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Daily Inspiration: Meet Marie Douglas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marie Douglas.

Hi Marie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My musical life began when I was a kid growing up in Atlanta. My parents, uncles and aunties curated my musical taste to include classical, to the blues, jazz, rock and roll, r&b, hip – hop, gospel and more. My uncle was a church musician and often performed with artists as a percussionist/keyboardist. I once asked him who made Michael Jackson’s music, and he told me about Quincy Jones. He most certainly had an influence on my wanting to be a musician. I spent my entire childhood as an athlete and I finally joined band when I was about sixteen years old at Southside Comprehensive High School. That was my way into music, I haven’t looked back since. In high school, I played trumpet, wrote music for the band and was drum major.

I decided to attend Florida A&M University (FAMU) and major in Music. I graduated FAMU after having acquired a ton of performance experience in the Marching “100” and the FAMU Wind Ensemble, many of which were with celebrities like Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Prince and others. Since then, I have written music and taught band in the South Florida Region and in the Atlanta Metro area. Currently, I am obtaining a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) from the University of Memphis, where I study music composition and conducting with Kamran Ince and Albert Nguyen. In March, I served as Musical Director, Composer, Arranger and Conductor for the Femme it Forward Live Experience which featured artists such as Ambre, Baby Rose, Say Grace and Teyana. Taylor and others.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The life of a woman who wishes to do things that men are typically known to do is full of struggle. I grew up playing with the boys, competing head to head and winning against them as an athlete, playing streetball at any park in the city. Englewood, Summerhill, Washington, Adamsville Rec Center, East Lake YMCA, the YET and CAM, you name it, I would be out there, breaking ankles and having folks mad at me. Ironically, those experiences prepared me to withstand the struggles of the industry. Most of the time a woman is overlooked for musical jobs. I’ve served at the high school level as a band director, while most women are relegated to elementary and middle school teaching only. It has been tough to break into the industry even beyond teaching because many have a hard time accepting the reality of my being a woman conductor/composer/producer/etc.

But just like I mentioned earlier, emotionally and mentally, I’m prepared to withstand the pressures and the natural instinct to overlook a woman. I have studied, practiced, and networked to overcome the struggles of being a woman in the industry. But my work is far from done.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
One thing to know is that my work is quite multi-faceted. I enjoy overlapping musical genres in my work. I am especially interested in researching genres originating in the African diaspora, with music of other cultural influence. In one of my latest works recently
I wrote a piece for Symphonic/Concert Bands entitled “Big City Lights”. I dedicated the piece to Atlanta and it sonically personifies aspects of the city that we can all relate to, especially the traffic! The piece showcases a “vibe” that is not often portrayed on the concert stage which is hip-hop, specifically “Trap Music”, a sound that finds its roots in Atlanta. The piece has electronic components to it, so it is conducive to the type of innovation needed to help cement classical realm in the 21st century.

I am currently focused on finishing up my doctoral studies and writing commissions. I believe in composing for causes and to pay homage and draw attention to causes. I am currently working on a piece for the California State Band Directors Association that will center mental health in teens. The piece is called “I Am Enough” and will be available for sale in February 2023.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Women in music are historically overlooked. Due to this, I bulldozed my way into the lives of my mentors, starting with my high school directors, college professors, bosses at work, etc. I forced their attention via being fearless and just walking up to them, introducing myself and genuinely talking to them. I worked for 100% of my mentors just as a way to be able to observe them and grow by association. I also attend conferences every year and meet new people. I always seek out the crowd that is making strides. At first, it can be awkward, but you just work through it and realize that you’re worth talking to!

Pricing:

  • Hip hop/R&B/Neo Soul etc. Beats – $150.00/minute
  • Film Score/Compositions – $1000.00/minute + $500 retainer
  • Masterclass/Lecture – $350.00/day (plus travel/housing/meals where applicable)

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Alex D Rogers

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