In episode #2 of the Conscious Creators series, we talk to songwriter, music teacher and choir conductor Marlou Vriens.
As a talented artist and a kind human, Marlou teaches valuable life lessons through the power of music. She shows how we can model social justice in our immediate environment, and reminds us that we can both find our own voice and amplify others in the process.
Her own songs had always been a refuge, but one day the expectations of others leaked into the bubble she had created for herself, and Marlou stopped writing. It took a few years of empowering other women before she found her spark back, and she promised she’d never let it go again.
She recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in Aalborg, and released her album Vəʊkəˈliːz. She’s ready to share her own voice with the world, and now there is just one question left:
“How do you feel about it?”
Note: you’ll find the time stamps (with links) at the bottom of the page
How do you feel about it – Marlou Vriens
Starting at 1:04:02, we talk about Marlou’s new single, the meaning behind it, and the process of writing and releasing.
Do you relate to songs differently after hearing the backstory?
Let us know in the comments (at the bottom of the page), or connect with us on social media.
HIMANDHERANDIT GARDEN Arets Reumert Awards
Marlou Vriens composed the accompanying music for dance performances WoMAN, Garden and Landscapes by HIMHERANDIT Productions, Bora Bora Dans og Visuelt Teater in Aarhus. WoMAN and Garden were both nominated for the Årets Reumert Awards, the national theater awards in Denmark, in 2017 and 2018.
Learn more about HIMHERANDIT and the creative collaboration with Marlou at 11:00 in the podcast.
Business – Blueprint
Vocalgroup Blueprint recorded this song (written by Marlou) during quarantine.
Composition: Marlou Vriens
Claps: Pieter Danz, Daan Danz
Mix: Marlou Vriens, Daan Danz
Video: Marit van Wijk
More female empowerment at 28:20 and 34:30 in the podcast 🙂
Vəʊkəˈliːz – Marlou Vriens
Vəʊkəˈliːz is a carefully picked collection of 5 unique a cappella works featuring Marlou’s voice with only sounds, emerging into a vocal exploration of harmony and clashes. The works are both engaging and surrealistic. The title Vəʊkəˈliːz is a reference to Marlou’s early classical training and a playful variation to the words “vocal ease”.
Artwork, picture transferred on canvas; eszett, Sonja Vriens-Zopfi
Graphic design; Paul Scheepmaker
Compositions and performance; Marlou Vriens
Mix & Master; Rens van der Meer, Studio Thrills Music and Sound
Three levels of advice from Marlou (1:13:30).
Personally, I found this really inspiring, and I highly recommend listening to Marlou’s take on the three steps.
– What does your ‘cozy space’ look like?
– Do you practice yoga? If yes, what do you appreciate about it?
Show with Bobby McFerrin
Marlou tells us about this incredible experience with Bobby McFerrin and Gimme5 during the “show before you tell” in the podcast. You can find it at 02:45.
You can find a video of a live performance here.
Notes and quotes
The Three P’s of decision making are mentioned around 1:25:46.
– What is important to you when you make a decision? Can you relate to the Three P’s?
– What is your relationship to saying no?
Marlou recommends this book to other women who might have a complicated relationship with food. We talk a little bit about body image at 59:42.
Around 1:14:11, Marlou talks about the joy of cooking, and being creative in the kitchen.
Did you like this exploration and would you like to learn more?
Schedule a free discovery call with Flora to find out how to take the next step.
Flora is a Transformational Yoga teacher with a background in psychology and music.
In these customized classes, you will learn to take your yoga off the mat, and you might just change your mind 🙂
In this episode:
00:00 Intro (music: Opening Eyes – Marlou Vriens)
01:35 Deep breaths and feelings
02:45 Show before you tell: Bobby McFerrin in Copenhagen
06:55 Integrating vs separating the elements of your (artist) identity
09:22 Multidisciplinary learning + podcast #1 with Jordi Martin
11:00 HIMHERANDIT + Vəʊkəˈliːz (vocal-ease)
14:41 Vocalizing different emotions without words
16:26 Pre-release nightmares and creative bravery
18:50 Marlou’s way to cope with nerves
20:55 “Doing it wrong” + being your own teacher
22:30 Great advice from the past + the joy of making art
25:11 Why the “crazy takes” are often the best
25:36 Leading a choir + bringing people together
26:19 Marlou’s choir experience: starting early
27:17 Creating together + sharing your voice
28:20 Glee + Starting a choir: Out of the Blue
29:34 Lessons from leading a choir
31:51 Sharing a “secret” + a very complicated relationship (band/choir)
33:22 Building a bond that doesn’t break (choir)
34:30 Female empowerment and #GirlPower (Queen B)
36:08 A message for the audience, sharing power, and making decisions together
37:55 Beyond the bio: vulnerability and volleyball
44:10 Metaphors in music and teaching + the movement of water
46:14 Marlou’s songwriting process and inspiration (question from Meghan)
50:15 Writing solo vs writing together
53:19 Things that have influenced Marlou’s artistic vision
55:35 Tori Amos + creating your own universe
57:42 The pressure of (external) expectations
59:42 Body-image struggles and coping with rejection
1:00:49 Being yourself (through music)
1:01:01 Why Marlou stopped writing
1:02:35 A promise: embrace your gifts
1:04:02 New single + freedom of speech
1:05:54 Black Lives Matter + fighting for the same cause
1:06:39 How to write an essay: 3 steps + the making of “how do you feel about it”
1:10:01 Opinions vs facts + verbal table tennis
1:13:30 Thrive: three levels of advice from Marlou
1:14:11 Staying afloat: create a cozy place + be gentle with yourself
1:19:00 Learning to swim: speak it + celebrate every step
1:22:45 Lockdown: an invitation to go within
1:24:08 FOMO + the power in saying no
1:25:46 The three P’s of decision making + delaying your answer
1:29:11 Everybody has something to teach you + staying true to you
1:32:10 Exploring the ocean: keeping a promise + ambitions for the future
1:37:17 A final piece of advice
1:38:00 Outro (music: How do you feel about it – Marlou Vriens)