time and circumstance: most likely to succeed

Recently I attended my latest high school reunion.

I was flattered to know many people knew about my music and they were all so supportive and pleased to know I am still at it, doing what I love.

People seemed to recognize me as…well, as me! “You haven’t changed!” said so many of my former classmates, and they seemed to heartily mean it. However we all have changed and it was amazing how I remembered the faces. That night, we all came together and forgot all the years that had passed since we were all teens and we just enjoyed being together. Being where we are now. It was more about now than it was about the past. We even had a list of questions, like “What did the girls from the student council and our class have a sit in about? What was their format, policy change? Answer: wearing slacks/pants to school.

What does time and circumstance change in a person? I find myself asking. I found out that night that I have the same essential core inside of me that had formed in my teens, maybe earlier. My life had been a continuation, a celebration, of some fundamental quality which had always formed the basis of who I am or even who I intend to be. Hardships, or simply the grind of daily life, may dim some glow within.

I’m proud to feel that throughout everything I’ve faced in life, I have emerged a survivor. This doesn’t just mean I’ve survived economically and physically, with my health and some financial stability. It means my heart, my mind, my creativity and my ability to feel inspired by the world are not just still intact, they are flourishing. To me this is now the true meaning of Most Likely to Succeed.

Here’s a song from Denise Marsa Productions.



It’s the sound of the voice descending that gets me every time. It is so hard for me to hear. Still I must say “no” when I must. I cannot do for others if I am putting myself out or putting my priorities behind another’s.

I will learn to hear a voice descend and accept the sound.

DO IT MYSELF (DIM) The Music Business & Streaming Music

I went indie in 1997. After two hit records as a vocalist and two publishing deals that went south because both times my publisher left the company mid-contract, it was time to DIM. (Do It Myself) dim3 It was a big learning process. And now indie artists are flourishing! They get themselves started and then a major comes along and snaps them up.  And that also means other creatives are doing well too. We can’t do it ourselves. We need CD designs, PR, marketing, etc., indie small creative businesses are depending on one another. I recently hired someone to help with my YouTube channel for THE PASS.  I hired a small film company to film the first run through of the project. We are all supporting one another.

There has been moaning about how bad the music business has been, there’s no money being made, the internet has ruined the value of music and  I say -music has huge value – even more now than ever before. It is everywhere. That is why there are so many music videos on YouTube and Vimeo and why Google, Apple and Amazon have made millions from music streaming! There are more and more streaming options too.  So many other new streaming apps are hitting the market all the time. Dozens. And the big labels are catching up too.

Billboard headline: Sony Music Posts Nearly $1 Billion in Quarterly Revenue as Streaming Booms

The internet is still kind of new (1994  in my world”worldwide web”) and things –  just had to settle in. Change can be upsetting and/or uplifting.  Skeptics, pessimists, optimists, all out shouting one another in today’s media driven world.

Music is music. Here’s my newest release, both my CD”s on one CD! TWO


Pinpointing My Dream


After basking in the afterglow of my first performance of THE PASS, my one woman show including original songs, I now say: What’s Next? A dream is a pure thing, beautiful and nebulous as a cloud, filled with light. But to successfully mount a show a dream is unfortunately not enough. I have a vision; I need a plan. To an artist, making the vision concrete can be the hardest part. Luckily, over the years I have formed and developed my own production company, and have handled the careers of indie musicians (and other artists) whose work I respect. Now is the time to apply the same concentration to my own show that I’ve applied to dozens of other careers.

So, today, I have been starting the submission for a new musical festival, here in NYC.  If we get it, it will help with the funding needed to take THE PASS to the next level and around the country, hopefully even around the world. Oh dare I dream that big? Why not!! So this type of working on a dream,  involves dealing with all the tedious parts of an application such as finding documents and filling out information fields–the exact opposite of bursting into song. Setting my sights on the goal, the end results of entertaining people for a 90 minutes of songs and stories,  I am doing it, while running my PR/Production company as well! That is also a part of me, helping others! www.keymediapublicreations.com

I can break through into a life that is better and where I can be my best self–the expressive songstress me. I can see myself traveling to cities and sharing THE PASS.

It’s right there…



On Thursday 9/28 at 7 pm I unleashed for the first time The Pass, to an audience of 20 privately invited guests. It was held in the home of my director Gretchen Cryer. The performance was an extremely rewarding experience for me on many levels as I had worked so very hard to prepare for this event. I’d been working with a vocal coach, (Tania Travers) rehearsing long hours with my accompanist, Marta Sanchez, and with my director, as well as tweaking the script a lot before the show. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Gretchen Cryer intro The Pass 9_28_17

I had told myself before I started the show that after I was done with my last final word of the script and had sung my last note if I asked myself “why did I do this?” I wouldn’t perform again. My first visceral response, I can’t wait to do it again!, was my Geiger counter–I WILL keep on performing the Pass, hopefully, many times. Once it was completed I was 100% ready to do it again. Now I am fine tuning all details, making the show even more special and full of impact.

