Tap Your Toes to This: Marissa Bregman

What better way to brighten up this dreary Monday than with a burst of sweet pop goodness courtesy of singer-songwriter-to-keep-an-eye-on, Marissa Bregman. The 27-year-old comes from talented stock (her dad, legendary producer Marty Bregman, made a little movie you might have heard of called Scarface), but her pipes are all her own.  Here, she chats about how it was a red-headed mermaid who inspired her to sing and why Central Park will always be her favorite place in New York. Listen to her toe-tappingly lovely single, "Starlight," below -- which is available now on iTunes. Her debut album is out August 16th.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?  Was there an Oprah-style "Aha"moment?

I remember watching The Little Mermaid, specifically the scene where Ariel gives up her voice so she can walk on land.  The evil witch makes her sing a few notes, and those notes just gave me chills.  I had never had that feeling before.  I didn't know what it was, but I wanted more and I wanted to know if I could create it myself.  If I could sing.

Tell me about the origin of this album.  Your earlier stuff you did was very rock-n-roll, while this is a bit more gentler and poppier.  How have you evolved as an artist, and what led you in this direction?

 Rock is more the attitude for me, whether or not the amps are turned up high.  When I made this album, I insisted on playing as many of the instruments as possible.  And if I couldn't, I'd make up a way -- like banging on corn-chip bags for drums, or using feedback as a string section, or blowing on wax paper and comb to create a horn section.  If anything, I'm more rock-n-roll now, because I did it my way -- the way I hear it in my head, rather then copying some other band like when I was younger.

Who were your influences when writing and recording this album?

Actually, I turned everything off.  I figured that whatever had influenced me to that point was already inside me.  Whether it was rock, or jazz, or showtunes or whatever, I wanted it to come out in ways that I felt it. Just let my imagination take over, without trying to fit in, or emulate someone else.  And the best compliment I've gotten from people so far is that this music does not sound exactly like anyone else.

New York City is obviously a big influence on you and your music.  What are your favorite places to wander around and be inspired?

The amazing thing about New York is that you can walk down the same street that you always do, and it feels different each time.  There's something about the changing seasons, and the constant flow of people.  You're always moving forward at a fast pace, but every step is filled with all these memories. The one place I don't feel haunted by the past is Central Park.  For some reason, I could walk there and it just wipes the slate clean.  So the answer really is that I'm inspired pretty much everywhere in New York.

Who would be your dream touring-mate?

Well of course, your mind goes to all the people that were your heroes growing up, like Green Day, and Gwen Stefani.  But, practically speaking, it would be amazing to tour with some of my newer heroes like Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles.  I'd fit in with song-oriented artists mostly.

Where can folks see you?  Any upcoming shows?

I'm very excited at the prospect of playing some live shows.  Any actually, what's been incredible are these UStream broadcasts I've been doing.  It's pretty casual, and I get to play my songs, try out new ones and get instant feedback from the people that've been following you.  On one broadcast, I've had as many as 3000 people, which is really just incredible.

Listen to "Starlight" below:


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