Marlena— Singer/ Performer

What is your creative mission?

My life long love of music is my own language. It is how I express myself, my own personal art form.

I want my voice to take you somewhere... Click To Tweet

… to transcend you and connect you to some deep emotion that’s right under the surface of your skin. It may be joyous or may be sad or really hard but ultimately a song can help heal and bring comfort to you and bring you back to life again. A song can do that.

Art in all of its forms, whether it’s music, dance, painting or fashion, can leave an indelible impression that can last for decades. I hope my songs stir your soul and touch you deeply as the gift of singing them to you has touched my life.


What do you love about what you do?

Oh the very Magic of Music. It pulses through my very veins like a steady beat. It’s always there inside my head. It is the air I breathe. It is what and who I am. I am a Songbird and will always be so. It’s what I was born to do and I’ve known this all my life. When I was very young I use to stand on my bed with my hairbrush and sing to my sister, much to her dismay. When my parents had company over I would come out and sing to whoever would listen. I could not help myself; I wanted to be a performer! Growing up in Jamaica, Queens, I would organize the girls on the block and we would sing “The Age of Aquarius” — of course I took the lead!

How lovely are the songs of the morning birds, how deep and rich are the songs of the lonely night birds. I awake every day with a song. I start my day singing and I end my day singing.







Performing has given my life a great sense of purpose. Click To Tweet

It fulfills me like nothing else can. It keeps me grounded when life gets hard and it lifts my sadness. Singing allows me to share what is in my heart: the Human Experience that we all go through. When I am performing I am giving you the very best of me— a piece of my heart, if you will. This is why I called my CD “From My Heart to Yours.”


What have you learned from your successes/ failures?

That’s a very big question, isn’t it? I guess the very first thing that comes to mind is to trust myself. Believe that I can aspire to all that I am meant to be. That I can count on Me, Myself and I.

I have learned that even when I'm at the worst moments in my life, I am still Powerful and Courageous. Click To Tweet

Through my songs I have the ability to connect to people on a very deep, emotional level. When you sing from your heart you are really giving a part of yourself to others. Much like my birthstone “The Diamond” I am hard and resilient, but most of all I am Brilliant and I shine…

Always, always listen to your inner voice. It is there to guide you on your journey. Click To Tweet

How do you keep pushing ahead after a difficult challenge?

A challenge only becomes an obstacle if you bow to it. Here’s a quote from an unknown author that I really like:

“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”

I know that my dreams are worthy of pursuing. If I can separate myself from my own fears then I can become a Tigress— Fearless and Successful.

When I was very young I remember watching “Frosty The Snow Man.” The theme song has stayed with me for a lifetime. It said, “Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out that door, put one foot in front of the other…”

The message was clear to me; you can do it one step at at a time. You will get there. Never give up.

I will share something very personal. It is not easy for me because it is so close to my heart. I remember my Beloved Mother told me words of wisdom as she was dying. I will never forget what she said.

“Celebrate your Life. Don’t let worries rob you of your Joy. Embrace all the wonderful moments. Be anxious for nothing, don’t worry so much.” My Mother was right and I try my best to quiet those storms. Singing has brought me great happiness. Lose yourself in the moment and let it go…..


Have you ever encountered resistance from family, friends, or the world in general? How did you overcome those kinds of blocks?

Well, yes, we all do in life. This is a funny story:

It was the 1980’s and I was living in New York. It was such an exciting and creative time in Manhattan. The art and the music scene was electric and the city had a pulse all of its own. I was dating a hairdresser named Romeo. He had a hair salon called “Girl Loves Boy” in Soho. I was always in the company of beautiful models, actors and musicians. It was an exciting and intoxicating time— so much creativity was happening all around me. I loved watching the photo shoots and fashion shows.

I connected to the great transformation of becoming someone else through a photo or at least an amazing, better version of myself. I decided that I wanted to model and I began to book jobs as a freelance model. I was photographed for hair magazines and ads. I started to do fashion shows and got work in New York, London and Brazil.

It was a wonderful time in my life and I loved it. I now had an interesting and diverse portfolio. I decided that I would go to some modeling agencies. Now having said that, I realized that I would encounter problems, as I am not very tall! But as usual, once I make up my mind to do something, I am determined. Much like the Little Train that could, I just keep going. And so I took myself to Elite, one of the top  modeling agencies.