The Pass coincided with the solemn time of Yom Kippur; I didn’t want to do any social media until Monday, after the High Holidays. Monday morning I was confronted with the dire news about the Las Vegas shooting. This tragedy did eclipse a lot of my inner triumph. What really affected me was that it was during a music event–and music to me is about what saves us, what gets us through the tough times. Here this 64-year-old man murders, destroys, at a music event–this stopped me cold in my tracks. It brings up the art of promotion; when is it appropriate to promote yourself or when should you concentrate on the tone brought about by a devastating interruption?

It’s Tuesday now, as we all try to swallow the facts about the Las Vegas shootings. Then more bad news…As a great performer, Tom Petty, leaves us, we realize how important every minute is.  Friends attended his Hollywood Bowl performance last week; they said he was amazing.  My song In a Matter of Moments is playing in my head.  Still we must face that life just keeps going on, no matter what. You’ve gotta find the strength, the reasons to do what you do, to love what you do, to love the people you love and support and find a purpose even when things seem so insane. So my afterglow was dimmed; but there will be more afterglows to follow.


Beautiful Women Showing Off Their Minds! Award Winning TV!

DM blogAlways one to support female empowerment I was excited watching the 2017 Emmy Awards on TV Sunday night. The three women who stood out for me were Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Ophrah Winfrey. Their speeches involved women in front of and behind the scenes in television production. Female empowerment can be an instinctive emotion or it can be generated by specific situations. I’ve always believed “I can do it myself” as opposed to “I don’t need a man…or anyone”; I’ve resisted seeming submissive, suppressed or vulnerable. I’m a self-reliant person, who just happens to be a woman, and have always insisted upon maintaining my sense of self above all. I remember growing up whenever my parents would allow my brother to do something that I couldn’t I asked why; they would answer “because you’re a girl.” This used to infuriate me; it brought out raw, innate feelings that came directly from my own perceptions and were not socially influenced. I was very aware at a young age that gender had nothing to do with my capabilities; I felt their perceptions were based on prejudices created by traditional rules not facts about me.

At the core of my show are the seeds of my ongoing quest for personal satisfaction versus audience approval. In show business you must present yourself as appealing to a variety of people but you are also doing it from a narrow self-induced perspective. You want to be appreciated and accepted by the masses because that means “success” whether it is a book, a record or a show. However, you want to be true to your inner voice, the same voice you have heard your whole life–the same voice that told me a girl could do anything, back when I was eleven or twelve years old. The intentions of the single mind are as powerful as the intentions of a hundred minds.

Can you hear yourself think?


Mother Earth is Crying Out! How Can We Help?

mother earth 2We have all witnessed, either in person or through social media, the recent devastation brought about by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I was moved on many levels: as an American, as a citizen of the world and as a musician. With dramatic climate changes bringing about ever-more catastrophic weather events, I know we all agree nature must at last be soothed and celebrated, not exploited.

In 1997 when I was recording my debut album SELF, The Land Had A Dream was a brand new song that I wanted to include last minute. I received a lot of comments and questions relating to my writing about the environment–such as, “what do you mean the land had a dream? how does the sky have a dream?'” etc. I was really convinced that THE LAND HAD A DREAM was the song to feature when we discussed a music video to promote the album. There was push back however I stood my ground (no pun intended) and we made the video. We had great support from many and to this day, I realize what a big task we took on! Always up for a challenge, we made it work!

At the time there weren’t a lot of pop songs based around environmental themes. I feel the song continues to be relevant even more so today as we all join together to share our messages of concern and the need for change. Check out the quote at the end of the video we added in – during post production.

Today I hereby pledge the following:

  1. All money coming from downloads of the track THE LAND HAD A DREAM between September 13, 2017 and September 13, 2018 will be donated to Hand in Hand.
  2. If you cover the song ( guitar, piano, acapella) and put a video up on YouTube I will donate $25 to Hand in Hand at the end of the year for each video that is created. Please be sure to let us know when you post your video! keymediagroupnyc(at)gmail.com


