We had the huge pleasure of chatting with the incredibly passionate German artist, Mariele Jankowski. Telling us more about her new single due for release on the 3rd of March 2023, The Long Song Of Mary Green we find out more about the process of picking up something special which will change your life musically. Helping the world heal, we find a modern-day poet who just wants this planet to be a better place.
Hey Mariele. We appreciate you chatting with us today. How have you been coping with all the mayhem and where in the world are you as we speak?
Mariele Jankowski: Hello. Thanks so much for having me. At the moment I am in a hamlet, where I grew up, east of Cologne in the hobbit-shire-like hills of the “Bergische Land” in the west of Germany. It’s a stormy, slightly gloomy day today, which I love.
It’s been a very busy couple of weeks lately, having been on a mostly virtual promo tour for my debut single. But so far, it’s also been really rewarding, knowing that there are lots of people who anticipate wanting to hear what I’ve created during the last year. So I’d say it’s a positive-stress-experience.
Other than that it’s slightly daunting to see what’s going on in the world at the moment.. I find it hard to not be swept away by it all emotionally. I’ve spoken about this with a friend who’s also a musician and we both agreed that especially in these times it’s essential to do our job well as musicians and try to create emotional relief, comfort, hope or any other mental outlet for others through our work.
What do you feel is the best breakfast to start a day with?
Mariele Jankowski: It might seem boring, but I love a cup of black tea with oat milk and two toasts, one with marmite, the other one with marmalade, preferably homemade. And if I’m feeling fancy I might drink some orange juice and swap the tea for coffee.
Please tell us all about your debut release The Long Song Of Mary Green and what was the inspiration behind it.
Mariele Jankowski: “The Long Song Of Mary Green”, my debut single, which is coming out on 03/03/2023, is about the human nature of wanting to reach the end goal of eternal happiness, the one thing that’ll make everything perfect. But your problems won’t go away just because you move to a different city or a different country, so you have to continue your journey, keep moving and find your inner peace and happiness within the journey, not its destination.
I wrote it after I had met Cosmo Sheldrake for the first time after his first post-lockdown concert in Hampstead Heath, London, on a beautiful sunny day in 2021. It seems to have been very inspirational because afterwards, I couldn’t stop writing down words that floated through my head. On my way home I felt like a funnel, letting all the outer world filter into my brain: the window of a bookshop, a guy on a motorcycle who looked like Brad Pitt, the endless walking on the sidewalk and the inner voice to keep on walking. I nearly missed the entrance to Camden station and when I got home, the lyrics were basically finished.
How would you describe your music to a complete stranger?
Mariele Jankowski: My producer and friend, Andrew Chappell, says it’s 100% English Folk. I find that funny, having been born and bred in the countryside hills of western Germany. But looking back at my upbringing, we had very prominent local bands who sang in our regional, Ripuarian dialect, called “Kölsch” and all they did was tell everyday stories about every imaginable situation with traditional folk instruments. Many of their melodies also originated from Ireland and the UK. I think I picked up their sense of relying on storytelling as a form of communication, with a traditional form of “guy/girl-with-a-guitar” and the urge to be swept away sonically within a story. And due to my rural upbringing, and having lived in and with nature for most of my life, nature itself has an immense power behind all my songs as well.
When you close your eyes and recall picking up that instrument for the first time, what does it feel like?
Mariele Jankowski: I don’t know which instrument you mean, because I play several.. But generally, when I pick up the guitar, the banjo, the flute, or play the drums or the piano, I get this sort of tingling sensation in my fingers and my gut, if I feel something coming along that might be worthwhile. And when I learn a new instrument it’s like I want to be able to play everything all at once in a way that sounds like I want it to. I often have the sounds in my head before I can translate them onto my instruments, which can be amazing but rather frustrating if you’re restricted in your abilities, especially if I play it on a “new” instrument.
Do you think music with meaning has the power to heal all wounds?
Mariele Jankowski: I don’t know really… I do think that music (it doesn’t have to be meaningful) can provide temporary emotional relief, for the duration of a song and repeating that for as long as it helps to get over some pain. That in combination with time and a lot of self-care, mindfulness and a true and warm, slightly too-tight hug every now and then can heal a lot. But sometimes it’s better to just talk to people and maybe even professionals to continue on the road to recovery. Moreover, I do believe that music has the power to change people’s lives and even the world, as it has done in history so many times before.
Last, what are your goals for the rest of 2023?
Mariele Jankowski: I’m gonna release a string of singles and a following EP, and maybe start on my debut album after that. And I want to play as many gigs as I can both in the UK and in Germany because playing live and listening to live music for me is the truest way of connecting with people, which in the end, is what music is all about.
Hear her music on Spotify.
Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen