By Emily May
Singer, songwriter and captivating performer Mardoll is on a quest to use her international background to build bridges between cultures. Born in Austria and raised in Hungary, she was exposed from a young age to a large international community which, along with dance, allowed her to explore different sounds and styles of music that she can now incorporate into her style. Having traveled extensively throughout her life, she has learned to embrace people outside of the mainstream and has made it her mission to fight for their rights. With a blend of pop, hip-hop and rap, she released her first single, “Fire and Fuel” in 2017, followed by her Wild Child EP that same year and three stand-alone singles in 2018. Her songs take a brutally honest look at real-life stories about pain, love, joy, loss, longing, strength and self-discovery. Her live performances showcase her talents as a dancer and the personas she adopts for the stage of raunchy and raw to vulnerable and introspective. Her controversial latest single, “God”, was recently released to mixed reviews, which she says doesn’t surprise her given the controversial topic. With plans to work on new material and test new sounds, she will be opening for Nicki Minaj’s Budapest show this year and will be playing many shows between there and New York. Staff writer Emily May spoke with Mardoll recently by email and discussed her latest single, developing her musical style, You can follow Mardoll and stay up-to-date with all upcoming music and tour dates via the following links. Check out the lyric video for “God” below.
iTunes/Apple Music- https://itunes.apple.
You recently released your single “God” about people turning a blind eye to the troubles plaguing the church. What kind of response has the song received? When you were growing up, your mother allowed you to decide what religion you wanted to follow. What role did religion play in your life growing up, as well as currently?
The reaction has been mixed, but that is to be expected from a song that covers such a hot button topic as God. It wasn’t so much religion that played a role as much as it was my question of their lessons that had a profound impact on me. Maybe it’s my rebellious nature but even as a little girl, I never understood why so many people were willing to take these stories/lessons at face value. The picking and choosing of each line, how some are overlooked and some are emphasized, it led me to ask why? I mean, if it’s all God’s word, shouldn’t each verse, each line, have the same weight? I realized rather early in life that those who were stuck arguing over “which God’s right and who’s God ain’t” were missing the entire point of religion. In my opinion, religion isn’t supposed to be about being right, it’s supposed to teach us tolerance and acceptance. And telling someone they will burn for eternity for loving who they love isn’t godly.
Your live performances are said to be captivating and high energy and showcase your talent as as a dancer. Have you always had an interest in dancing, in addition to singing? What goes into planning your live shows? What do you love the most about being onstage and performing for others?
Dancing is actually where my journey began. I was in tap shoes before I could form a coherent sentence and grew up taking dance classes and performing in musicals both in and out of school. I dance competitively in my early teen years but had to retire at 14 due to a hip injury. So while my competition days were behind me, I still danced in showcases and musicals. I never lost a passion for it, and I think that shows when I hit the stage! Planning a whole 45 minute set can be daunting but I’m lucky to have an amazing team around me to help out! My beautiful and extremely talented head choreographer and dancer Nicolette Pappas is always by my side and gives me the feedback I need to hear! She has such an eye for the stage and always comes up with fun and high energy choreography. Sunny Ramirez also a beautiful and extremely talented dancer! Together, the three of us practice for a week or two before any big show. We all have a relationship and a real bond to each other outside of performing that is highlighted on stage. We’re family and that love is something that can’t be faked. The thing I love the most about performing is being able to feel the energy of the crowd and being able to feel them vibe with the music I’ve made. It’s like, you work so hard to make something you think is good and having a room full of strangers share that is pretty incredible. I also love getting into character and getting to be Mardoll. She get’s away with doing stuff that Catherine couldn’t.
You have said that the relationship we have with ourself is the most important. How has your relationship with yourself evolved over the years?
It’s been a journey! My relationship with myself is the constant evolving one that has lots of ups and lots of downs! As anyone, I have my share of insecurities! A whole bunch! But I’ve gotten past the point of understanding that no matter how much I might feel down about myself, the sun will rise again tomorrow. I struggle with my weight, constantly, and in my teens, I was in a really dark place. I engaged in harmful behavior because I thought I wasn’t skinny enough or pretty enough and in my young mind, that translated to me not being enough. It’s been a hard journey, but my music really helped me unpackage those issues and forced me to re-evaluate the type of person I want to be. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired! I find being open and honest with other people about my struggles really got me to realize that I’m not alone and that everyone has something they wish they can change. The journey continues and for me, embracing my flaws and changing those bad behaviors, that made a world of a difference.
You were born in Austria and grew up in Hungary and were raised within a large international community. How do you feel that your exposure to so many cultures and sense of adventure shaped you as a person and as a musician? What kinds of music were you exposed to as a child?
Growing up, I was exposed to a wide range of music via dance as well as through the international community. I think having such an abundance of genres really let me explore different sounds and styles that now, as an artist, I can incorporate into my songs.
I read that your Grandmother was a ballerina and showgirl in her youth and would let you play in her old costumes. How do you feel she influenced your performance style?
