Marie Chain - Freedom

Release 2020/09/18
What do you do if you've grown up in a village near Leipzig in eastern Germany and dream of living life as a musician? In Marie Chain's case, get out, escape, break down the barriers. So she slogged away in part-time jobs, scraped her savings together, and on leaving school moved to Barcelona to make her dream come true. In Spain, this singer, songwriter and pianist began performing on streets and in bars before soon finding herself gigging from Sweden to Switzerland. She even released two albums under her own steam.
Being the free spirit that she is, Marie Chain kept moving. She relocated to Berlin, and continued to travel the world with sojourns in London, New York and Austin/Texas, where she finally found her own sound. The piano and her earthy soul vocals permeate her new album, which flirts with pop and a hint of jazz, and is also evocative of film music. With the glamour of vintage soul and the emotionality of blues touching base with the lightness of house music, it's only logical that Marie Chain's mix of genres breaks down barriers just like she herself does. Marie has got what it takes to be Germany's next soul diva, yet at the same time she's a child of pop. She's just as much inspired by music from the 1950s and 1960s by the likes of Ray Charles and Etta James as she is by the sounds of the 1990s. The fact that this needn't be a contradiction is firmly upheld on her new album with the apt title Freedom.
"I regard 2020 as the year when individuals break free from social norms and oppression," says Marie Chain. "I want my new album to inspire people to live their own freedom as they see fit. That's so important, now more than ever." Her determination was spurred on by movements such as the demonstrations for equal rights and environmental protection around the globe. "It's our responsibility to act now!" she declares. But there's more to freedom than this. Her new album also gets to grips with external expectations and negotiating dependencies between people - for instance when it comes to love and relationships.
Marie Chain's album Freedom opens with a manifesto recited in a hybrid voice symbolically chosen for the digitized world, preoccupied as she is with the question of whether we can truly be free nowadays. Accompanied by cinematic sounds, the voice - half human, half machine - declaims: "This is a record of our time 2020, let it make a difference, may it inspire you to demand change for the better." "I want this album to move people and inspire them for change," she explains.
And what would our world look and sound like if it were just a tad more beautiful, or at least more colourful? Perhaps like the sunny, pastel-loving Berlin shown in the video of the title song 'Freedom'. In it, Marie Chain blends 1990s vibes with messages for today. "I wanted to write a song celebrating diversity and individuality," she states. This dance pop number with house piano riffs imported from the 1990s includes the line: "I've got the feeling of something new." The dance moves featured in the accompanying video - reminiscent of 'Macarena' and performed on the banks of the River Spree, in the park, and on the rooftops of Berlin - pay tribute to the house music scene and invite viewers to join in. We could all do with a nostalgic boost and some shared movement at the moment!
"The song 'Freedom' signifies for me a sense of liberation, both on a personal level and for society as a whole," reveals Marie Chain. The release timetable has been drawn up with this in mind; after the single comes out on 18 September, it'll be followed by the remix on 2 October - on the eve of the Day of German Unity. Breaking down barriers? That's what Marie Chain's music is all about!
Marie's preoccupation with social issues was already apparent on her debut LP Chainge, where she dealt with her desire for internal and external transformation. The issues addressed on her follow-up Freedom include not just the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community, but once again female role models. For despite her years of experience as a solo artist, in bands and as a session musician, and also her collaborations with a wide variety of colleagues ranging from rappers like Kontra K and Alligatoah to producer Charles 'Chicky' Reeves (known for his work with James Brown, Prince and the Rolling Stones) and Hansi Kecker (the Pet Shop Boys, Nena), Marie has frequently discovered that her talent wasn't taken seriously. Some people weren't willing to accept that in her brand of femininity, being independent and strong-willed doesn't contradict a racy pose or two combined with an Amy Winehouse hairdo.
"The sexualization of women is something that really bugs me!" exclaims Marie Chain. "Unfortunately, I've had some bad experiences with men both privately and professionally, but I've dealt with this in my songs. I really hope I can use my music to encourage other women to stand up for themselves."
In 2019, Marie Chain suffered a severe let-down when a manager from New York offered to work with her. What began promisingly turned out to be a total nightmare. The contacts he claimed to have in the industry proved to be hot air, the planned gigs and meetings in the USA fell through, and in the end this charlatan made off - but not without blaming Marie Chain for the mess and pocketing the money for himself. "I'm a strong, confident woman - so I wondered why these things happened to me," Marie Chain recalls.
She responded as any self-respecting musician would do: she turned this episode into a song with a touch of retribution about it. In 'Judgement Day', the second single from her album Freedom, Marie Chain slips into the role of female James Bond. Accompanied by a lavish brass section, strings and classy jazz piano, in her smoky voice she announces: "I'm coming for you, baby, we're not through." And she proceeds to bump off this schmuck true to style in a hotel bathtub before casually making her getaway, dressed in leather and sunglasses, pulling her suitcase behind her. The release date? Halloween!
"Obviously, the video shouldn't be taken too seriously!" Marie confirms. "Instead, the song is my rallying cry to break free from being dependent in all sorts of ways, to stand up for yourself and not take any more crap. The best approach is to expose the crooks before they can harm you!"
By the way, instead of a "shaken, not stirred" Martini, Marie Chain's tipple of choice in the video is whiskey. In fact, she already has her very own brand: Chain Rye Whiskey. After all, when you're trying to make the world a better place, sometimes you need a good drink - not to mention the music of Marie Chain!