Memphis, TN, USA
MARCELLA and Her Lovers
Creole families to settle in St. Landry Parish, Marcella René Simien planted the seeds of her South Louisiana heritage deep into the bluffs of Memphis, TN—no small victory for a young woman just now rounding out her mid-20’s. Simien is a natural in the truest sense.
Daughter of two-time GRAMMY™ award winning Zydeco luminary Terrance Simien, she was practically born onstage, and grew up thoroughly immersed in sound and performance. Taj Mahal might sing her happy birthday (as he did for her 17th), or Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo might drop by the house for some gumbo.
Despite her almost fairytale-like upbringing, Simien makes it her mission to forge her own pathways in the music business. A graduate of the prestigious Memphis College of Art, Simien boldly follows her heart in her role of bandleader. Her music is a dueling hybrid of classic Memphis soul and the freewheeling swagger of New Orleans funk woven together with the sighing laughter of her ancestors: that Creole accordion. Assembling her group from the cream of the crop of Memphis musicians, Simien’s soulful voice smolders like a night star, fondly reminding us of a mysterious past while at once exciting us with the romance of an uncertain future.
As outspoken and courageous as she is sensual and feminine, Simien holds a wisdom far beyond her years. With each honeyed undertone, every saintly holler, with each twinkle of the keys, and every pump of the squeezebox, she reinvents the mold and soldiers against boundaries, yet she never fails to respect tradition.
In addition to her extensive work with her own group, Marcella and Her Lovers, Simien was featured on her father’s most recent album “Dockside Sessions”, which won a GRAMMY™ in January of 2014 for Best Regional Roots Album of the Year. Marcella was recognized by the Recording Academy as a featured vocalist on GRAMMY™ award winning recording ‘Dockside Sessions' by Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. Marcella was the sole vocalist on the song "Ava Magnolia" written by George G. Receli (Bob Dylan, Keith Richards) "Uncle George" who also produced 'Dockside Sessions.'
In 2014 Marcella was featured on the cover of the Susan Schadt's cookbook Memphis: Sweet, Spicy and a little Greasy. Marcella also appeared in Samantha Crespo's book 100 things to do in Memphis Before You Die
She has recorded with hip hop artist Cities Aviv, and was featured on the album “Digital Lows”(click album title to read the Pitchfork review from 2011). One of her contributions to the Cities project, the track “Black Box”, was featured on theindieplaylists.com (summer of 2011) compilation in the company of Arcade Fire, Mayer Hawthorne, Modest Mouse, Coldplay, and many others. Here's an article by Brooklyn Vegan about the album.
Marcella sparked the interest of Jonathan Poneman (Sub Pop) at the GrammyGPS event in October of 2011 at Earnestine & Hazel’s in Memphis, where he and his wife stayed for Marcella’s entire set, requested to meet Marcella and invited her to submit (and/or email) music to him.