Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at email@example.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been writing/performing?
Mariah Belgrod: If you ask my family, I have always had the eye on the spotlight and been a performer at heart. I used to stand on the landing of my grandmother's stairs and steal her fancy hats to perform weekly cabarets for everyone. That being said, I have been performing since the age of 7, where I found my passion for the stage at the Fulton Theatre in my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I found a community of people that I wanted to grow up to be like so quickly, and it became a home away from home. I did numerous musical theatre performances over the years, but I found my passion and niche for being a pop artist when I was 18 when I downloaded a singing app, Smule. This is also when I dove into the scary yet rewarding world of songwriting and expressing my feelings on paper. I feel extremely lucky to have found my passion and place in the world at such a young age and to have been given the opportunity to continue to do it!
Tell us about your artistic process and the different stages that work into it.
My artistic process is very free-flowing and spontaneous, which is ironic because my mind is very planner-oriented. I usually think of music when I am doing other things — showering, cooking, and yes, even sleeping (those voice notes will never see the light of day). I usually start with a little ditty from one of those moments and see what feels right with it. I could never view music as a logical act (i.e. y + x = z) because there is no logical way to do it. It really is all about feeling what is natural and raw and getting that down. For sure, there are moments of editing and self-doubt along the way, it takes a lot to share yourself with other people and be vulnerable, but that makes for a more real product in the end!
Where does your inspiration come from? What other musical artists inspire you?
I am an empath. I feel so many emotions, both my own and other people. For so long, I wasn't sure what to do with all of these feelings until I discovered songwriting. My inspiration comes from my emotions, my wanderlust, my itch for storytelling. Getting words on paper to make people connect and relate to me and the world inside my head. The other musical artists that inspire me are Maisie Peters, Charlotte Lawrence, Fletcher and Astrid S. If you haven't heard of them yet, I suggest you get them on your playlist pronto!
What kind of genre is your music? What kinds of things do you write about?
My genre of music is empowering pop. I like to write music that will leave my listeners feeling empowered and ready to tackle the day. Being from such a small town, I was raised to be really community-driven, and I strive to foster and love my community of Lil Ryders! With all the Seattle clouds and rain, it has been fun to dream of warmer days and summer romances, so that topic has been coming up a ton in my writing. More recently, amidst COVID, I have found myself writing more moody music. I am someone who manages anxiety and depression, so having music as an outlet has been really helpful in guiding those emotions.
Do you have one song that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
My newest single, "Team Player," is extremely special to me. This is the first song I got to be super involved in every aspect of. From the writing to production, to mixing and mastering, to release. I was grateful to be able to record it and have the production done with Creation House Records, with some long-time and talented friends pulling the strings to my vision. I was also able to share it on a music platform that helped inspire my desire to be a pop artist, Smule. On the app, I have been able to have hundreds of people sing my own song with me and make it their own. The creativity is endless. I released the track completely independently too, which made its success that much more rewarding. It was my vision through and through, and I feel so fulfilled knowing that.
What experiences in your life have shaped your music/art?
I touched on it earlier, but my anxiety and depression continue to shape my music. A big experience that shapes my music is how I packed my bags, dropped out of college, and moved 3,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Washington. This came with a lot of excitement, fear, and loneliness, and a ton of music has come from this experience. I have had to push myself out of my usual comfort zone and have met a lot of people along my journey too. I have fallen in love and had falling outs. One of the things about being friends or in a relationship with a musician - you've probably had a song written about you, for better or for worse!
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
You can find my work anywhere you listen to music. Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, etc. — if you look under Mariah Belgrod, you can find my discography! I hope you take a listen and feel in a better mood about tackling your day. You can also keep up with my musical shenanigans under my Instagram account, @MariahBelgrod. I post various music covers and requests, yummy food pics and you can see my teddy bear of a puppy, Addie!
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
What's next for me is continued growth. I am being a sponge and soaking up every piece of wisdom another music lover like myself can offer. I am also trying to be supportive of other artists, especially now. So much of the industry has been based around competition and numbers, and I would love for everyone to make it about growth and support together! With my own music, I am constantly writing and feel I am ready to release a body of work to leave my mark on the world. I am in the starting stages for that and trying to find a producer I feel will be a perfect fit to make my vision and sound come to life. In the meantime, I have a few singles in the works that I am excited for the world to hear.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I am not a huge coffee drinker (much more of a hot chocolate kinda gal), but when I do get it, it's definitely an iced french vanilla latte!