Before they can actually earn a living solely through their art, most artists go through an in-between period where, in the course of a single day, they can go from the harsh reality of a mindless job to being a star on stage. When we spoke with singer Marcie on the phone for this interview, she was exactly at that point in her life. She is taking a break from work – captioning TV shows for the hearing-impaired – to tell us about her recent adventures in France where she was opening for veterans Mickey 3D.
For the time being, she’s quite content with the in-between zone. “I’m happy because I have a flexible schedule that allows me to go on tour, so it’s very reassuring,” she says. “I like my job and I like making music; so for now, I’m quite content with it.” Since being a finalist at the 2013 Francouvertes (alongside Les Hay Babies and Dead Obies), Marcie alternates between creative periods and simply enjoying life, a time where she “accumulates the emotions that will end up nourishing my songs, which I tend to write in big batches, rather than piecemeal.”
Following her debut album in 2013, which was produced by Ludo Pin, she recently launched an EP where she explores new textures. Produced with help from Dany Placard and Louis Philippe Gingras, the four-track recording is more raw, and includes a Françoise Hardy cover (the magnificent “Ma Jeunesse Fout l’Camp”) and a stunning song,“Puisque,” where she sings that she’ll either become a pop singer or a nun, a tongue-in-cheek line that’s more of a joke than a threat.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of religious music lately, I guess it had an impact,” says Marcie. “I’m an atheist, but there’s something so pure in the emotions expressed by that music.” Besides the music of John Littleton – a Louisiana resident who popularized what used to be called “negro spirituals” in France – she’s also been deeply into the music of a 1960s Québec duo, Les Messagères de Joie (The Messengers of Joy).
“My friend Marianne found their first album in a yard sale and she just flipped on the album cover, where you see two nuns: one with a huge crucifix pendant, and the other holding a guitar,” says Marcie. “We thought we’d die laughing when we’d listen to it, but that’s not what happened; the writing was simply sublime. Sure, it talks about Jesus, but it goes beyond that… There’s something poetic about it, especially on the song ‘Je sais que tu es beau’ (‘I Know You’re Beautiful’) which moved me deeply.” Marcie was so moved that she contacted the Messagères’ songwriter, Nanette Bilodeau – known as Sister Wilfrid Marie back in the day – to do a cover of the song. She’s even developed a friendship with the lively octogenarian, and they see each other regularly.
Although she’s not planning on going into religious music full-time, Marcie still hoping the divine inspiration won’t abandon her soon. She already has a few songs ready, and hopes to release a new album next fall, God willing. We’ll do our part and light up votive candles, in the hope that she doesn’t end up in a convent.