When Patch last spoke to local singer-songwriter Marci Geller, her group Lucky 13 was busy . But Geller, 48, left the group earlier this year to return to life as a solo independent singer-songwriter – what she's called a "rebirth" for her career.
"It had several low points but mostly it's been a real amazing ride of writing new material that I feel really strongly about and learning who I am as an artist all over again," Geller said. "At this age that's a pretty cool thing to happen."
Last year, she was named one of Independent Songwriter Magazine's ten favorite artists. She has toured all over the U.S. and Europe, and has appeared on Live! with Regis, Good Day New York, Fox Morning Show, and more. Her music has drawn comparisons to Sarah McLaughlan and Carole King.
"I think I really just sound like me but it's an honor to be compared to people who are that great," she said.
Now Geller, a resident of Stony Brook for about 20 years, is busy recording her sixth album in the studio she and her husband built in their home. Patch recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Geller.
Patch: How were you inspired to get into music?
MG: I don't think it was a deliberate choice. According to my parents I've always been musical. I think it sort of picked me. As far as a career, it must have been momentary insanity. This is just what I do. I can't imagine doing anything that would be more fulfilling.
Patch: What do you find inspires you to write your songs?
MG: The logistics are usually I'm on a run and I'm two miles from my house and an idea pops into my head. I have to keep singing it over and over so I remember it by the time I get home. It's one of the few times in my day that it gets quiet. When I'm not answering emails and plotting what hotel I need to stay in and what time of day ... when I'm running, I guess that quiet is what lets the ideas come through.
Patch: How would you describe the impact the economy has had on musicians?
MG: I think it has affected independent musicians as well as major label artists.
What I do find is that venues are paying less for the same gig, and arts councils have smaller budgets so they're producing less concerts per season. Gas prices have had a huge impact. That used to be such a minor detail in touring, but now it's a major part of figuring out your budget. I think things like Spotify are killing us in terms of downloads ... It's made us think outside of the box to foster a sense of community with the people who enjoy listening to us.
Patch: How would you characterize the music scene in Three Village?
MG: You have a couple of very interesting supportive venues like Grounds and Sounds. The University Cafe, which tends to book outside the area. The Velvet Lounge is more of a plugged-in place and I've noticed they do an open mic. Some of my friends play there and it's kind of a cool scene. ... There's a scene, but I always think it can be better because people want to hear music. We get so caught up in our lives and being on the computer and living in these little isolated boxes. I think people forget what it's like to hear music in a room with other human beings. There's an energy in the room that you can't get anywhere else. ... I've hosted a few house concerts just to give out of town musicians a stopover when they're in the area.
Patch: How do you feel about living in Three Village?
MG: I love it. I really consider this my home more than any place I've ever lived before. I'm not a fan of the LIE. It makes my life very stressful. ... I love that there's a university so you get a very diverse, educated community. You have very intersting places to eat and meet up with people. I think my heart rate slows down once I cross into the Three Village area. I can take a deep breath.