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Daily Inspiration: Meet Marta Palombo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marta Palombo.

Hi Marta, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Of course! The first time I consciously remember falling in love with singing is 4th grade. My elementary school had the option to join the choir, and the minute I opened my mouth to sing, I knew this was something I needed to do my whole life. I didn’t realize at the time that it would be a career. I just knew I would never be able to live without it! From that day on, I was a die-hard choir kid. During high school, I dove in head-first and led my school’s a cappella group, ran practices when my teacher was gone, and lived in the choir room — I skipped a lot of classes (whoops) or took summer classes so I could spend more time in choir during the year.

My whole life, I had always heard melodies in my head and made-up songs, and I thought that was something everyone did! Writing for me was never really a hobby. It was a necessity. I can’t seem to process emotions unless I write about them, so it’s like having a tiny therapist in my brain that helps me understand what’s affecting me. It wasn’t until middle school that I realized that that’s exactly what artists do — write songs and perform them. I started studying what my favorite artists were doing, polishing my writing, and exploring choral composition. When it came time for college, I got into Belmont’s commercial music program and hit the ground running! I threw myself into the music scene in Nashville, going to writers’ rounds, open mics, and networking events constantly. I connected with friends who later became my band members, producers, dancers, graphic designers, and photographers — I could never have gotten to where I am without them. (A huge honorary mention must also go to my parents, who never even batted an eye when their toddler never grew out of the “I wanna be a singer!” phase and support me daily through everything. They’ve given me every opportunity!)

I graduated from Belmont a few years ago with a degree in Commercial Music and Composition. I’ve been lucky enough to work in my field as both my day job and my hobby — I teach voice and songwriting, I’ve sung with Josh Groban at the Bridgestone Arena, I compose string and vocal parts for my peers, I play  shows with my amazing band, and I release music from my soul. I have many projects that I am proud of and many that have yet to be released. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This may be the most obvious one, but Covid was not great! And in many ways, it still isn’t, and I want to acknowledge that. But for the most part, live music has found its way back, and I’m very grateful. 2020 was the year I released my EP “Him, Vol. 1” — an EP that I had spent years planning, dreaming, and re-branding for. I felt like it was the true beginning of my career as a “serious” artist, and I had taken my time creating something that I knew would launch my creati
vity and brand for years to come. I had booked so many shows I was genuinely excited about, and seeing them slowly fall to pieces one by one was crushing. I’m only now realizing how deeply the fear, confusion, and hopelessness ran during that period. Even though venues started opening again, I didn’t book another show until 2022 — I said it was because I was only looking to book events I was genuinely excited to play, and that’s still true… but after being on stage again for the first time in years, I can finally admit that a large part of me was afraid. I didn’t want to face more disappointment and chaos caused by something I couldn’t control. When someone doesn’t like your music or rejects you, it’s easy to brush it off — they don’t get it, so keep going till you find someone who does. But when the opportunities are there, and the demand is there, but a global pandemic sweeps the rug out from under you? That’s a much more complicated and messy recovery process for your heart and mind.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an artist, songwriter, and storyteller! I specialize in ethereal, introspective mus
ic that is best described as indie or folk-pop. My go-to line is, “if Joni Mitchell and Florence + The Machine had a 21st-century hippie daughter, it would be me!”

I have to say that one of the things I am most proud of is my determination to do what feels right. I value the effort and strategy I put into my business, but I don’t let the data drive my decisions as an artist. I don’t write short songs, I don’t write catchy pop tunes, and I don’t write about easy feelings. Life is messy, love is vast and complicated, and the journey of everyone’s life is constantly evolving. For me, music is how I have always processed my feelings — I often don’t know exactly what I’m feeling until I write about it or until I have a good cathartic cry listening to an old Taylor Swift song. That is what makes music essential to me, and it’s what I hope to do for others. I would be honored to write songs that you dance the night away to — but I am even more honored to write the songs you sit, ponder, process, cry, slow dance, and *feel* to. We spend so much of our days moving quickly from emotion to emotion, making things easy and streamlined for ourselves, and sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes you need to sit and allow yourself to feel whatever comes, even if it leads you deeper into confusion and gives you zero clarity. It’s all part of the process of being more in tune with our heart and soul, and that’s why I write music. It’s therapy for me, in all of its celebration, happiness, messiness, and revelation. So I can only hope it can be that for others too.

Can you talk to us about happiness and what makes you happy?
Oh boy, I love this question. Celebrating the small beautiful miracles in everyday life makes me happy. As an artist, I sometimes forget that I don’t have to post viral content, sing perfectly in tune, or fill every waking moment with something productive for my business and my brand. What makes me happy is taking a step back and grounding myself — realizing what a beautiful miracle it is to sing, make noise, make music, and screw whether it sounds good or not.

At my core, I love to dream, create, and romanticize everything. Seeing flowers, filling my home with bright colors, and slow mornings with my cat make me happy. Wearing clothes that express my desire to live boldly, taking back roads, collecting tea, reading Harry Potter for the 15th time, cooking, playing mediocre piano, learning some half-decent ukulele, teaching children and adults how to unwrap and unpack the beautiful gift of their voice, and taking every day to unwrap mine — all of those things make me happy. I firmly believe that a life well-lived is not a life of numeric success- that’s just a possible side effect. Emotional success is what we need to chase. I am also of the opinion that those who pursue fulfillment and stay true to their happiness often lead long, healthy, and thriving careers. It’s challenging to balance mentally, but I have become a much happier person and a much better artist and businesswoman since prioritizing my happiness over my “success.”

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Image Credits
Photographers: Alaina Broyles, Taylor Rose, Savannah Shaver, Bryan Collins, Jackson Campbell

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