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Melody's Miscellaneous: Interview with Marsha Bartenetti

Marsha Bartenetti is a smooth, rich, expressive singer with the ability to bring authenticity to each song with heartfelt vocals that transport a lyric straight to your heart. She has been known to “cross any genre for a good lyric” and does so with heart and truth.

Marsha started her career in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 60’s. The music scene was alive with incredible talent and opportunities. Her band opened for such acts at The Youngbloods, and played at venues like the Troubadour in Los Angeles. In 1980, Marsha won Best Vocalist in the American Songwriter’s Association’s International contest. The "American Idol” of it’s time, it brought access to opportunities that would take Marsha to Motown Records where she recorded with writers Ken Hirsch and Ron Miller who togethe,r and on their own, wrote “I’ve Never Been To Me,” and “Touch Me In The Morning” for Diana Ross, “For Once In My Life” for Stevie Wonder, “If I Could” for Celine Dion and “No One In The World” for Anita Baker, among other top hits.

Marsha studied with the legendary vocal coach Judy Davis, in Oakland CA. who she says changed her life. Judy was a diva herself, whose students include Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and Judy Garland among other famous and not-so-famous artists.

Although Marsha’s love for singing remained, musical politics and personal changes left her disheartened by the business and, after a divorce, Marsha decided to leave the music business and shift gears to what she thought would be a better career to help with financially supporting her daughter.

She may have left the stage for a time, but she continued working in the studio recording national jingles for such companies as Bank Of America and Chevron, among others. She transitioned into voice-overs and on-camera acting. Marsha was the American English voice for the largest international voice messaging company, serving the majority of voicemail systems in this country – including most of the Fortune 500 companies. She is still heard on major voice-mails systems throughout the country – where you may hear her say…”I’m sorry, that’s not a valid password. Please try your call again later.” She was deemed by the press as “The Voice America Loves To Hate” and “The Voice Mail Queen" and was invited as guest on the Today Show among other national guest spots as the “person behind the telephone voice.”

Fast forward to social media and the wonders of Facebook, where Marsha reconnected with a former band mate Donny Marrow – Disk Eyes Productions. She recorded her first solo album, “It’s Time,” in Nashville, with Donny Marrow producing and his esteemed team of studio musicians from all over the country adding their talents to the project. Marsha’s songs cross genres; from Billie Holiday to Bonnie Raitt; always with the lyric as her first consideration. It was time to return to the stage and the studio – and her album “It’s Time” marked the beginning of her “next act.”

Hi, Marsha! Thanks for chatting with us today. It's great to meet the woman behind "the voice." You recently released new music. Can you give us a little backstory?

Lo-Flo Records recently released an album with original songs by Jane McNealy

and Alice Kuhns and I was the vocalist on the project. I met the writers through a

friend and, when introduced to their music, I was struck by the beautiful arrangements and lyrics that painted such interesting pictures. The style of this album is a bit of a departure for me, but I have always loved different genres in music as long as they resonate with me and I can be moved by the lyric and melody.

Jane had already produced and recorded the tracks when I came on board, which added a bit more of a challenge for me. But, I found ways to “own” the tracks and bring my interpretations to them with authenticity.

We started the project just as COVID entered our world and after the first cut, everything shut down! From then on, we carefully recorded the rest of the cuts with Jane producing remotely, and I was in a segregated booth – with strict protocols - a very different and challenging way to do a record! The good news is that we were able to finish and we have been getting wonderful reviews of the project. We are all very proud of the album and how we were able to navigate the craziest of all years with COVID hovering!

Who are some of your musical influences?

Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Marvin Gaye, Barbra Streisand...too many to count!

Is there a certain song you really resonate with? If so, which one and why?

It changes all the time – Today, it’s “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong..because I think right now we need a little hope.

If you weren’t a recording artist working in the music industry, what other career choice do you think you may have chosen?

I would have acted or directed. I love the intimate medium of film.

What do you hope fans take away from your music?

I hope fans will come away feeling connected to something within themselves – a reconnection, of sorts. And hope.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

"If you worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow, remember that today is the tomorrow you were worried about – and here you are."

What piece of advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out?

Love your influences in the craft – learn from them – and find out what it is about them that resonates with you – then be courageous enough to look inside – and search your own life experience. Find out that part of yourself you want to express. We are all individuals with gifts that are unique – and your voice is uniquely yours. Use it.

If you could go back in time and change one thing about your life, would you and, if so, what would it be?

In as much as I have faced my fears through life, I would like to have been less afraid. But, even in saying that, it may be folly. Because, it is because I overcame so much along the way that I am where I am today. So...maybe I wouldn’t change a thing!

If you were to write a memoir, what would you title it?

“Rest. But, Don’t Quit.”


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