She’s here to provoke. She’s here to make you think. Whatever your story, hers is more exotic. Marilyn Carino is a straight up Bensonhurst, Brooklyn Sicilian-American, from the mean streets of The French Connection with a corner fish shop known as a killing floor for mafia hits. Her cousin was in the CIA, her grandmother split the family to jet-set with Spanish royalty, and her father was a real life Mad Men-esque ad exec. Her dating history includes an operative for the Irish Republican Army.
Her saga began in the form of Mudville, a duo that produced three critically-acclaimed albums. As the singing and songwriting half, Marilyn inflamed and stunned, praised as “Nina Simone coming back from the dead to front Morcheeba.” Her song “Wicked” won a 2008 Independent Music Award, and it has continued to be a signature song as she moved on from Mudville to her 2011 solo album, Little Genius and 2015’s Leaves, Sadness, Science. Her music is sexy and thick, her voice an affecting instrument with an elegant grittiness, soaring above violent organs and chunky beats. As a solo artist, Carino does all the recording, mixing, producing and plays all the instruments herself, her personality imbued in the smoky-dark production, expressive singing and themes that dig for hope. “I think happiness is about a person freeing themselves, and that’s the idea I’m interested in. We’ve got to feel free to fall down and be a mess, to fuck the wrong people, to fail 99 times and keep coming back to get it right on the 100th. The solution to the hardening of the world around us is personal human revolution.”
The revolution in Carino’s music is authentic because she has lived the polarity involved in real change. A long-time practice of Nichiren Buddhism is the centering force that keeps her focused, independent and on a never-ending mission to transcend the smaller self. As one who has publicly demonstrated in support of American progressive causes and Irish independence (she was even jailed for her associations), and also spent time with lepers and polio victims in oxcart villages in India right after 9/11, she moves those in her path because she has experienced disparate extremes, and has been moved herself.
Carino’s undeniable talent and full-throttle attitude have moved her through headline performances at the iconic Blue Note jazz club in NYC, playing and/or recording with Mike Mills of R.E.M., David Byrne and Billy Talbot of Crazy Horse, recording her first album at Neil Young’s studio, and being hand-picked as a lyricist by legendary producers Sly and Robbie (Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Grace Jones, Madonna). Her songs “Hero of the World” and “Blown” have been prominently featured in the SyFy Channel series “Regenesis,” and other tracks used in the feature films “Slutty Summer,” “Vampires in Venice”, “Going Down in LaLa Land” and the upcoming “Someone Else”.
Marilyn Carino is that rare artist who shocks but also grounds her listeners. Uncompromising, humanistic, and insightful, her music is about your life, just in a way you’ve yet to consider. “I keep trying to be brave, be totally myself. It’s sexy to care about art and humanity and the happiness of other people, and it’s important that my life and music encourage you to find those things in yourself.” She sincerely loves you all, but don’t get it twisted.