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Marica's Melody: The Inspiring Journey of a Professional Violinist

VIOLINIST, SINGER, DEPUTY-CONCERT MASTER

How do you mix-and-match your talents together, fusing them within the work you put out into the world? It can sometimes take years of synchronizing your artistry with gained experience and knowledge for the refined creative product. The old age adage says,"Practice makes perfect", but is this a true formula for producing a truly talented individual? Sure, the ability it takes to create is an attainable skill for those who put in the time and effort. For some talent comes naturally whereas other talents may take some TLC, development and growing. Imagine having that unique combination in your back pocket, both natural talent and the desire to refine yourself in continuity, and choosing to share your gifts with the world! Our next featured artist is showing up for herself and doing just that. Sharing tasty treats for the ears, eyes, hearts, and souls of music lovers like us! Meet Marica (MA-RITZ-A), a multi-talented artist hailing from mesmerizing Croatia. She is a naturally talented singer and a professional violinist! Captivating audiences by pushing boundaries and exploring new creative ways to showcase her buttery vocals alongside captivating violin performances. Having professional experience as a deputy-concert master, she has impressively clocked in years and hours of stage time at the Croatian National Theatre. However, not being content and satisfied with staying comfortable, Marica decided to explore new opportunities that would help her grow as an individual artist. She was also in search of more flexibility and creative control over her own music. With the exciting new world of Web3 coming into her awareness, it felt like the perfect time to shift focus in this season of her life and to try new things professionally and personally. She hopes to scratch her innovative itch by diving in fiercely and venturing into new creative territory with passion, dedication, and discovery! We support her in this journey and invite you to discover her music for yourself.


picture of Marica

Q: Hailing from the beautiful city of Split in Croatia, what can you tell us about growing up there? A: Croatia is a beautiful place to grow up in with its charming and historic architecture cities, dramatic coastline, and turquoise blue waters. I didn't realize how beautiful my home country was until I got older and learned more about the world around me. I had a pretty good childhood on the surface, but in reality I was a war child and survived. Just a few decades ago, Croatia was known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Croatian war of Independence happened in the early 90's. My own father was fighting in the front lines and my mother did her best with us. I recall loud sirens and hiding in shelter bunkers with neighbors. I was too young to understand what was really happening at that time. It was serious and our lives were at stake - but I had no idea. I was enjoying that time because it was fun to be with others sheltering together like one big family. We would all be together living with the neighbors and some strangers to me sometimes. The thing that I didn't enjoy as a kid was not being able to go outside or especially to go to the beach. As I grew up, my mother told stories of us hiding behind walls while there were snipers in the building we were living in. My parents experienced many traumatic things then. Growing up like that, we were brought up to be tough as rocks. The older generation didn't show much emotion and often neglected talking to us kids about feelings. It was the culture here. There's no time for tears. The focus is always on survival and work. As my generation grew up, we found solace in music from around the world. It was like mental therapy because we were able to express ourselves through songs. We can be vulnerable and open. Today, there is more appreciation for art and music here because we started to rebel against the mantra that life should only be hard. We wanted to break the cycle of generational trauma and tell more of our stories and ultimately share our history. We began to explore jobs and work outside of what our parents and the elders generally did for a living. I'm really grateful that my parents introduced me to music at a young age and didn't hinder my desire to grow my talents there - it ultimately became my life's career choice. Q: How did music enter your life? A: I was a regular kid that liked doing normal kid stuff but my hobby was music. It's something I willingly wanted to learn more about and had interest in. I was always a singer as a kid, but it came secondary to me as I never had a vocal coach or anything. I sang in choirs but it was an afterthought talent. Attempting to find a healthy distraction as the world around us was recovering from the war, my parents enrolled me in to a classical music