WDSR Radio – Mars Gana Interview
WDSR Radio: Welcome Mars! So born and raised in Sacramento huh? How was/is life growing up there?
Mars Gana: Yes, I’m from Sacramento! I love all parts of Cali, but I’m very proud of my hometown. The area code for Sacramento is 916, I was born on September 16th at 9:14AM. It’s really trippy, I always see 9:16 everywhere. I feel a deep relation to my city on another level, in spite of not always fitting in here. My father is a former correctional officer and an amputee; he raised me singlehandedly, and was the best anchor any little girl could ask for.
As for kid life, I got into spats with people, lost friends, had rumors made up about me, had a long term boyfriend, but through all the BS, Sacramento still opened doors for me. I won the Countywide Talent a Show and played the state fair 3 times while in high school. It’s truly where I found myself as a performing musician.
WDSR Radio: After checking out your music, you have some great product available. How many different instruments do you actually play?
Mars Gana: I’m a youngin, but I have been playing piano for about 11 years, guitar for 14 years, I’ve just recently started to doodle with percussion, and I’ve been producing and sound designing for about 5 years! Singing – well, since I could talk, but not always at the level I am now. I had to teach myself everything -we were on a fixed income growing up, but my Papa always bought me instruments for my birthday or Christmas. He always did what he could, and it was always more than enough to make me into the persistent musician I am today.
WDSR Radio: Do you feel that being a solo artist gives you more of an outlet for your creative abilities?
Mars Gana: It’s a Virgo thing. I found that I work best when I am conducting an organized band with a common goal or doing my #OneWomanSymphony, but I don’t like taking a backseat. I played the role of front woman in about 4 different performing bands, before I focused on my solo works. I didn’t like just writing lyrics or not being able to play guitar or instruments. It wasn’t for me. I don’t consider myself a great vocalist, I consider myself a unique vocalist and a perpetually improving musician. It bums me that people tried to box me in to being a singing front woman. I wanted to contribute to the music, too. That’s what the #OneWomanSymphony was born from.
WDSR Radio: You are such a talented artist! Are there any musical accomplishments you’d like to share with the World?
Mars Gana: I’m dropping my first ever, entirely self produced album late this Spring, and touring all around the US afterwards. Nothing major, just a girl, her cat, a station wagon, and her video camera, cross country, hiking mountains, eating food in awesome places, playing open mics, street performing, filming my crowds, connecting with new people and getting lost in the scene. I’m doing this all independently, and while I’m aware of the dangers – I’m well protected, got what I need to live sustainably and comfortably on the road, and it’s a total bucket list thing. I gotta do it! Haha.
WDSR Radio: What have you found the best ways using the internet to get the word out about your music?
Being real with people. I message everyone all the time everywhere, I share everything constantly, and I keep it as real as possible. I don’t record any vocals that I couldn’t easily replicate, I don’t mask my talents with heavy doses of auto tune, and more importantly – I stay patient. I can’t tell you all my tricks, because there’s people waiting to see what I do to do it better, but I will say patience, persistence, and a REAL talent you could easily deliver at any time is key.
If your music career takes less than 3 years to blossom, it won’t really be much of a career. If you can’t sing a song without using backing tracks – your live following will be nonexistent, and with everything in my millennial generation being so disconnected with the Internet – Being in the flesh is everything.
WDSR Radio: We noticed that you started your musical journey at the ripe tender age of 7. Where does a 7 year old start in this crazy music game?
My school play! I played a lead role as a zebra in a musical about a jungle. Shout out to my 2nd grade choir teacher for being my first talent scout, haha.
WDSR Radio: So we see that your stage presence is great and you have no problem selling out venues. Do the venues where you live give independent artists a fair shake of displaying their music?
Mars Gana: Yes! Oh my gosh, most of them totally do. I love Sacramento for that reason. As a solo artist, I tend to pack houses as big as full bands do sometimes, but sometimes there’s only 5 or 6 people on a Wednesday night. Either way, since I moved back from LA, I haven’t been paid less than $50 for a half hour set in my hometown. It’s not much to a lot of wealthier people or studio musicians, but to me – it’s everything, and I’m grateful.
WDSR Radio: Do you also collaborate with other local artists to create some of your music?
Mars Gana: I’d like to, but as of right now – with the exception of 2 violin features on my album from a friend I used to street perform with in Santa Monica, my album is created entirely by me.
WDSR Radio: What is the easiest type of song for you to write and record?
Mars Gana: They’re all easy! I guess the easiest is whichever style I’m vibing with. Sometimes I want to write a folky, blues song- other times I want a full on industrial, heavy, hammer to car hood beat. What’s easiest, is usually whatever was the outro to my dream as I woke up that morning.
WDSR Radio: We definitely think that your music is great. What type of feedback have you received from others so far?
Mars Gana: My favorite feedback is when I step onto a stage in a loud, testosterone filled bar – and everyone goes quiet the second I start to play my guitar… and gets quieter when I sing. I love stepping off the stage and not being able to really even put my instruments away before I’m surrounded by a circle of love – people waiting to tell me how I helped them in some way. That’s my purpose – to help.
Also- check out my YouTube! It’s all kind of laid out there. The comments I receive are amazing. I’ve got a genuine Rihanna style navy developing on there over the past month! Everyone from elder, blues men in Norway to young gamers to women make up artists to millennial musicians in Jamaica. I love it. In 2012, I received an award for being the Best Emerging Artist in Los Angeles at the Grammy Museum, and was asked to return to play in 2013.
I’m also still glowing from Raury (All We Need) saying I was awesome on Twitter and Charlie Handsome (White Iverson) saying he likes my spoken word aspect, and that I’ve got a lot of tools in my arsenal. I’m still emerging, though, and I have less than 2000 followers musically. I’ve never had PR or management or marketing, so it’s probably going to take a little bit longer for me to really reign in some awesome feedback, but for now, I’ve got enough fuel to keep me going through any shade thrown my way.
WDSR Radio: What’s a typical day in the recording studio like for you? Do you come up with your songs in studio or are they already prepared once you arrive?
Mars Gana: I record everything in house. No, literally, in my house. There’s no preparation. I just wake up and make beats, and refine them until they’re ready. I like to let em marinate.
WDSR Radio: As far as live performances and such, where can we find you doing shows to promote your releases?
Mars Gana: All of that will be announced on WWW.MARSGANA.COM late this Spring! I promise.
WDSR Radio: You already know that we have to let everyone know where they can find your music online/offline, right?
Mars Gana: Yes, yay! Please send everyone my way. I am fortunate enough to be in a place where I still have time to respond to most every YouTube comment and message, and I want to get to know as many people as possible while in this phase of my life!
WDSR Radio: You have the opportunity to select major artists as your opening acts. Who do you select?
Mars Gana: As in THEY open for me? Oh gosh, well that’s a big dream, so I’m just going to say if I could make a festival, I’d have (in no order):
A Perfect Circle
WDSR Radio: We ask all the artists we interview, what’s the best piece of advice someone’s ever given to you?
Mars Gana: “You don’t need to ask to sit at the table. You already have a chair.”
We appreciate you and your candidness in the latest WDSR Radio – Mars Gana Interview.