Marci Geller is an interesting, significant, mysteriously lesser-known talent in the music world. Geller has performed all over the world including California. In fact, Geller hopes to once again visit Los Angeles once her next album is in the can.
But just exactly who is Marci Geller? Marci (Anne) Geller is a New York-born singer-songwriter. Geller‘s music can be heard on numerous television networks including MTV, VH1, and A&E. Geller has recently taken a new direction with her music and while little is publically-shared about Geller’s past, her career can be traced back to the late 1980s.
It was in 1989 that a cute, darker Debbie Gibson-esque Geller released a 12-inch record titled “Shake You Up”. This freestyle early electronic dance piece was put out by Back Door Records. It contained 5 cuts. Each was a different mix of the title track “Shake You Up” which was co-written with backing vocalist Donna Bach.
Geller explains: ‘They had positioned me to be the ‘cooler, edgier Debbie Gibson.’ In all honesty, I was into Peter Gabriel and Genesis at the time and got talked into doing a dance single because it was an easier path for female singer/songwriters at the time. The dance single was doing well, and I’ve got to admit, it was a lot more exciting than I ever envisioned.”
“I went with the president of Backdoor to interview with a management company MTC, which was run by Barry Taylor and Alan Wolmark,” Geller adds. “I liked them both instantly and felt like they had a deeper sense of what I was going for as a musician. I’d watched my single go from being in the top of the dance charts to tanking after I was talked out of a deal with Atlantic Records.”
Geller continues: “I was told if I signed with Atlantic, they would want me to pop out dance singles for the rest of my career, and I would never be taken seriously as a musician. Subsequently when I heard from Barry at MTC, my single had fallen off the charts, and it was clear the end was near. He told me they really liked me but were short-handed because their assistant had just quit.”
Geller saw one door close and another one open. “I asked him if they would consider hiring me so I could learn about the industry. I would work for cheap and in exchange, they would manage me and teach me about the industry.”
“We came to an agreement, and I have to say, working with them was a really intense lesson in music industry 101. I met many people at the beginning of their careers and am to this day very thankful for the wisdom and insight they shared with me and to boot, I got to work in the Brill Building” Geller concludes.
The following year Geller would focus her energy on becoming co-owner of Sonic Underground. Sonic Underground is an independent music production company she founded with Gian DiMauro, John Tabacco & Paul Michael Barkan. The label itself came out of the recording studio of the same name which opened the same year.
Geller would continue to perform and even work with other artists. In 1992 she would provide the Kemelions with backing vocals on the album Basement Arrangements. Other highlights of the decade would include the release of her premiere EP Must Be The Moon in 1997. It included tunes such as the title track, “Must Be The Moon” and “We Carry On” which she would perform live on the Regis and Kathie Lee show.
1999 would be highlighted by the release of her twelve-song CD Here On The Edge. The album is a collection of pleasurable pop pieces. It opens with the attention-grabbing, mood swinging track “I’m So Angry”.
Critic’s Choice here is “Skin”. This is the second selection here. It’s an acoustic subtly sexed up song that one critic referred to as “a good substitute for a blow-up doll” Your randy writer, of course, would NOT know about that . . . nope. The song is effective not offensive.
“World Falls Down” follows here. It is a concise composition and leads into an encore presentation of the above-noted “We Carry On”. The next number is the tuneful titular track “Here On The Edge” where she explores inner doubts.
“Not That Girl Anymore” comes next. It is perhaps one of the better examples of tracks that involve a more personal perspective or female viewpoint. “Light On My Face” and “Make It Feel Better” are also fine examples of her talents in telling tales from a feminist viewpoint and/or an intimate emotional angle regardless of the specific subject.
“Look What You’ve Done” follows. This is another revelatory cut that lends truth to the title of the CD. The song is both passionate and immediate and Geller does indeed deliver up an album of on the edge offerings here.
She next sings “What’s Going On Here”. Interestingly, her audience can never be sure how she would answer her own question but it is obvious that she is sharing something personal on this disc. While some critics may claim that material such as “Falling Down” and the other tracks here may alienate a portion of the male population your rockin’ reviewer simply sees this as the result of Geller wanting to write songs with real content as opposed to dippy dance ditties.
