Features

Maribelle is the quadruple-threat about to rule dance music

In our new series Spotlight, triple j Unearthed’s DAVE RUBY HOWE is profiling the local electronic artists you need to know. First up is Melbourne multi-threat Maribelle.

“It’s always fun and unusual working through email,” Melbourne’s Maribelle says wryly about the hit-and-miss affair that is collaborating over the internet. “I usually send half a song as an idea, and if the producer likes the direction I’ve taken it, I’ll finish it up.”

The 20-year-old multi-threat – singer, songwriter, producer and music mogul in the making (we’ll get to that later, don’t worry) – already has a wealth of experience bouncing ideas into producers’ inboxes, having lent vocals to the likes of Carmada, Ganz and Djemba Djemba in the last year or so.

The success of those tracks will likely see her called up for studio sessions on the other side of the world, but for now Maribelle’s gathering a crew of talented IRL collaborators back in Melbourne, including Styalz Fuego (The Aston Shuffle, Slumberjack), Nic Martin (Illy, Seth Sentry) and M-Phazes (Eminem, Daniel Johns’ solo stuff). Together, they work on songs out of the home studio Maribelle built herself.

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“There’s definitely something very cool going on in Australia right now, especially the electronic scene. Sometimes it can feel a bit cliquey though and I question if I’m even cool enough to be working with certain people,” Maribelle admits. “But it all happens through word of mouth, if someone hears you’re good, they’ll hit you up to work and so on.”

Sounds like a snap, right? Maribelle explains that her first steps into the business felt “misunderstood” and that breaking through was a “slow process”.

“I wanted to release some fun things with my friends without the typical ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality”

“I wanted to release some fun things with my friends without the typical ‘what’s in it for me?” or “is it a hit though?” mentality that comes with working with other labels. I started to find myself and my peers trapped in that situation constantly,” Maribelle reveals.

Her response? Found her very own record label, called Crush Club, and publishing company Defs Not. “I created Crush Club to take action and be assertive about my music. Hopefully I can show everybody what Crush Club is capable of,” she says.

“Defs Not is almost two years in the making, and has consisted of a lot of trial and error with me mentoring a few writers here and there. I love connecting great people who I think would work well together with the outcome of making quality records. Sometimes the business side of things can totally block your flow of creativity, so that’s where I step in for the other writers wherever they feel comfortable. As a writer myself, there’s nothing worse than somebody who doesn’t make music, telling you how to make your music.”

While Maribelle wears the boss cufflinks and gets shit done with her dual businesses, she’s not letting her solo output slip – 2016 will be the year she releases her debut EP featuring production from Djemba Djemba and LA’s Penthouse Penthouse.

“’I’ve written on all of the songs and recorded them all at my own studio so it’s been a very hands on project. I hope people enjoy it as much as I did making it,” she says before adding she’s desperate to “get it out before I cry!” We’ll be waiting.

Dave Ruby Howe is the Music Director at triple j Unearthed. You can find him on Twitter.