Twitter: @Marina_Strah, @OhioGotTalent Marina Ann was the winner of the The Fourth Annual Ohio's Got Talent Competition put on by Humble Heroz. Check out her interview below where she discusses such topics as when she started playing, which instruments she plays, who she admires, her influences, and more.
1. When and why did you start playing?
I started singing and playing guitar about three years ago. My parents bought me a guitar when I was 13 and I never touched it. I randomly decided to pick it up when I was about 18 and haven't put it down since. Singing kind of just happened as I started learning guitar. I never told anyone that I could sing so it kind of came as a shock to everyone, including myself. 2. Which instruments do you play? My dad taught me how to play the drums when I was 12 and I played all through high school. That was my main instrument. I know a tiny bit of piano but only enough to get me through a few songs. Not enough to actually say I know how to play it, haha. Other than that, it's just guitar and singing that I'm currently focusing on. 3. What was the first tune(s) you learned? The first song I ever learned on guitar was She Is Love by the band, Parachute. I never learned the whole thing because it was too hard at the time..so I still only know the first half of the song. 4. Is your family musical? My dad has been a musician forever. He has been in bands since he was a kid. It's really nice having someone I can go to who has already done this stuff before. The music industry can get really crazy and confusing so I'm extremely lucky to have him for guidance. 5. Describe your family member's musical interests and abilities. My dad plays the drums in a band called Jukebox Heroes. He's been in a bunch of bands before that as well. I basically grew up watching my dad on stage. 6. Which famous musicians do you admire? One of my favorite musicians is Sara Bareilles. I love her lyrics and her musicality. She's just such a real musician and I feel like that's starting to become less common. Another one of my inspirations is Tori Kelly. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with her and get some really good advice about trying to make a name for myself in this industry. She's an incredible musician in every sense of the word and is an amazing human being, which makes her even more of an inspiration. 7. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments. My first instrument was the drums. My dad taught me how to play when I was 12 and I fell in love with it. I played all the way through high school and was a co section leader of the drum line. 8. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town? A really big moment for me was winning Ohio's Got Talent. I've never done a contest before and my sound was so different from all of the other contestants, so I wasn't sure how it was going to work out. But hearing them announce me as the winner was a moment that I'm never going to forget. Being in the studio is also where a lot of my favorite music memories come from. I'm working on my first album right now and hearing the songs that I created start to come to life is so surreal to me. There are so many cool moments that happen during the process of putting an album together. It's an experience that I am so grateful for and I can't wait to hear the final outcome! It will hopefully be finished up by the end of this year. 9. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones? Growing up, there were always so many genres being played in our house. I was exposed to a lot of different styles and I think that has had a huge influence on me. As I got older, I started liking old school blues and soul music. I love music that really makes you feel things differently. 10. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD's? Some of my favorite musicians are Sara Bareillis, Kina Grannis, Tori Kelly, Amy Winehouse, Susan Tedeschi, John Mayer and Bruno Mars. 11. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV? I do. I started playing shows a little over a year ago. Playing shows is definitely one of my favorite parts of being a musician. It's really cool to see how an audience responds to the music and being able to feed off of each other's energy. It's so rewarding to hear people appreciating what you've worked so hard for. 12. How do you handle mistakes during a performance? I've learned that you can't be too hard on yourself. Everyone is going to make mistakes. Doing something live, you only get one chance to do it right, so you're always going to hit a few bumps during a performance. But I usually just laugh it off and move on. My voice cracks at least once during every show and there's really nothing I can do about it until my voice gets stronger. Usually I'll make a joke about it at the beginning of the show so people laugh with me when it happens. I think it makes people more human when they don't have a flawless performance. A perfect show wouldn't be as interesting. 13. Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition? I used to get really nervous before shows to the point where I couldn't eat or relax beforehand. Luckily, that wore off pretty fast. I only get a little nervous before big performances now but it's more of an excited, anxious feeling. Once I get on stage, all of that goes away and I feel completely at ease and in my element. 14. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous? The best advice I can give is advice that I was given when I first started playing shows. It's scary and uncomfortable at first but you just need to remember why you're doing it and have fun! Don't be too hard on yourself. Nerves are totally normal, especially in this situation but don't let the nerves take away from the enjoyment of the experience. Just let go, be yourself, and be passionate. 15. How often and for how long do you practice? Since I'm still in school, I practice whenever I can find the time. But when I do, I usually lose track of time and end up playing for a few hours. It's such a getaway for me, I don't really consider it practice. It's more of a stress reliever and a way to unwind. 16. What do you practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.? I can't read music at all. I'm self taught with all of the instruments I know and I usually learn by watching or listening to people play. So that makes practicing kind of interesting for me. Usually, I'll go on YouTube and look for live versions or lessons for the song I want to learn and figure it out that way. Other than that, I run through all of the songs I know or am in the process of learning. When I'm having a good day, I'll build up the courage to try learning some John Mayer tunes. That guy is NOT human!! I'm still trying to learn a song of his that I started a year ago, haha. He's crazy talented and complex on guitar. 17. How do you balance your music with other obligations - mate, children, job? Well, music is basically my job right now. I'm a senior at Kent State University and I'll be graduating a semester early this coming December. Balancing school and music has gotten a little tricky but I just have to keep myself in check and make sure I'm taking time out for both of those aspects of my life and not falling behind on either end. It's really hard to think about being in a relationship at this point in my life. My career in music is finally starting to fall into place and take strides and it would be unfair of me to date someone when I know I need to focus all of my attention on music right now. So, I guess in the least pathetic way possible, I'm in a very serious and happy long-term relationship with music! Click the image above to watch Billard's new video for "All Eyez On Me" featuring Machine Gun Kelly.