“Say Goodbye” serves as the closing cut. It is an apt end to this work although her fans probably find this the saddest song as it does indeed end the album. Geller would not, however, rest on her laurels after this album. She would go on to work as the opening act and then an actual member of Ritchie Blackmore’s group Blackmore’s Night until 2000 where she would provide background vocals and contribute keyboards.
The new millennium would also find her still writing, too. In 2004 Geller would release the EP Naked. It would feature five fine cuts and would serve as a partial preview to her next full-length recording. Included here are the opening number “Me Versus The Pill” and the noteworthy rockin’ second selection “Suicide”.
She would continue to perform regularly as well. In 2007 Geller would lend her talents to John Tabacco’s Music Box Orphans with the song “Only in a Dream”. She would also work with Donna Bach-Heitner on Volume One with the tune “Snake in the Grass”.
The next year (2008) she would also contribute to Paul Michael Barkan’s import No Writing On The Signs Special Edition with the track “One Free Day . . .” More importantly, however, 2008 would be the year Geller would finally gather together music she had been working on for quite some time and release it all on a CD titled Box of Truth.
“Me Versus the Pill” opens the “box”. Here Geller sings about a blue pill the way George Harrison sang about a piece of candy in “Savoy Truffle”. This is a welcome encore from her earlier EP and a nice opener for the disc.
The second selection is “Suicide”. This too is a welcome rockin’ repeat from the above-mentioned EP. This one is the Critic’s Choice here. It’s an almost angry, killer cut albeit one seemingly about a somewhat sad subject. Geller, however, says “‘Suicide’ was written about a friend who quit being a musician” and was actually more “symbolic”.Regardless, it remains a great song no matter what a listener discovers in it.
This is followed by “Day I Disappeared”. “Day I Disappeared” is a blend of rock and folk. The music almost hides Geller’s somewhat serious secrets as she loses herself in some traumatic experience.
“Home” is the next number. Geller focuses here on those middle-of-the-night phone calls that are always forbearers of death and other bad news. “Home” sadly enough hits home to all of us.
The cut “Close Your Eyes” is next. It deals with some serious relationship issues and touches upon such things as betrayal, lack of forgiveness, drinking and attempting to comfort someone dealing with all of this. “OK (The la, la song)” follows. If The Beatles can make “yeah, yeah, yeah” work in a hit song and The Police can score with “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” then Geller can have her almost bombastic, happy “la la” song here.
“That’s Good” picks it up here. Geller seems to be celebrating love with this song. It’s a nice break before she dives back into the darkness with more music lyrically-laced with intrigue and secrets. Witness tracks such as “My Last Mistake”, “Secret She Keeps” and even the closing cut “Truth About Lies” as additional examples of this.
Geller confesses the songs “are all on the same topic. It’s no secret, I just don’t feel the need to exploit my past as some kind of medal of honor like some artists have chosen”. Her material certainly makes one wonder just how dramatic or traumatic much of her life has been or perhaps remains. Still, drama is what often makes a good song so the audience needn’t be too concerned.
2008 was also the year Geller helped to start the acoustic act Lucky 13. (This tuneful trio comprising Geller, Susan DeVita and Cathy Kreger, would only release a debut disc before going on hiatus in early 2011.) Geller, a member of SESAC, contributed to the 2008 release Sonic Underground Presents: Lucky 13. Her specific contributions included the “Me Versus The Pill” “My Last Mistake”, “OK (The la, la song)” and “Home”. All three artists appear on the track “Lucky 13”.
Geller’s other music-related accomplishments include being named one of the “Top 10 Best Singer/Songwriters” by Independent Songwriter Magazine and has had her music included in soundtracks on ABC, Discovery and FoodTV. Compared to such artists Sarah McLachlan and Laura Nyro, she has also worked with such performers as Dido drummer Alex Alexander, Vance Gilbert, James Maddock and more.
Geller tours internationally and is currently “finishing the next CD” due out sometime next year and adds “on September 30th I’m opening for Nenad Bach at the Towne Crier in Pawling New York.” She also hopes to hit California again next year: “It’s my goal with the next release to play L.A. in 2012 with my friend Jude Johnstone who lives in Central Coast, CA but plays in L.A. frequently.” Geller is certainly an artist with something to say and will no doubt be out there sharing her love of music for a long time to come.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.