Freedom Friday: Kiirstin Marilyn, Bombshell Bride

Kiirstin Marilyn

Because I have very little shame, I will outright say I have an absolute girl crush on Kiirstin Marilyn. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, but her music makes me smile and I get to make her wedding flowers. Lucky me, right? If you haven’t heard of Kiirstin or her music, I highly suggest you check her out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiirstin happily obliged when I asked if I could interview her for Freedom Friday. Here’s what she had to say!

TVS: Tell us a little about yourself

Kiirstin:  About myself…hmmm…well…I find this to be the toughest question. I’m a pretty laid back, go-with-the-flow, type of person.  I’m somewhere between a type-A and type-B personality. I’m not organized at all, but every once in a while when the mess gets too overwhelming, I go on a cleaning/organizing spree and reach my personal quota for the next 3 to 4 months.  I really just want to get to the point where I can hire someone to organize everything for me.

I’m definitely a city girl. It doesn’t need to be NYC forever, we’ve actually talked about moving to Paris, but I can’t do the suburbs – been there, done that – and the country just scares me.  When I go visit places that sit on huge acres of land with no other houses in sight for miles, I’m always afraid some hillbilly is going to come out of the corn field with his pitchfork and stab me to death. It’s irrational I know, but I always feel much safer in the city.
I’m also super into horror movies. They scare the sh*t out of me, but for some reason I keep going back for more.  Actually my best friend and I just went to see The Conjuring a couple weeks ago, and it kept me up all night (I have a very active imagination, or so I’m told).  I told her the next day I would never go see another scary movie because I just don’t have time for these sleepless nights, but she called my bluff…we’re going to see Insidious 2 when it comes out.

TVS: As a singer, you have a very unique sound that, personally, reminds me of little tidbits of many different incredible, legendary artists wrapped into one while sounding completely eclectic and unique. How do you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before? 

Thank you! It’s really hard for me to describe with genres what my music is because like you said, I’ve pulled from a lot of different genres to create my songs.  When I’m describing my music I usually say Lana Del Rey meets Amy Winehouse meets Gwen Stefani.  I can also tell you that while I was working on my first EP I was listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey, Kanye West & Jay-Z, Portishead, Skrillex, Lilly Allen, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, The Gay Blades, Coheed and Cambria, Glassjaw etc. I’m interested in so many different styles of music that its really hard for me to stick to one genre exclusively.
I also have a musical theater background and in a lot of standard musical theater you will find jazz standards that were in a lot of the old musicals, hence the jazz influence in my sound.

TVS: You’ve won RAW:NYC’s Musician of the Year, twice, and have toured both in the states as well as overseas. Do you have your sights set on something next, or do you just go with the flow and grow as an artist as opportunities present themselves?

You hear over and over “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” which is a saying that is probably true, but I barely listen to.  I really tend to just go with the flow and take opportunities as they come. At this point, I try to say “yes” to everything from a show booking to collaborating with an fellow artist unless it seems completely impossible or waaaaay more trouble than its worth. When the opportunity to play in Dublin, Ireland came about I said “yes” right away and then figured out how to get there.  Anyone that contacts me about collaborating on a song I will work with unless I feel that their music, or their personal message rather, is really not my thing, e.g. I was contacted by a rapper who wanted to collaborate, but his current music is all about “gettin’ money and b*tches,” and I’m just not about all of that.
Another thing I hear all the time from people in the industry is “no one knows what they are doing,” which is a mantra I subscribe to a little more, haha. I’m just doing as much as I can, throwing as much spaghetti on the wall as possible, putting eggs in different baskets and hoping one of those many different things pans out. In the end the bottom line is about gaining fans, and I’m trying to reach as many people as I possibly can on my own until someone finally takes notice and says, “with my thousands of extra dollars I will put you on tour and help you gain more fans than you can on your own.” Either that or I gain enough fans on my own to sustain a music career and put a tour together myself while still being able to pay the bills.  I’m not looking to get famous, just to have music and performing be the thing I do full time.
Kiirstin Marilyn

TVS: What has been the greatest challenge as an artist, and what keeps you going?