My grandmother was one of the biggest influences on my art. Seeing old photographs of her in these amazing over the top costumes and hearing all the cool stories behind it infatuated my young mind. I loved the “dress up and setting the stage ablaze” as a career choice. She told me that a lot of people want it, but only a lucky few ever do. Having her push me to apply myself with discipline changed everything for me. She told me to never hold back on stage and give it my all. To this day, I give all that I can when I hit the stage.
Your songs blend pop, hip-hop and rap. How did you develop your musical style? Who were your musical influences growing up and who are you listening to currently?
Being exposed to so many different types of music helped formulate my style. As I transitioned my dancing to more hip-hop and less tap, my music taste expanded as well. I was exposed to classical music through my mother and her pianos skills. On top of that, the big music festival culture in Hungary also exposed me to a wide range of artists that mainstream radio hadn’t picked up on yet. While developing my style, I was going through a really rough patch in my life. I had just moved to New York and was really struggling to get my grip. I was 17 years old, very far away from any family and in a totally new environment. Writing poetry and music really helped me to feel better about everything. It wasn’t till I spent a couple of months in New York that the poetry and music writing blended into the pop-rap style that I still have now. I loved Britney Spears growing up! I remember seeing her and being absolutely transfixed with her whole vibe. I used to dance on the coffee table to her songs and pretend I was on a stage like Britney. Nicki Minaj is my absolute Idol and her influence on me and my music has been tremendous. Everything from her flows to the way she really emphasizes the importance of writing your own rhymes. She is the Queen of rap!
You moved to New York in recent years to further pursue your music on a world stage. How do you feel that living in NY has influenced you? What do you love about the scene there? What do you like to do for fun in the city when you aren’t working?
Well, I moved to go to college but, yes, also to pursue my dreams. I was actually studying acting at Pace University when music went from being a hobby to something serious. My style and the way in which I chose to write defiantly became more refined when I moved to New York. My slang game improved so that helped me a lot with writing as well. I also ended up living with one of my friends who’s father DJ’s at a NYC Radio station, so naturally we would end up listening to a lot of music in the flat. Her showing me different artists and styles really refined my taste. I didn’t hear The Weeknd till she showed me and now he’s one of my favorite artists! I find New York City tremendously rich in culture and inspiring. It’s the place where everyone goes to follow their dreams and the place where no one is too crazy or different! It was definitely hard at first. However, once I warmed up to the city and the city kind of broke me in like a new pair of shoes, I was in love! I can’t imagine living anywhere else at this point. From the community of artist and friends I have around, to constant hustle and bustle of the city, it’s my home! In my free time, I get up to lots of things! I love taking different dance classes in the city and seeing shows with my friends. But as for more of my evening activities, you’ll have to listen to my knew song Degenerates 😉
Your goal is to try to open people’s eyes to what is going on around them through your music. Do you feel that you are accomplishing that goal?
Being in the international setting and traveling the world as a child, I learned early that sometimes what we hold to be truth or the right thing is not the truth or path for someone else growing up in a different culture. I encourage people to always challenge what doesn’t feel right and never take anything for granted. I want people to be open to listen to others and to realize that we make many diverse choices and to accept the world as a diverse and colorful. Our journey should be with an open mind and heart and should focus on what unites us and not what separates us. I want to be the voice of constant questioning and challenging, the voice of self examination and ability to change and grow.
You released your 5-song EP Wild Child in 2017! What can you tell we about the writing process and inspiration behind the songs? You also released three singles “You’re Supposed To Be Different”, “Fame” and “Wake Up” last yer. What led to to release those songs as 3 separate singles rather then include them on the album?
My old EP Wild Child was really my first experience putting something like that together. While I don’t think those song necessary represent me now, I still love each and every one of those songs. Since then I’ve shifted gears stylistically and really worked on my writing and flow. While all those songs are still my little musical babies, I’m more for looking forward as to what my new music will be!
What can you tell me about your love for fashion and how you developed your fashion style? Do you have any favorite designers?
I have two looks! I’m either really laid back, running around in workout clothes from dance class to studio, or I’m glammed for the Gods! On stage I love the drama and glamour but I also am super comfortable with a clean face with no makeup. I work out hard for my body and understand that power and beauty of the female form. I’m not shy and have no problem flaunting what mama gave me! I think fashion is a great way to show who ya are and what you are about. And I like to be a rebel and be provocative sometimes. Sexuality is an important part of my being and I love being a woman and celebrating my femininity through my fashion.
What’s next for you? What are your goals for 2019?
I’m back in the studio working on some new material, testing some new sounds and playing with different flows. I’m also very excited to announce I’m going to be one of the opening acts for the Nicki Minaj Queen Tour in Budapest, Hungary. I’ll also be performing in multiple venus in both New York City and Budapest. For 2019, I’m hoping that one of my new songs will make Billboard. An ambitious goal I know but gotta Aim High! But beyond specific goals, I want to be able to experiment and try out different things. I want to perform more and more and develop a strong relationship with my fans whom I am tremendously thankful for. I hope to continue to grow and learn, to be an example to those similar to me and to be honest about my journey and struggles. I also want my international background to be able to build bridges between cultures.