school around age seven. I started a bit later than most kids, but picked up on the violin very well, so my parents had me focus on that. They thought piano lessons were too expensive, but it's funny because it's like the joke was on them. Turns out violin can be quite expensive as they soon found out, but we stuck with it. Violins really humbled them and they invested in it. In the beginning as a kid, it wasn't much fun and it was very hard for me. I didn't enjoy the rigorous practices, but once I started mastering the craft, really began to appreciate the instrument and enjoyed playing music for myself and others. I had a lot of stage fright in my early ages, but my confidence grew as I played violin more and more. I still got nervous before live shows, as it's natural, but I was better at controlling myself so that once I started to play, I was totally comfortable and at ease. Practicing plucking and bowing techniques took time to develop. It gradually became second nature to me as a violinist. My stage presence began to feel more natural too. With more comfort, the years of playing grew. Many people struggle with debilitating stage fright and it could be the main reason why many give up. It's exhausting sometimes to have to show up perfectly for live shows. I used to cry after shows as my mind and body just needed to let out all the pent up energy. I had to push down all my emotions if I made mistakes and try hard to hide the nerves I had on stage. It took me years to learn techniques to ground and center myself. I had no other option but to be better at managing my emotions. I needed self control to continue playing. My vocals became more profound in my teen years and into my 20's as I joined bands and grew to singing backup vocals. We played around with different genres and world music and I was introduced to a lot of new sounds and styles of playing. With classical music, we play strictly from a score. It's so predictable. It sometimes just feels like work to me. Playing with a band though, I saw new ways of performing and learned how to improvise with sound. It was so liberating and so much fun! A whole new world opened up for me and my music making possibilities. It carved out room for me to look at my own self-creativity. I started creating my own styles and my own way of playing. People describe it as fiddling. There's different layers that I started trying out and I would practice more with the creative freedom I had within the band. I honestly enjoy it so much more than playing something on a score. There was a hard time in my life that I almost gave up on music entirely. I auditioned for Croatia's "The Voice" (a singing and talent reality competition television series). I made it through to the lives, but couldn't complete the season due to some scheduling conflicts with my employment at the time. The struggle to survive and the intensity of the competition was really overwhelming and incredibly daunting. I did take something good from that experience. I learned better breathing techniques as a vocalist, so I am very appreciative of that time in my life. I learned a lot and don't take any of it for granted. I never stopped playing violin from there ever, because I felt my family invested so much time, effort, and money into me and the violin classes. I had to push through it and make something of myself from playing and performing violin. I worked my way from small recitals, to public festivals, performing for weddings and special events, then onto bigger stages like for operas, symphonies, and grand orchestra concerts. I eventually found myself advancing my musical career as a deputy concertmaster. That role is being the principal first violin player in an orchestra. After the conductor, it's the most significant role within the musical ensemble. Players are guided by the sounds I play. Q: You had mentioned that being a concertmaster can be time consuming, demanding, hard, and stressful. How did you navigate the balance between your professional life and stepping out and doing your own thing? A: Sometimes getting a solo is something to celebrate but it could also be a burden. A performer always struggles with their confidence on stage. We're perfectionists and the self criticism can be overwhelming. It could be really crazy sometimes. That's why your health is so important. As we mature in this field as a classical performer, we learn how to live our lives around it. The time commitment is something that really takes some getting used to. Even if the show is only a few hours one night, it can take hours if not weeks to prepare for it. This lifestyle forces you to learn how to balance life from work. What really also grounded me was when I started my own family. I started to learn how to set healthy boundaries for myself and my family. It's always a work in progress but I got better with managing my time throughout the years. That's why I am exploring web3 now for its flexibility in time. ~

