, so popular these days), but the tune is perfect and Marilyn's voice bounces with a life that commands attention. She knows how to cry in her syllables. You will fall in love, boys.
This is actually her follow-up album to 2001's "El Principio de Marilyn" (meaning "The Beginning of Marilyn"). The sequel recording was a labor of love, as Marilyn testifies: "From the first day of searching and writing the songs and music, photo session, graphic, pre-recording demo testing, actual studio recording, etc., it took approximately one year of hard work."
Especially hard work, since Marilyn is not satisfied with a simple singing career. She is a model, clothing designer, dancer, actress, always pushing herself to go in the direction of her talent. As singer, she has opened for the likes of Pedro Infante, Jr., Pablo Montero, and Graciela Beltran, and has toured and dueted with Alvarro Torres in Tijuana, interpreting hits by Selena and Marisela.
"I learned that being in the music industry, just like any other career requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There are many ups and downs, there are days filled with happiness and excitement, as well as days with no sleep and totally being exhausted, but the most important thing I learned is that I love my career and if God permits me, I will be an entertainer for a long period of time. I enjoy what I am doing, because I am able to travel and meet wonderful people and share my music with everyone in the world."
It is this love of life and music that ingrains itself in her don't-tie-me-down attitude. Do not lock her into a specific genre. Her style and new album won't allow it. As she explains, "It is a Latin-Pop album with a mix of a lot of essentials of music, like pop ballads, flamenco, Salsa, Cumbia Norteno, House, Rock, R&B, Jazz, and Reggae. It is an album where you can simply listen, dance, or sing along with.
"The lyrics to the songs give very strong messages of getting ahead in life and are based on true stories of life and love. The music style basically describes myself - the fact that I'm a Hispanic-American with Mexican Roots. I was born in Fresno, CA and grew up listening, speaking and singing music that was in Spanish and English. I am a person that enjoys many styles of music. I just wanted this album to be fun so everyone could enjoy."
While promoting the new music, she's already hard at work writing and planning her follow-up: a crossover English CD to be recorded later this year and released in 2005. She'recently performed at Fiesta Broadway last April in Los Angeles, CA.
To the even younger ones who hope to aspire to this kind of success, Marilyn muses, "If you enjoy and have music in your heart, and are willing to work hard to be successful - Go for it! Go forward no matter what comes in your way. There will be people putting you down; always take and observe the good and helpful criticisms and step on the bad ones. Don't let know anyone put you down. Don't forget to make time to also study and learn the business side of the music industry so you can be prepared and avoid unpleasant surprises."
You're going to see Marilyn in films very soon. Hell, if she keeps designing clothes, you'll see her wares in every mall in the world before long. But it's the music that comes first. Tied for first are her many fans. "To all my fans I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting my music, for requesting my songs on the radio and for all the letters you send me! Thank you for being a part of my life because the reward for an artist is the love of her fans."
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