The greatest challenge…well there are many challenges, but I think the greatest challenge is overcoming my self doubt.  Almost everyday I’ll have at least one moment, if not several, of “what am I doing?”  ”Am I doing it right?” “Am I doing it well?” “Should I be doing this?” And then I have to get through those moments and move forward with the next thing on the agenda.  First and foremost my friends and family keep me going, my fiancée keeps me going, my fans keep me going, and people like you who stumble upon me or my music online and say, “I really like what you’re doing and I want to tell other people about you.”  I couldn’t make it without the support of others. No one makes it alone in this business. Hell, no one makes it alone in life, but it’s intriguing to watch people try.

TVS: What are the greatest positives to your career? 
My performances internationally definitely rank up there in the positives.  I love traveling, and then getting to perform in a different country on top of it is that much more rewarding.
Just putting out my EP has been a great positive. Getting to work with Brian DeNeeve and Todd Weinstock was amazing and to be able to call them friends is even greater.  Recently I recording some ambient backing vocals on an EP of theirs for their new band Get Involved.  I flew out to LA and got to be a fly on the wall in their recording sessions with legendary producer Ross Robinson (Glassjaw, Korn, At the Drive-in) which was worth it enough for my whirlwind trip totaling about 32 hours there and back.  But then I got to go into the booth and record with Ross Robinson on the other end, and honestly that’s probably one of the highlights of my singing career so far.  I will of course keep you updated as to when Get Involved’s EP comes out. I STILL haven’t heard the songs myself so I’m super excited.
 
TVS: We met by chance, because you’re getting married in October (Congratulations!!!) and using The Vagabond Studio bouquets in your wedding. What made you decide to go with upcycled/keepsake bouquets? Are there any other elements of your wedding that are more eco-friendly than the typical options?
YES! Thank you! And I’m soooooo excited for these bouquets!  I’m so glad I found you. I think without knowing it The Vagabond Studio was exactly what I was looking for.
Well for my bridal “unshower” as my aunt and mother coined it, rather than gifts I asked all the women to donate to the New York Nature Conservancy.  I didn’t want the opening presents time, which I do also feel is a major waste of paper, and my fiancée and I live in such a small apartment in Manhattan that we don’t really need anything anyway.  We also did Evites for the “unshower” which was against my mother’s wishes, but also something that I feel is so wasteful. I also didn’t do shower gifts for the women because they are usually something small and crappy that no one wants anyway and will get thrown out.
 If we could have done Evites for the wedding we would have, but that was definitely a losing battle. But, we went as minimal as possible for the wedding invitations: minimal paper, none of that crazy four-flaps & ribbon stuff. Just a simple 4×6 piece of ivory paper from the craft store, not recycled to my knowledge sadly, hotel info printed on the back, and the RSVP card and envelope. I bought stamps for the RSVP envelopes that donated to Multinational Species Conservation Funds – they were 55 cents per stamp rather than 46 and the extra was donated.  And in lieu of gifts for the guests we will be donating to an organization of our choice in their names. We just have agree on what organization that will be.
I can’t really think of anything else off the top of my head that we are doing that is Eco-friendly. I tried to get our entire cuisine to be vegetarian at one point, but that was quickly shot down by my mom and fiancée.  The Liberty House, our venue in Jersey City, buys most of its produce from local farmers and I’m trying to find out where the meat comes from.  I don’t mind people eating meat as long as it comes from local farms and is cage free.  I would feel terrible knowing I’m feeding my guests factory bred meat.
 
TVS: What message would you send out to big souls like you who want to follow their dream?
Go for it! Whatever it is! I think the world would be a better place if we had more dreamers that work hard for what they want. Too many people give up or settle, and then they get bored, and then they start worrying about other people, and that’s how some wars are started.  But also remember with dreaming comes work. It’s not just going to happen because you wish it. You have to work everyday for what you want. And then once you get what you want keep striving for more. And when I say more, I don’t mean money or fame or power. I just mean never settle.  Never get complacent. Hit a goal and make another goal. If you do that you will always be happy, always fulfilled and never bored. And lastly remember on your way to what you want always treat other people with respect and be good to people. If you put out more love than hate you will reap the benefits tenfold.
You can find Kiirstin on her website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

  • http://www.KiirstinMarilyn.com Kiirstin Marilyn

    THANK YOU! xoxo

    • Shai

      You’re very welcome! <3