Miche Marsz has 10 years of experience in the music industry, but just today released her debut EP, Valentine. Valentine comes with a short film by the same name. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Marsz about her creative process and how creativity is an inescapable form of catharsis for her.
I watched the film, you know, listened to the music, and it's really fascinating so really and truly, thank you. The biggest question I had was kind of like a “chicken and egg” debate for me. So like, did the music come first? Or did the idea for the film come first? Like, how did this process go for you?
Miche Marsz: Yeah, so the original idea was the song "She." And in 2019, I actually was living in Toronto in the West End. And I used to kind of go out on these solo adventures by myself. And I happen to walk into this open mic night, and I was there for like, two hours. And this gentleman took to the stage and started playing the song and I just gravitated towards it so quickly. So I pulled up my phone, and I started recording it. And then yeah, I ended up recording my own version. And I kind of sat on that song for a while. Then I wrote another song called "Cherry," which is on the EP, and then those two songs together kind of inspired me to write the script for the short film. And then from there, it started bringing people in to make it happen. And here we are.
Awesome. Yeah, I love it. I think it was a really, like, heartfelt story, I could tell there was a lot of soul in it. And I really enjoyed that. I am curious about these, like, the juxtaposition of these two characters that you have in the film as well. Can you tell me a little bit more about like, are they based on people you know at all?
Miche: I think less based on people I know, and more based on personality traits, and maybe even themes that I resonate with. Like, Stacey is supposed to be super high intensity and jealous, that feeling of jealousy [is] kind of consuming her, whereas Cherry is this softer, sensitive interior with a harder exterior. And I think both characters are kind of just an expression of parts of myself, obviously, in a very elevated, dramatic way. But I would be lying if I didn't say there weren't aspects that didn't resonate with me, especially when it comes to, kind of, embracing the darker sides that everyone has. So yeah.
I love that idea of like, embracing the darker side of yourself. Is that something that you find to be some sort of a through-line in your artistry?
Miche: 100%. My friend, actually, who is Stacey, she's my high school friend, one of the first things she said, after watching, it was like, "Whoa, that was dark." And I think for me, especially, my art has always been an outlet where I can express that darkness in a judgment-free zone. And that's always been really important to me because I am a very light-hearted person. And I, especially when I was younger, tended to be someone who pushed down all of those, kind of, darker feelings and emotions. So that expression definitely comes through in my art and it's always a very cathartic experience for me for that reason.
If you weren't making these creative ventures, how do you think you would be able to combat that darkness and that negativity?
Miche: Yeah, it's so funny that you asked that because it was actually just a conversation, an inner monologue I was having where I was like, "What do people do to handle the darker situations in life if they don't have art?" I mean, there's always therapy. But for me, I think a lot of people have outlets; an outlet can be anything really, an expression or physical activity or profession, that you feel your most authentic self. So I think that's what it comes down to, for me, I'm being my most authentic when I'm creating art, because I know, inherently, it's what I'm supposed to do. So I think a lot of people have that, some don't. And I think that's why you see people struggle, I think it's important to have purpose and opportunity to do things that make you feel fulfilled. So I can sympathize for people who lack that in their lives for sure.
Absolutely. I did want to touch on, you know that's what you're supposed to do. But like, how do you balance that feeling of like, this is your calling versus like, breaking into a really tough, really saturated industry?
Miche: Yeah, I mean, I've been doing this a long time, I actually had a career in the music business for 10 years. So I worked at a record label, I was an artist manager and a tour manager. So it's been a pretty unique experience. For me, I started initially, because I thought it would be a good way for me to network and build a career as an artist, but the two kind of clashed and collided and ended up becoming its own journey. But at the end of the day, my number one focus is always making sure the art is the best it can be. And the other stuff just comes second, something that's really helped me recently is just bringing on people who can provide insight when it comes to the industry and strategy. And pulling myself out of that, because that was actually something I did for too long was involved myself in that side, but it's not enjoyable most of the time, and it can take away focus from the more important things. So getting help with that is very crucial.
Absolutely, I totally understand. I'm a filmmaker myself, and even just in that, it's so easy to just be like, "I'm gonna do all of it," you know, like to just take too much. But yeah, it is really important to delegate. I totally agree with that. Where do you see the line of making this content for yourself versus making stuff that you know other people will like?
Miche: Yeah, I think at the end of the day, you know, it can seem like your journey is so unique and specific to yourself. And of course, everyone is an individual on this planet. But at the end of the day, we all go through very similar experiences. We all have emotions that manifest in different ways. So I know that no matter what I'm experiencing, there are thousands of other people who feel that way too. It's just about connecting to the right people. So that's my biggest hope: there's people who watch this, and they get it and it connects to them in a certain way. Because there's a lot of people like me out there. I know that.
That's awesome. I really, really liked that idea of, even if it is something that feels specific to you, having that awareness. I really love that. Let's see, let's go for something a little simpler. Just like you know, give me the backstory behind the EP, you know, like, when did you start? How long has this been in the works?
Miche: Yeah, so the EP initially wasn't a part of the plan. It was just supposed to be the film with like a couple of songs. And then I was like, "Hold on. I have a bunch of like, love songs in my catalog. I have all the songs that I think would suit the theme of this." Then I also went through a really shitty breakup this summer. So I happened to have some songs after that happened. And I kind of just went through and put songs that I think would fit the project and work well together. So the first song dates back as early as 2018, actually, on this EP, and then I finished recording it at the beginning of this year. So it really is a journey of my personal life over the last five years, it's a bit of a diary in terms of what I've gone through, in my own love life for the last five years. It's interesting because I feel like you can hear that there's like a lot of different intensities, some softer sounds, some heavier sounds.
Yeah, I've been loving the idea lately of like, kind of using music and just general creative outlets just like a time capsule. It's really evident in the EP, and I think that's really, really cool. Would you say your music usually maps to your emotions pretty consistently?
Miche: It's kind of what I was saying before. There were a few years in my life, it was like that dark heavier sound whereas nowadays, I definitely have a lighter, kind of more mellow sound. But yeah, I mean, I definitely also still have my moments where I have a day where I'm like, "I want to write an angry song" or whatever. But I think for me, you can hear my music in years, where it's like, "Oh, yeah, this makes sense, this was definitely what 2019 sounded like," versus like, "This is what 2023 sounds like."
I don't have any more really hard-hitting deeper questions, honestly. But I was wondering if you can use one noun to describe, like the feeling of this project. What would you use?
Miche: That's a good question. A noun. Maybe lipstick? I feel like it could be. Yeah, there's a few ways you could take that a few directions you could take.
Thank you again so much for your time today. I really, really appreciate it. Where can people find you if they're looking for you?