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April 1st, 2004

Stargazing with Hattie

by Meringolo

A Chat With Marieann: Hattie’s interview with performer Meringolo

The first celebrity to be featured in my column is Marieann Meringolo, a singer of rare beauty and power. I first heard Marieann soloing at Unity Church of New York, and proceeded to follow her career at appearances at the Marriot Marquis, the Duplex, and most recently with a remarkable chorus, SPIRITUS, at the Soho Playhouse. Wanting to connect with, and understand a talent of such gifts, I interviewed Marieann, and am sharing our dialogue with you.

Hattie: When did you decide to become a singer?

Marieann: I feel I’ve always been a singer, so I really never made the decision; I always just loved to sing. My parents wanted me to go to school and get a "real" profession. That’s actually what made me decide to seriously pursue my singing career.

H: What concerns do you have about your singing? Your career?

M: None about my singing, I feel totally confident about my voice. As to my career, I haven’t yet met the agent with a vision that matches mine, so that my work will be heard by the world on a large scale.

H: What is the most important aspect of being a singer?

M: That I can use my God-given gift to affect people?ɂto touch people’s souls and to be fed by the energy of their experience hearing me.

H: Any handicaps you’ve had to overcome?

M: At the beginning my parents were concerned that I couldn’t make a living at my art.?Ǭ But that changed when they came to my shows and saw me perform. Then they were supportive.?Ǭ I feel very blessed by the support I’ve received.

H: If you weren’t doing this, what else could you imagine doing?

M: I actually used to imagine myself as a dentist-like a singing dentist. If I couldn’t rely on my voice, I would have pursued that venue. But my voice won out?ɂit still does.

H: Your repertoire is filled with love songs. What made you select them as your primary focus?

M: Audiences identify with love songs?ɂ either identifying with the love they have, love they’ve had, or love they’re yearning for. I’m a big romantic. I’m in a love relationship now, but even when I wasn’t I could sing of my yearning for love. Whatever state one is in, he or she can always relate to a love song.

H: Has being gay affected your career?

M: Yes, in a positive way. Not only do I attract "regular" media, but also it broadens my audience and allows me to access gay media as well.

H: You are a deeply spiritual individual. How has your spirituality impacted your career?

M: Being raised as a Catholic, I always felt connected to God, but somehow there was always something missing. I was seeking a support system of like-minded people but didn’t know where to find that. About 6 years ago I started questing for a deeper connection to God. I started reading Louise Hay, A Course In Miracles, Marianne Willamson?ɂ then I started searching for music that expressed a Higher Power.

H: You found this connection through the Unity Church of New York? How did this come about?

M: About 10 years ago I was in a show with Britt Hall, who’s currently the music director of Unity Church of New York. We lost contact with each other but re-met several years later performing at a benefit-I, as a soloist, he, with his choral group SPIRITUS. I had longed to bring inspirational music into my own career, and hearing his group moved me to ask him if he would call me if he ever needed another singer. Well, I didn’t wait. I called him and he invited me to join. It’s been 4 1/2 years of the blessing of bringing my music and spirituality together.

H: Thank you Marieann. Your performances bless all of us whose lives you so beautifully touch.

Marieann’s CD "Imagine?ɂIf We Only Have Love" was released on September 9, 2003 and can be purchased at major music stores and Amazon.com.Check out her website: marieannmeringolo.com for details of her future appearances?ɂyou’ll probably see me there! www.hattieretroage.com

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

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