Physically and mentally - classical music helped me be stronger in my convictions as a singer and songwriter. I just create and trust the process without spending too much time doubting or questioning everything. If I did that, nothing would be made! It taught me perseverance.

~ Q: How does being a classical musician help you out most as a singer and songwriter? A: I learned form and composing. By studying these I was able to master what to do and what not to do while playing any piece. I started to understand music on a deeper level and to play and make music from the place of a songwriter. As I kid I listened to everything. I loved ABBA and Queen especially. As I grew up, singers like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston caught my attention and greatly influenced me to hone my singing skills. Modern singers like Adele and even bands like Coldplay are influential. I really admire people who can perform with perfection LIVE. Like Sting! The other thing is, it really pushes you to pay attention to your health. You can not be an exceptional performer if you are not in good health. There is so much rush of adrenalin and energy required to put on a great show. Long nights of rehearsals and over analyzing each piece until we get it right. There's a lot of nights I suffered through insomnia because of the sheer amount of responsibility and pressure I felt in my roles. I knew I just have to do it. Being healthy and physically fit and getting enough sleep is vital, but resting is always tricky. Q: There's no faking live music. What is something you do when making mistakes live? A: Just keep moving on if you ever make a mistake live on stage. Don't disturb yourself. Push through it. Most of the time, if you mastered control of your stage presence and craft in your instrument, you can often get away with messing up with people not even noticing. That has definitely happened to me more times than once, and so it is the case for most live performers. The saying "the show must go on" is exactly the attitude us live performers bring with us as soon as we hit the stage. Focus and don't make it obvious. The other thing is to not show your frustration. Never express anger on stage. It's tough to control if you bring something negative from real life with you to a performance. A professional must leave all of that out the door and separate it for the sake of the show. Being in the present moment and being one with the instrument is what puts on a great show. It's noteworthy to be mindful of your face while playing and performing. Our expressions are also part of the show. Breathing exercises really help. It calms us and sets us to being present. Being in the moment in order to perform well and maximize our abilities. Q: You had a very unorthodox Web3 journey because you kind of just dived right in. Can you share a bit about your first drop "The One That Got Away"? A: I didn't know anything about crypto. I embarked into this space by dropping a free Polygon NFT edition of my first collection on the platform Token Traxx. Since no one knew me as an artist, I thought a free mint made the most sense. That sold out quickly. I didn't make much of anything from it but it got my name out there. I started to show up more. I wouldn't change anything if I was to do it all over again. I got into spaces and started to build connections and confidence. It was overwhelming at first, but I really needed that so I could better learn how best to navigate this space on my own. I had some personal support from my husband who knew the space already. A lot of it was me head first into the deep blue it seems. I would start introducing myself to space hosts and would just put my music out there. It was mainly sucking up my nerves and putting myself out there! I would connect with music people in Web3 and talk to anyone who would listen. I learned about how the music creators here made collections and built communities. Everyone for the most part is very open and supportive. I was actually surprised how many people were genuinely helpful and kind. Q: Why is the song "I Still Long For You" so dear to your heart? A: I usually did cover songs for others but never my own music. It's scary to put your music out there. I've faced nasty comments in the past, but have learned to not let that consume my musical journey. I have tracks in multiple languages because I want to share my music with as many people who may enjoy it. I am happy and proud of making my own music. That's why it's so dear to me. It's personal. I wrote this song based on the experiences of others who are important to me in my life. It's a bit of a love letter to them and my gift to the world and for those who can resonate with the song. It's a song about a love that refuses to fade away. I tried my best to show raw emotions in it. It's openly vulnerable and honest. The melody, chorus, strings, instruments, lyrics were all just me, being free to creatively create. It's not just a digital asset as I wanted a way to give something back to my community and supporters. Exclusive for NFT owners are online concerts and personalized violin lessons with me. I look forward to collaborating and creating custom compositions with full creative rights along with my more serious collectors. I also maybe plan for airdrops along the way. I recorded this in my home studio and sent it out to my further based producer Vladimir Kuznetsov of World Beyond to lay the tracks. Working with a non-local producer taught me lots of patience and grace. There was a bit of back and forth and a lot of waiting in between for follow ups. I trusted his intuition, so our collaboration was successful and went very smoothly. It was just nerve wrecking not being so close to the action of arranging the tracks. We established a good understanding and friendship as we shared the same taste in music. I knew the wait would be worth it and when I finally heard the finished track, I was very happy and pleased with how super clean everything sounded together. Q: How do you describe your sound? A: I try to implement my own style into my songs. I am careful with the violin. It can be tricky as my fiddling is folksy sounding. It's very specific. That's the beauty in having my own style. I am in charge of the quality string sound. It's fun to create, and merge my real violin sounds over samples. I make music with the intentions of standing out at best from the competition. I want people to know it's me when they hear my music and not question it. I think that's what makes a musical artist so special when they have their own stuff; their own sound that no one can question is it them or not. That's true mastering of the musical gift in them. Q: I know that you've seen the movie "Love Actually" more than a handful of times. Why? A: It's one of my favorite movies! I know the movie is cheesy, but it's so beautifully done with little love stories. It's funny and clever with some humor in each character. It's also such a great cast and features a really nice soundtrack. Each story is connected to a bigger story and mirrors life. We are all each living our own love stories and are connected to each other's stories' in one way or another. I think it's widely poetic and speaks to how much of a romantic I am by nature. I love exploring the complexities in relationships, in love, and loss. Broken hearts and tales of "the one that got away" can be