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)

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.

My Own Barber Pole

As I continue to prepare for my one-woman show, THE PASS, in which I tell stories about my life & career, I have been thinking of my past successes. This has led me to ponder the nature of success in general. Some people experience success as one straight line like a rocket vaulting into the sky; for others it is winding, a fluid motion like the stripes of a barber pole that can lead them from top to bottom to top again. I feel this pattern is most apt in describing my own music career.

 My brother David and I recently found cassettes of my music from the 80’s and he wanted to transfer them to CD! We did at a studio in NJ – here’s CHEMISTRY- a very early song of mine.  The song resonates with the rousing vibrations of youth and an interest in a new love. 

Larga Vida el Paso – Meet Marta Sanchez

After months of searching, I am happy to say I have found a great pianist Marta Sanchez to help me launch my show THE PASS. Marta is from Madrid, Spain and is currently living in Brooklyn.  She has an impressive background with degrees in both classical and jazz composition. Marta has toured the US, Europe, South and Central America and, among her many accomplishments, she was awarded MacDowell Fellowship in 2017.

I’m particularly engaged by the energy and commitment she brings to my songs. Rhythm has always been a big part of my composing and I have felt that through the years my recordings have not always reflected that ingredient. I like what she brings to the music!

You can check out Marta’s website at: 


Stand Up 4 Multicultural Food & Music & Ariana Grande Goodwill Ambassador

Image result for ethnic food multicultural foodsI was enjoying my toasted bagel with butter and Marmite this morning and another post came to  mind. I wait for inspiration to hit before I write a new post. I learned about Marmite while living in London. I discovered many things while living there aside from the lovely savory salty spread including Kate Bush, my very favorite female singer songwriter. My thoughts today are, as we struggle with interiors of the legal system in our own country and outside territories and our relationships with them, I choose to rejoice with the sharing of cultures.

Imagine your life without Sushi from Japan, Chinese Fried Rice and Dumplings, German Knockwurst hot dogs and beer, Ukrainian Babka, Mexican Tamale, not to mention Guacamole (personal favorite) or Greek Spanakopita, French Crepes and Brie Cheese and Russia’s Beef Stroganoff, Borscht…on and on and on…Multi cultural cuisines we all enjoy and maybe even take for granted, outside of the USA’s Fried Chicken, Hamburgers & Hot Dogs.

Image result for beef stroganoff recipe
After all we made our own versions of many foods first created beyond our shining sea & shores. You do it your way, we will do it ours. There have been no arrests or protests or violence around our making a new kind of hot dog. Not to my knowledge.
Image result for borscht

And the music from Yo-Yo Ma (French, Chinese American), Mikis Theodoraki with his song Margarita.

Image result for live aidRemember LIVE AID FEED THE WORLD-musicians from all over the world coming together to Feed the World.  That might never happen today.

Will the bombing in Manchester create new fear among musicians for touring or playing large arenas? Or will there be the stand up and do it attitude, the you can’t stop us mind set, like Ms Grande and her team decided to do with a concert immediately following the disaster. Bravo. A brave artist in deed.

Image result for ariana grande

Let our food, music, religious, love preferences be what they will. As long as we are not hurting anyone with our preferences. 

Gender Confusion or Gender Fluidity

Gender specific labeling seems to be something young people are playing with or even not settling in with or committing to in the midst of all the non commitments we are seeing. Relationships, governments, incomes, cell phones, computers, software, safety – all changing moment to moment. Oh FAST TIMES AT EARTH HIGH.


Change is consistent and it seems to be creating a more obvious uncertainty for the future. Shall we crawl into a small space and hide or look and see what we can contribute? I read an article in the paper today, which prompted this post, about a teen girl in Long Island, NY who has changed her gender identity 3 times and wants to change again and the high school is now saying…no more. Can we be a fluid gender society?  Eventually when the teens of today inhabit the earth? Do we have to label ourselves anyway? Labels and branding is all around us…so brand yourself female or male or not. Or gender-less.

GH 2

There are many that love the gender they were born. How many of us question what would my life be like if I was born a…not often but have you asked yourself that question ever? It is a curious thing.

Here’s a tune I wrote in 2001. Seems relevant now. So I share…contributing to the thoughts around gender fluidity.