Erin 'Marisol' Corine is a Chicago native who has been living in Spain for the past three years. After studying and working in Valencia for two years, she’s currently pursing her music career and is based in Madrid. Learn more about this musician, fashionista and expat in our exclusive Meet La Morena interview below!
Rapid Fire: Top Three
What are your 3 most played songs on Spotify?
Oooh, those music questions are so difficult because I listen to music somewhere around ten hours every day! This month I’ve been on a funk/soul/gospel kick. My recent top three are:
Before I Let Go – Maze and Frankie Beverly
Chameleon – Herbie Hancock
One Thing – Marvin Sapp
What are 3 words that exemplify YOUR Spain experience?
Dream. Come. TRUE.
Tell us 3 places on your travel bucket list.
Italy – FOOD
Lisbon – FOOD
Cuba – FOOD, MUSIC, DANCE.
(My priorities are alright, aren’t they??)
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Quirky, Passionate and Creative!
How long have you lived in Spain and what brought you here?
I arrived to Spain in August 2012! I began as a graduate student in the inaugural Contemporary Studio Performance Master’s class at Berklee College of Music in Valencia! After a crazy year and a whole lot of friends, I began to discover so many musical passions that I hadn’t considered pursuing professionally. I felt in my heart that I had come too far to turn around and go home after graduation. I stayed as a true “starving musician” for a second year, collaborating with Afro-Latin and Flamenco musicians while beginning my own performance career with blues and gospel roots, classic soul. Later I began mounting fusion projects in popular and contemporary R&B/soul music from the 1960s to the present!
Tell us a bit about your musical style and influences.
My musical style? The craziest blend of crazy that you’ve probably ever seen in your life. I come from a Southern African-American tradition and being the oldest grandchild for most of my grandparents, I grew up surrounded by gospel, blues and jazz roots on the radio, in my grandparents’ living rooms, in my church and school choirs— everywhere! At age 12, however, I began to study classical flute, which formalized my way of musical thinking and provided me with the skills to read, write and teach music.
Of course, the plot twist has to come in somewhere. I’ve been a non-native Spanish speaker since age 14, which has led me to my passion for World Music and my specialization in Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Flamenco music! It’s a crazy mix of influences that I am working with but they are all a unique part of who I am, the arrangements I write, the collaborations that I’ve had the fortune of participating in and the incredible musicians that are a part of my new life!
Describe a day-in-the-life of an artist in Madrid.
Being a musician in Madrid is a crazy-fast lifestyle that I honestly would not have been ready for had I come right after finishing my Master’s degree! It’s a wild ride trying to balance personal projects with everything else, from jam sessions, last-minute calls to substitute for singers, contributing to a projects or filling a session either in the city or in another region. Mornings and afternoons are spent studying, evenings rehearsing and nights performing a gig or at a jam session. And then we repeat! And we never stop!
What has been your best trip in Spain so far, and why?
My best trip in Spain so far is tough because I’ve had so many! If I had to choose, I would say that my first solo journey to Sevilla, my first year, takes the cake. The day before taking a cante Flamenco lesson with a great friend of mine, I remember walking peacefully through the city center for a few hours, in and out of little boutique clothing stores and trinket stands... And then, coming upon a group of gypsies outside of a bar playing Flamenco.
Remembering that I already mentioned my passion for this music and culture and at that point having been studying it for just over a year, you can imagine how excited I was! One noticed that I was sort of silently participating with palmas while listening from across the street and called me over saying, “Olé!! La morena tiene COMPÁS!!!!” I nearly died!! Needless to say, I went over and it was an all-day adventure of learning new letras, adding my voice to theirs and just feeling so immersed in the culture for the first time since I arrived. I went back to Valencia feeling refreshed and inspired. I will never forget that weekend!
If one song had to play every time you entered a room or walked down the street, what would it be?
Hate to be cliché but at the moment, Uptown Funk. Hands down. I will Uptown Funk you UP, y’all... every time I walk into a room.
Have you got a #girlcrush? Spill.
I SO do and I’m not ashamed! Emily King, American singer-songwriter from New York. Her EP The Seven with her beautifully poetic lyrics, lilting melodies and choral composition will melt your heart. And break it. And piece it back together. And then melt it again. <3
Who or what inspires your sense of personal style?
Little-known fact: I worked in retail fashion for ten years, since my senior year in high school! I’ve had positions across six companies from sales associate to stylist, customer service specialist to assistant manager. Out of the many where I’ve worked, the only one that I return to work in when I am home in Chicago is an incredibly unique store called Anthropologie (a division of Urban Outfitters, Inc.)
I have never felt that my style could have been so well defined in one single retailer’s aesthetic until I found Anthropologie and its sister store, Free People! Flighty, feminine, eclectic, unique, colorful and classic at the same time, some of the greatest treasures of my closest, including the gorgeous floral maxi featured in my first professional photo shoot have come from Anthropologie and similar stores that I’ve found in recent years.
Do you have any quirky pre-performance rituals?
I really do and my band, whoever they may happen to be for that particular performance, laugh at me every time! Bananas are one of the most tried and true nervousness-killers out there, that jolt of sugar and potassium is everything! I have one before leaving the house, one after sound check and another right before hitting the stage. After that, it’s my whisky and lemon for the win!
What is the most worn item in your closet at the moment?
My favorite thrift/vintage find from Kauf Vintage in Valencia is a beautiful high-waist midi skirt with red, yellow, gray and green flowers all over it! I probably wear it once a week with not a shred of shame and it gets compliments both here and at home in the States! #goodfind
What’s your go-to mantra to fight the haters and have the best day possible?
I’m a particularly snarky person with a strong personality, something that has taken me years to grow into and learn to embrace. With this, comes the knowledge that people either love me a lot or the opposite, without much in between and I’m okay with that. I’m not for everyone! I love a lot and I love without conditions. It takes a lot to lose that from me. A strong policy of forgiveness and learning to empathize with others helps me to take negativity with a grain of salt. I’ve got too much to be thankful for in my life to let someone’s hateful attitude weigh down my soul!
Do you have any wise words for those considering taking the plunge into Spanish life?
My best advice: GET OUT AND IMMERSE YOURSELF! You will not learn the language, the culture and the customs by sitting at home with a group of people from your home country and doing the same things you did in your home city. Live with expatriates or immigrants from other parts of the world! Impart a “Spanish only” rule at dinnertime if you live in a bilingual household! Find the artists and musicians native to your city and go to their jam sessions and concerts! Travel the country (I’ve met some of my closest friends in BlaBlaCar)! There is so much to do and see and so many opportunities to stand out and make a great impression. Spanish people really appreciate immigrants and expats when we take the time to get to know their culture!
Interview by Danni Roseman. Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native who currently resides in Madrid, Spain. She's a lover of language, words, and travel and has managed to combine all her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flights deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES.