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  • Ed Schmieder

Mariel Gesualdi: Straight from the Heart

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

This is a half-truth: Mariel Gesualdi, Islip raised, NYC and Nashville-based singer-songwriter, has finally made it to The Long Island Stage. It’s half a truth because she was our first on-camera performer for the recording of a not-for-broadcast practice episode. Having seen that segment, I was surprised she wasn’t slated for one of the first season’s slots. Well, that seasonal shortcoming has now been rectified. You will find her on the Main Stage this Sept. 27.

You will also find her on Spotify and likely be surprised by the polarity of her performances there.

Mariel’s 2014 EP Words I Could Never Say is the current centerpiece. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Gus Berry of Berrytown Studios in Portland, Oregon her plaintive voice and personal songs are surrounded by a rich mixture of guitars, piano, organ, bass, and drums. It is a musical landscape shaped by young love’s challenging dynamics. It’s there in the titles: “Need Your Love,” “The End of Us,” “Not the One.” It’s there in the lyrics -- promises broken, loving, learning, and leaving -- “I’m not the one you think of when the night keeps you up.” Broken hearts abound.

Spotify also showcases two singles both of which present Mariel’s voice and lyrics swathed in synthesizers, keyboards, and drum machines.

On the 2021 single “Here Right Now” by Pop/Future Bass producer Tierro, her voice is processed and woven into this gentle and pulsing digital wave of acceptance of the here and now.

In contrast, “Someone Else,” her own single, is the most confessional song she’s released. It opens both sonically and lyrically sad, “I wish I didn’t hate myself. / I wish I hated someone else.” The song however shifts to an up-tempo beat that challenges its own down-beat lyrics. We discussed this song in a text exchange, and Mariel wrote, “Yeah, that song was very much written about myself and since releasing it [I] have definitely connected with quite a few other people who have felt the same! It still holds true for a lot of my feelings… [but] overall I am feeling better all around.” She intended it to sound upbeat to contrast with “the sad lyrics.” Many of us have wished we were other than who we are; Mariel states it straight, no chaser.

Happily, as the Covid clouds and our own have shown some signs of parting, Mariel has emerged with a seven-song EP soon to be released. She is also in the good company of fellow songwriters: Nashville-based Caitlyn Dykes and Montana Modderman. Watch and listen to her segment of The Long Island Stage episode to hear “Laundry” (relational ennui never sounded so sweet) played to her own acoustic-guitar accompaniment for a taste of the new songs ahead. With her song mates and influences like Taylor Swift, Emily Weiseband, and Casey Musgraves, Mariel Gesualdi’s renaissance is underway.

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