Teenage singer/songwriter Marissa Grace lists her faves
“I play pop rock, infused with some folk, funk, and jazz,” says La Mesa’s Marissa Grace, who started studying piano at age four. The 13-year-old took vocal lessons with local stars Eve Selis and Mattie Mills, as well as singing in stage productions with the Christian Youth Theater. “My love for music has led to me learning and performing with the ukulele, guitar, and bass,” she says. “I incorporate all of these into most of my shows and recordings.”
The singer/songwriter says her life completely changed after her spoof of “Rude” by Magic earned her airplay on the local Jeff & Jer radio show a couple of years ago. “I submitted my rewritten custom lyrics to the song, coming from the girlfriend’s point of view. The radio show liked it so much, they played it over and over again. It became a thing…eventually, I was connected with a music producer and another writer and, since then, we’ve written and produced over a dozen originals.
“My music partner, Charles Jirkovsky [Moonlight Stage Productions, Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy], plays lead guitar and is also an award-winning composer and playwright. We first got together when he started running the music lessons department at Guitar Center in La Mesa.”
Also a school band and choir director, Jirkovsky composed and wrote the musical Sheila (which played Patio Playhouse in 2012 and Ocean Beach Playhouse in 2014) and composed the music for Margaret Larlham’s Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser (staged in 2015 at the Don Powell Theater at SDSU).
Grace stays busy with school and playing competitive club soccer, though she still promises “new music each week” (including requested covers) to online followers of her various social-media streams. “Several of these [songs] are being picked up via publishers for network TV shows and, yes, through uploading a few YouTube videos, I now have a very large social-media fan base.” Indeed, her YouTube cover of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” has earned over 10,000 views. “It’s also driven by some songs I’ve posted on SoundCloud.”
Her professional pace and work ethic extends to frequent performances at area events such as Artwalk and the Coyote Music Festival, as well as at Belmont Park and private functions. She also logged appearances this past summer at the county fair in Del Mar, the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, a Ronald McDonald House Big Red Shoe charity event, and the ninth annual Wine and Music Festival at Liberty Station.