I first saw Marisa Ronstadt when she opened for Gaby Moreno in Gypset Magazine's 6 de Mayo concert at the club Los Lobos in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles last May 6. I immediately wanted to introduce her to my audience. It is hard to stand out in today's pop and rock and blues scene, especially in a city as dense with musicians as LA. But she did it, not only with her talent, but with her humor. She is obviously quite a bit pregnant with her second child, so rather than wear flowing gowns to hide the "bump" she was in one of her cool,form-fitting (but altered) 40's style stage dresses and dedicated her first song to the coming child.
That first song set the pace, which rocked. Bringing us songs from her new album, Blueberry Moon, Ronstadt demonstrated her ability to go back into time before rock and roll upended the music of our parents, and then into the present with blues and ballads that brought the audience to their feet. And she did it in two languages, much to the delight of the audience of Latinos and gringos.
It is no wonder Marisa is so good. Raised in a talented family based in Arizona whose name was made famous by her cousin, the multiplatinum recording artist, Linda Ronstadt, Marisa had music and the music business all around her - and the genes to make it work. A performer at the age of seven, Marisa’s musical tastes are rooted in mariachi, R&B/soul, and rock, but like many Mexican-American’s raised in the U.S., her influences range from Lola Beltran and Pedro Infante, to The Beatles and Marvin Gaye. As early as the age of eight, Marisa was already performing big band, rock & roll, country, and top 40 music with a musical revue in Phoenix called the Amigos. She was a member of Amigos for ten years before decamping to LA and eventually assembling her current band, Marisa and the Know-It-Alls
Like many other artists who move to LA, Marisa has developed ties with other local talent such as GRAMMY® award winners Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez of the band Quetzal, Los Lobos, David Gomez and Jeremy Keller of the band Monte Carlo 76, R&B/Soul sensation Aloe Blacc and the singer-songwriter/rapper Maya Jupiter who appears on the Blueberry Moon album. In 2009, Marisa recorded and released an album as the lead vocalist for the band Monte Carlo 76 titled Marisela, produced by Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez. After touring with Monte Carlo 76, she began songwriting with band member Jeremy Keller, and they formed her current band, Marisa and the Know-It-Alls
Blueberry Moon is the first recording by Marisa and the Know-It-Alls, set to release on June 3, 2014. It will mark Marisa’s first solo project recorded independently via crowd-sourced funding through Kickstarter. The album was produced by Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez, and is Marisa’s most personal and heartfelt work to date. Blueberry Moon reflects her love of classic R&B/soul, with an indie-pop flair that keeps the album fresh and the sound new. “These songs are very personal, written and recorded at a time when I was awaiting the birth of my first baby. The title track ‘Blueberry Moon’ was written for my daughter. I was so inspired by the growing life within me” said Marisa. From the smooth, sweet vocals on the title track, to the Motown inspired feel-good song “Save Me,” Blueberry Moon is the debut of the next Ronstadt generation. I am so looking forward to talking with her this Friday.