If you’ve ever stood on the cusp of a life-changing, undeniably high-stakes decision, you’ll find Maricelle's story absolutely inspiring. Unable to ignore or relegate the desire to make music merely a hobby, she left her job as a fragrance developer and made it her main concern. This all-or-nothing endeavour has yielded a debut EP christened Pursuit, featuring the devastatingly beautiful single “Love Drunk”. May what she shares about her music and methods give you wings to ascend to your own greater heights.
The first start
I’ve always been interested in music; it was one of those things that I’ve always liked. I started singing opera in a choir that my mom used to send me to when I was a little kid. Throughout my childhood, my dad would bring the family on drives and we’d listen to whatever was playing on the radio, like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. But it was in 2012, when I joined the Noise Singapore songwriting programme, that I started writing my own songs.
The pursuit of happiness
It was this year, when I decided to make music full-time and I got paid to sing for a very long time, that I realized I wanted to communicate with other people through my music. Seeing people enjoying hearing me sing had a part to play in it. But validation isn't the main reason why I enjoy it. The sensation of being able to fill up a space with a sound that is uniquely mine is what gives me the most happiness.
"I had to travel a lot for work, and if I had stayed on, I wouldn't have had the time to work on or release music. It was a make-or-break decision that I felt I had to take."
The time is now
Though I loved my job as a fragrance developer, it wasn’t enough to convince me to sacrifice music. After all, I could always go back to it. I had to travel a lot for work, and if I had stayed on, I wouldn’t have had the time to work on or release music. It was a make-or-break decision that I felt I had to take. For me, being able to focus fully on music, to pour all that time and energy into this one thing that I want to do, has been the most rewarding part of it all.
The finer details
I think of my sound as a mix of pop, r&b and electronica. It’s also a reflection of my musical preferences, which are pretty wide. I see it all as sound design. I worked with James Lye, who’s a sound artist and producer. A song isn’t just a ‘song’– it’s a whole package. Whether or not there are effects, the way the synths sound, the timbre of any sound produced – all these things add to the overall whole. So, we were very focused on the intricate details of the process.
I literally had to ‘pursue’ everything I needed to make this EP possible. It was a pursuit of learning more about myself, of learning more about music, and being emotionally free enough to do those things. When you write a song, you hope it’ll change the world. It’s a certain type of ambition that gives your life meaning and helps you transcend boundaries and challenges. That’s why I didn’t just want a collection of nice-sounding songs. I wanted it to have a message. Each song is a creative expression of the messages that are important to me. Take “Love Drunk”, for example. Love songs mostly tend to focus on the good parts of being in love, but breakups are just as much a part of the whole experience of love. Love isn’t merely good or bad – it’s the intensity of emotion that drives it that counts. That’s what “Love Drunk” conveys.