shared by many. It's tragic and yet really wholesome in the sense that people from all around the world can share in an experience, the feeling of falling in and out of love like that. No matter who you are, you can be heartbroken. It doesn't discriminate. No one can escape pain from a lost love. I'm a sucker for love songs for that reason alone. There can be so many little stories and everyone who has ever lived can relate to it. Q: You are doing all of this because as you sarcastically stated "totally have time for it." What do you want your children to know about mom? A: I grew up tough but have become much more vulnerable as a mother. I have less time and it's nerve wracking trying to juggle life outside of motherhood. However, I believe as women we owe it to ourselves to have desire and ambitions outside of just being a mother. I want my children to know that society and expected roles should not define them. I want them to dance to the beat of their own drums, you know the saying. Dare to dream big! My parents and my peers got used to who I was before (comfortable), but in time they started to see me change. I was not afraid of trying new things. I used to have some fear of missing out in the world once I became a mother. But now that I am here, I see it the other way around. I feel there is something special to be missed here. I have a new found world view and I feel more purpose in what I am putting out to the world. My music is unconventional because I am uncomfortable with being ideal. I have elements of surprises and may do things that people on the surface may not expect coming from a classical musician. My mind is always thinking of new ways to create. Especially as a creative person, I am more daring now. I learned so much about myself as a mother and saw the world with so much more wonder and curiosity. I am not as afraid to try new things because it feels very limiting to let fear get in your way. I certainly have normal worries, but it doesn't stop me anymore. I want my children to know that mom was fearless. I may make mistakes here and there but I had a lot of fun along the way too! I want them to try new things and to not let fear get in the way of their dreams. Q: What are some of your creative challenges, if any? A: My creative challenge is procrastination. I'll have an idea and it'll be going great. Then, all of a sudden, I will have a creative block and that's where I will lose interest. It's like a metaphorical cookbook full of unfinished recipes. A bunch of unfinished music. The good thing is having a bit of a professional break gives me room to pause my brain a bit. When I have the time, I can relax and take a step back to really look over my "cookbook" and maybe something will inspire me to fully finish a recipe and be able to deliver a nice appetizer, entree, or hopefully - a full meal! My family motivates me to keep going. Q: I know that you are expecting your second child any day now and by the time this feature comes out he would already be born. What's next for you? A: Here in Croatia we get a full year of maternity leave so I'll have until February 2025 to really have the answers figured out. Fingers crossed (laughs)! Right now, I'll focus on my family and when I can, drop more of my music on Web3. Who knows the future. We'll see. My husband is a project manager for Hybe platform which hosts rallies and charity work. We are planning on creating a contest to revive an open mic where people can upload videos on YouTube. A panel will choose winners for cash rewards. The website and promotions are currently a work in process. There will be different categories for singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, and producers. We plan to launch this initiative sometime soon in the future. So keep a look out for that! I am thinking sometime early next year. It's kind of a nervous time because we are all each trying our best at doing something that has never really been done before, but it is also very exciting. I have some ideas and collaborations down the pipeline. I plan to re-release some short compositions that didn't fanfare too well from the past. Venturing into the world of web3 and NFTs is a blend of art, music, technology, and community that I am still eager for more and get very excited about. Writing my own music, I know will be very cathartic when I'm home with two kids (after the baby is born). I love playing my originals so I may be uploading more videos of my own music. I am definitely going to miss performing live on stage in this temporary hiatus from work. The stage is my second home. There's nothing that can replace that unmatched energy from the audience. To visually see the audience is the greatest gift for a performer. The air in the room is like magic because of the connection of the sounds you are creating and their reaction to it. I can never give it up completely. So while Web3 is cool and I can play on spaces live or what not, it's just not the same. Concerts open many doors of opportunities and connections to grow my network. I am not sure what the future holds, but I am ready. Q: You had the opportunity to play and sing at the biggest concert hall in Croatia? Watch here. A: Yes I still get chills thinking about it! It was a very special once in a lifetime chance! It was the biggest audience I ever sang and played for - the venue housed a couple thousand seats or more. After years and years of festivals, playing alongside a world renown jazz pianist on one of the biggest stages of my life was a dream come true! That was definitely a defining performance in my music career and a beautiful life highlight for me personally! Q: You had quote Eckhart Tolle "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is a foundation for all abundance." What are you thankful for in this season of your life? A: I am very thankful to my family and supportive husband. My health. My parents for giving me a decent life given we lived through tough times of war. Everything is in its place and I am very humbled and grateful for music. I owe my life to music and it's every part of me. Q: What is your favorite instrument besides the violin and why? A: The cello. The violin can sometimes be erratic. The cello is an instrument that is simply so graceful and beautiful in just the way you have to physically hold it. It's like a warm embrace. It's the instrument that plays the colors of the human heart. I absolutely love it. It's just a giant version of my first love - violin. What's there not to love about it? It's magnificent! ~ Marica is an artist who fearlessly embraces a lot of different realms of music which gives her an advantage and a strong card to play in most performance settings. With her spirit and versatility, she combines classical and contemporary pop music. As she continues to embark on this Web3 music journey navigating the ever-changing landscape, we are excited and anticipating all the innovative chapters she will be adding to this evolving story in her career and talented presence. It's an honored to be joining her on this adventure as we kick off this year. Sharing in Marica's intention, we're daring ourselves to be bold and try new things! Aiming to do so at best. It's a gift to be doing it along with friends! TokenTraxx | Marica SoundCloud | Marica Twitter | marica_eth Instagram | Marica YouTube | Marica

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