BIMA (Big Island Music Award) for “Rock Album of the Year” 2013
“I am obviously honored to be nominated for a NA HOKU HANO HANO AWARD for ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR"
Stef Muzic is simply mesmerizing with her acoustic guitar and smoldering soulful voice, a pure artist guaranteed to captivate the crowd– no smoke and mirrors necessary.
The legacy of a musical lineage, including musician—and strong influence—mother, Carolyn Haley-Murray; Stef (Muzic) Mariani was born into a music-filled ambiance,
embracing a connection and absolute love for music and musical expression at a young age. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Stef made her way to Hawaii with her California based feel and “ocean living” vibes. After residing in the south of Maui for ten years, the acoustic folk/rock artist established herself here in Oahu.
Stef ’s debut album This Wave was released December 1st under Paniolo Records with which she won the BIMA (Big Island Music Award) for “Rock Album of the Year” 2013. She is a current nominee for the much. Stef is a professional singer, songwriter, and overall performer. Inspired by anticipated 36th Annual Na Hoku legendary voices like Natalie Hano Hano Best Rock Album
Merchant, and Joni Mitchell; Mariani sings with her soul— each time delivering a declaration of the heart through her expansive vocal range and profound, pitch perfected control.
The combination of her instrumental use and ability to naturally belt those high air-like tones are enough to reel in the ears of any music enthusiast or appreciator. Not only are Stef ’s songs pleasing to the ear with their easy-listening tabs and addictive sounds; they are lyrically deep and sentimentally relatable. Her recently dropped debut album This Wave collectively expresses the idea that there is an ultimate “liberation” bound to follow the many hardships that life throws our way. Those who enjoy The Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, Tracy Chapman, Grace Slick, and Joni Mitchell will instantly fall in love with her muzic.
By Gary Chun
If her songs are any proof, Stef Mariani wears her heart on her sleeve.
The longtime Hawaii resident’s latest album, “This Wave,” uses the surfing metaphor of being held underwater for what seems an interminable period of time.
“That’s what life felt like to me when I was writing the album’s songs,” she said. “It was the culmination of events after a breakup two years earlier. But even though the force of the water is keeping you down, you know the wave will spit you out and eventually let you go.”
Working with co-producer/engineer Shaun Livingston Moseley at Soul Sound Studios in Kaneohe, “This Wave” won rock album of the year at the 2013 Big Island Music Awards. (It’s on the Hawaii island-based label Paniolo Records.)
Mariani hopes to go 2-for-2 as a Na Hoku Hanohano Awards nominee in the same category.
COMING FROM “a big family of musicians and artists,” Mariani was born and grew up in Santa Cruz, Calif., and cites her singer-songwriter mother as a big influence. As a performer, she uses the stage name Stef Muzic.
She has a distinctive singing voice — alto with occasional vibrato that might remind listeners of Grace Slick, and with emotional heft. In performance she sometimes has a catch in her voice when phrasing a lyric.
“It’s how I sing,” Mariani said. “When I write the lyrics and compose the music, there’s usually something going on in my life that is affecting me deeply.
“That inflection that you hear in my voice is how I feel. I know I’m asked, ‘Who do you sound like?’ and I honestly can’t say who. I guess that’s good for originality.”
Her sound is not, in her word, “islandy,” although there is that vibe in the sound of Bill Griffin’s “mando-lele,” combining mandolin and ukulele, on the album.
“I think my music transcends genres,” Mariani said. “I’ve been here in Hawaii for 12 years — 10 on Maui and two years and counting here on Oahu. I think I write and sing like my mother. Since she didn’t pursue a career in music, I’m doing what she didn’t do. We’ve talked about it, the opportunities she couldn’t take advantage of, what with her having children and all.”
“THIS WAVE” is stark in its arrangements. Besides Mariani on guitar and the veteran Piranha Brothers as rhythmic backup, other guests include Moseley on piano (playing on the soul-baring “You Don’t Own Me”) and Mano Kane’s Chris Chorney on cello on “Ode to Tyson,” a remembrance of a beloved pet.
In “Crossed My Mind” she sings about regaining her emotional bearings.
“That’s one of the first songs I ever wrote,” she responded. “It’s a really gut(-level), heartfelt song.
“The subject matter of ‘This Wave’ is definitely serious. But there’s always hope. I notice there’s this tension-release in my writing, where even though this drama may happen, something good will come of it. … We all go through the same emotions, but I try to be a good person, mindful and conscientious.”
“This Wave” is available through Reverbnation and CD Baby.
Mariani said things should lighten up on her next recording project.
“I’ve written four new songs, and I’ll start recording an EP next month for a planned release in early summer,” she said. “It’ll be unplugged, just me and my guitar, with maybe some percussion.”