I met with the very intimidating Monique Pillard. She quickly glanced through my book and said, “You are very pretty, but how tall are you?”  Well, I had worn my highest platforms and did my hair up way high on my head hoping to add the illusion of much needed inches. I replied, “I am 5’8″,” and then in the most condescending French accent she said, “Come over here.”

Over here was a measuring device on the wall, which was obviously there for girls like me. “Look,” she said, “you are only 5’6.”

“Oh,” I said, “Well, I photograph very tall!”

I took my book, and my short but pretty self, and sashayed out of her office. I left with my head held high, ambition and confidence still intact.

I continued to do some amazing work in the industry and I met the most wonderful people along the way.

I may be petite in stature but I dream Big. Click To Tweet


How has your art and creativity healed you?

Naomi Wolf describes the power of the creative act particularly expressively:

“The making of a beautiful thing cracks open the painful or ugly ordinary world, and then something amazing can shine through which you can have forever, which can blind you with tears…”

I have found this statement to be oh so true. A few years ago I went through a very difficult and painful divorce. I had been married for 25 years and thought I knew what my future would bring. I could not have been more wrong and the reality of the situation hurt me very deeply. The act of betrayal by someone you love can tear your heart into a million pieces until you don’t even know if your heart is even still beating at all. That kind of hurt changes a person forever in so many ways.

But I think it’s what you do with all that pain that makes the difference in how you will move forward with your life.

I was very blessed to meet a wonderful man named Tom. We share a great love for music and this last June we put out our first CD together, “From My Heart to Yours.” Tom produced and engineered the CD, and he played several instruments in many of the songs.

We have spent the last year together performing and having a wonderful time doing what we love. Recording this CD was very cathartic for me because every song I sang really came right from my heart. One of my personal favorites on the CD is a song written by Charlie Chaplin, it’s called “Smile.”

We recorded this song on Christmas Morning. I wanted to sing it for all the brokenhearted people that may be feeling sad on Christmas Day.

The song says, “Smile though your heart is aching, Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by, if you smile through your tears and sorrows, smile and maybe tomorrow you’ll find that life is still worthwhile. If you just smile…”

This really is my song and my own personal story. It holds great meaning for me.

Music has brought me back to myself and has filled a place in my heart that was empty. It’s the power of a song that can connect the human heart and leave an indelible and lasting impression. It has always been the music that has inspired me to keep going and put my soul into everything that I sing.

This year has been extremely memorable for me.


What are your NFA Bullet points? What steps would you recommend for anyone who wants to kick some ass and get their creative dreams off the ground?

First and most importantly: Don’t wait for your circumstances to be perfect to pursue your dream. They will never be perfect and that’s just a fact.

Be inspired and start taking the necessary steps to reach your goals.

I always like to have a plan of action. Write it all down and check off your accomplishments. Be good to yourself in the process and remember you must have thick skin if you are going to succeed in this business.

It doesn’t matter if someone dislikes your music. Maybe they are not your kind of people anyway. Don’t get discouraged, anything that is amazing is worth fighting for.

Put your soul into all your work, never give half of yourself. People can tell the difference and you will not be successful.

Work well with others and learn how to respect people even of you don’t always agree with them.

Make music that inspires people and touches the soul. Don’t ever compromise yourself just to please others, stay true on your path.

Make every performance memorable.

Distinguish yourself from others.

Remember to balance your creative self with the necessities of business.

Know what kind of image you want to present for yourself. This is essential.

Promotion is so important when you are starting out.

Build your fan base and keep a great website.

Only put out the highest caliber of work.

And most of all— have fun and enjoy yourself, because making beautiful music should bring you Joy. It certainly has for me.



Find Marlena






Booking phone: 909-800-4008


Hey you. Wanna share your wisdom? Answer the 7questions of Creativity here.


About the Author:

Jeff Leisawitz burns with a mission—to inspire writers, artists, musicians and random creative types to amp up their creativity, heal their hearts and shine in the world. Author. Award winning musician/ producer. Internationally distributed filmmaker. College prof. Photographer. Speaker. Consultant. Not F*ing Around—The No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground is Jeff’s first book.

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