To download THE LAND HAD A DREAM link

Denise Marsa-The Land Had A Dream From The Cd Self

Basic Chords: B E A D Cm D# G# G


THE LAND HAD A DREAM Words and Music:  Denise Marsa

Man had a dream without illusions

Washed up in rivers and lakes of concrete and stone

When I see your face, I’m closer to home

Outside our shelter it feels so alone


What about the land the land had a dream

What about the sky the sky had a dream

What about the trees the trees had a dream

What about the sun the sun had a dream


What is a prayer without confusion

Simple is sometimes the best we can do

First there was one followed by two

Three maybe four we crowd our lives with ourselves


What about the land the land had a dream

What about the sky the sky had a dream

What about the moon the moon had a dream

What about the sea the sea had a dream


Man had a dream without illusions

Washed up in rivers and lakes of concrete and stone


What about the land the land had a dream

What about the sky the sky had a dream

What about the trees the trees had a dream

What about the sun the sun had a dream

© 1997  Marsa Music/ASCAP



Reigning it in: Staging a Production


As a musical performer I’ve been told I often use sweeping and dramatic gestures and move about a lot on stage. What I’m learning now is that being a singer with a band is a lot different than doing a one-woman show. As I rehearse my show THE PASS it’s been brought to my attention by my director, Gretchen Cryer, that I need to stand still–at least once in a while! During my rehearsal yesterday I was pacing around the stage, thinking and moving spontaneously as I would in life. But this can be distracting for an audience, even off-putting. I’ve been advised to block out all my moves so that when I speak and sing I will be standing in pre-arranged places–no more wandering around! I’m a free spirit who enjoys making each performance different; I even sing my songs with slight variations every time, to keep them fresh. It’s just the way I roll.

However, for THE PASS, the first run-through, which is September 28th, is an invitation-only performance and will be trying out a new style: one of stillness. I will perform my anecdotes and sing my songs according to a pattern that I’ll have pre-determined, as much as it is within my power to do so. Varying my act a bit, by tweaking the way I usually perform, will be a big challenge. But it will also keep me aware of both myself and the audience in a fresh and exciting new way.

I am thrilled (and nervous) to be preparing for my first showing of THE PASS and will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Being a Parent: Questions and Answers

parenting-title-image_tcm7-188622Let me start off with I am not a parent; however I have great respect for those that take on the endeavor–it is an experience unlike any other. Often times requiring a balance of unconditional and conditional love, it is an intense task to be a parent and it can hold both great rewards and challenges.

The depth of my respect continues to grow as I watch and am close to those carrying their first child, bringing up a toddler, going through rough times with teens or young adults and often being 100% responsible for their grown up kids, men and women in their 50’s and 60’s depending solely on a parent or parents to survive.  In my mind, parenting doesn’t stop when a child reaches the age of 18. All people mature differently; I have met a 30 year old that seemed like a 17 year old and vice versa. Every day, every moment, every second a new baby is being born somewhere and parents must realize they are the ones shaping these babies and teaching them how to inhabit the earth. Every living thing creates synergy, energy, motion at any given moment, and influences the world we all live in. We, adults and children, are all responsible, accountable for what happens on this earth.

I heard a scene from a screen play last night, The Violent Men (1955), a Western. A character says, “Men will always find reasons to avoid peace.”  I found this statement profound and wonder how much more relevant this statement is in these times of strife, anarchy, disrespect, violence, and random senseless brutality. Of course we have those standing up for love, union, equality and homemade cookies, too. What kind of a parent are you?


Whether or not you have children, we all seek answers to the question: why is this happening?  Today Hilary Clinton released WHAT HAPPENED. Looks fascinating. She addresses many things including her debate with Trump; how he acted in a menacing way during the debates and how she allowed it. She asks her own questions and gives the answers to some of ours.


As I ran through the script of my show THE PASS yesterday, I heard a recurring theme and it is… What just happened? I ask you, if you are reading this blog, what is happening, in your own words…please share.


chants-field-mirror-4-by-alex-baker-photographyFor several decades now, since the highly individualistic 60’s, people seem to have gravitated more to group dynamics than to self-expression. Until recently that is. With the election of Trump, and with corporate politics being constantly questioned, people are again realizing the value of forming their own opinions, instead of having their ideas dictated to them via peer pressure.

Too often we put ourselves into boxes and then stick labels on them, so we are stuck with whatever judgment or perceptions these labels have generated.  In time we may need to get out! Staying fluid, we may come off as wishy-washy. Is there a way to keep your opinions fluid and on a personal level? Leaving the generalizations and stereo types aside and hence allowing more diversity in our lives.

My show, THE PASS, is very much an individual journey. I have always seen the value of following my own path – listening to my own voice even when there were others doing everything they could to convince me otherwise – was often a challenge especially when I first got started. I titled my first CD SELF and the front panel (a sticker made from Mylar on which we printed only the word SELF and inserted into the package; we went to great lengths to find these!) acts as a mirror when people pick it up.  Self-awareness when you pick up my music was the intention.

SELF Denise Marsa

Be an individual, stand out from the crowd and listen to your own voice. That way you’ll always be sure to be heard.