Christina Marie is a professional singer, songwriter and session musician based in Bristol, UK, a place she loves for its vibrant and creative vibe. She is best known as a finalist of BBC’s The Voice UK (2014). She remains one of the most popular artists to ever appear on the series, impressing audiences with her extensive vocal range and capabilities. Her performances went viral, racking up millions of views on YouTube.
Before appearing on The Voice, Christina had been singing professionally for a number of years, performing regularly and recording/songwriting in studios around Bristol. In fact, she has been singing since she was a small child. Her love of music started very young and her biggest musical influences back then were Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey. She would sit and watch them both on VHS, absolutely inspired! At secondary school she put herself forward for school productions and then at the age of 16 started writing and recording her own songs.
Christina now works as a session musician for industry professionals and continues to work on her original material.
Below we find out how she draws inspiration from classic literature for her songwriting and how she has been influenced by both alternative/metal bands and mainstream/pop performers in equal measure.
What’s your singing dream? Any major goals?
Like most musicians, it’s to be able to sell my own music and have people connect with it. Music has always been a sort of cathartic, safe haven for me where I’m free to feel and there are definitely songs in my library that have helped me through defining points in my life. I’d love to be able to reach people like that. But I guess the major goal is to front a successful metal band and tour the world!
What are your upcoming releases?
I’m currently in the process of writing/recording my debut ‘mini-album’. I’m working on it with the incredibly talented Andy Gillion of Mors Principum Est, and it will be released under our band name, Mǝmoria. I’m super excited about it! After years of writing, my honed sound is finally coming together – and I’m really pleased with it. If I had to describe the genre, I would say it’s melodic gothic metal with big, diva vocals and an R&B edge to it – with stacked vocal harmonies, synth pads, subby 808s, electronic drums and soundscape elements. I’m hoping to release it by early-mid 2018.
Is there a particular warm up process you have before recording?
I have a few exercises I like to do. I usually spend at least 15 minutes warming up, sometimes more. I do ascending and descending scales of lip bubbles, soft palette raises, coo coo clocks, E-A-Rs, vowels, etc. The list goes on! I’m never afraid to get silly during my warm up! In fact, the sillier you are, the better the warm up is!
Tell us about your songwriting process – is there a particular way you tackle the topline?
I like to start with a lyrical concept, and I do this by making notes of a few key lines/words which I can then build the rest of the song around. Melody hooks aren’t often a problem for me, so I like to really focus on the lyrics before doing anything else. I have a notebook in which I jot down all my concepts and any words I come across that I like, as well as quotes from poems and classic literature that I draw inspiration from. Once I have the concept down, I’ll then go in and record a vocal scat over the track to record the melodies that most naturally come to me. Then I’ll work at putting the two together.
What’s your biggest success to date?
In terms of mainstream exposure it would have to be The Voice UK. I was a finalist and the favourite to win the show back in 2014, which was a great experience as it helped me grow my fanbase. However, the biggest success for me personally was when I supported the huge metal band Bring Me the Horizon as part of a choir for their orchestra show at The Royal Albert Hall last year. It was insane to share the stage with a band that are so successful in the genre of music I want to be in; it really gave new strength to my own musical aspirations. I also got to hang out with one of my favourite bands, PVRIS, backstage afterwards which was pretty cool!
What’s your favourite record that you have performed on?
As I am yet to release my own body of work, I really love the cover of Adele’s ‘Hello’ I did with TheEnigmaTNG – it’s Adele with guitars! As for my own stuff, I love it all and I can’t wait to release the songs. I’m currently recording a song of mine called ‘Control’, which is sounding pretty special.
Who would you most like to work with, and why?
Amy Lee of Evanescence. I really respect and admire her as an artist. She is an incredible songwriter. Her music, although somewhat dated now, has had a huge influence on my own and I feel that we gravitate towards similar sounds. I’d be interested to see what we’d come up with together. I imagine it would be some kind of emotive, orchestral duet. It would be a real honour to work with her.
Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?
As mentioned above, Amy Lee. Mariah Carey in her prime is up there as well, as she is a huge vocal inspiration. Michael Jackson for his showmanship. Korn, for their distinctive sound and influence on the metal world. David Maxim Micic for his beautiful solo work, and the way he does it all himself – he is a one man band! Finally, my songwriting partner Andy Gillion. He is the most talented human being I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. His guitar skills are next level, and the way he manipulates his instrument is beautiful. He’s also an incredible composer of classical music, plays piano, bass and produces everything himself. He’s amazing.
Who is your favourite singer? Why?
Definitely Mariah Carey in her prime. Come on! A five octave vocal range! Those whistle notes! That melisma! That breathy tone and chest belt! In my opinion, no one can touch her.
What are your top 5 favourite records of all time?
Wow, you have just asked the impossible question haha! It changes all the time, but right now… it would have to be:
Is It Scary by Michael Jackson
Outside by Mariah Carey
Orestes A Perfect Circle
Somebody Else The 1975
What’s your guilty pleasure song?
Helena by My Chemical Romance! Not even sorry!
Do you have a home studio? If so, tell us about your setup?
Yes. I have a desktop Mac, RODE condenser mic, Scarlett interface and use Logic Pro X. I also have MIDI keys for writing purposes. Pretty simple setup, but it sounds great and works really well – enabling me to get clean, crisp, great quality vocal recordings.
Have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you?
Definitely! It’s amazing to be able to connect with such a vast array of producers worldwide! I’ve done quite a few collaborations through Vocalizr now, working with some amazing producers, and hope to have some of those collaborations released soon. Vocalizr is the backbone of my session work. It’s a wonderful platform and an ingenious idea!
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn’t live without?
He’s not a thing, but my husband, ha (aw someone get me a bucket)! So… Glen, my iPod and a good book.
HQ Drake cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW_-kRENVM0
First Mǝmoria single ‘Compromise’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_XZ5P1hijM