One of Australia's most exciting new pop artists Jake Marra has announced his magnetic debut single The Day That You Left, a hard-hitting track that details the wave of emotions that follows a significant loss, and how it feels to be drowning in the swell.
The Day That You Left will be everything and more for fans of Charli XCX, Troye Sivan and Dua Lipa - heartfelt, sincere lyricism paired with an irresistible beat and killer, sharp production. The sentiment behind the track is intensely relatable; most will identify with the feeling of being fixated on everything said and done by someone just before they leave you for good. Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, Jake explains, "The Day That You Left is the product of all the failed relationships I've experienced in my life. It focuses on the denial that floods in when somebody is no longer in your life and the harsh wave of emotions that comes with it. Whether it be a falling out with a friend, a break-up, or a death, most of us have experienced the feelings that come with losing somebody and I wanted to channel that into a dark, pulsating synth-pop track (produced and co-written by the brilliant Ben Oldand) that you can still bop along to while simultaneously crying your eyes out."
It's definitely fair to say Jake Marra has absolutely nailed the 'dancing while crying your eyes out' aesthetic championed by Robyn's iconic Dancing On My Own, and all within his very first single. It's really no surprise though – Jake has been musical for many years, and even has a viral hit under his belt, as he says, "I've been musical my entire life, which is the answer that everyone gives, but the difference is that I had no idea I was any good at it. It was something I did in secret when nobody was around to hear it and eventually, I started to realise I had something to offer. I started two YouTube channels, one for singing covers, and one for mashups I produced. In 2015, my mashup of Ariana Grande's One Last Time and Justin Bieber's What Do You Mean? went viral. There were articles about the mashup on Teen Vogue, Billboard and MTV, and Ariana Grande herself even said in an interview that she was 'obsessed with it' and that 'whoever did it is a genius!' Since then, I've been performing at various venues/festivals with Sunshine and Disco Faith Choir, as a backing vocalist for Melbourne R&B singer/songwriter, JAYDEAN, as well as working on original music."
Question: How would you describe your music?
Jake Marra: Hard-hitting, synth-driven pop that makes you want to move upon first listen, but then makes you go "Oh, shit, he's a mess, but I can relate" when you listen closer.
Question: Can you tell us about The Day That You Left?
Jake Marra: "The Day That You Left" was a happy accident. I was in the studio with Ben Oldland trying to breathe new life into an old track which I wasn't happy with. I wasn't really feeling it anymore, so we stopped and started from scratch. He started this bass line that immediately made me feel some type of way. Then he threw a lyric idea at me and it was game over. I took his idea and out poured a bunch of depressingly honest lyrics and a bunch of catchy melodies.
Question: What inspired The Day That You Left?
Jake Marra: I didn't really know where I was going when we first started writing it. I came up with the line "Sometimes I pretend you're still here even though I know you're gone" and that's when the theme presented itself. Loss. I've experienced loss in many different ways throughout the years. Friendships falling apart. Love interests walking away. This song captures the denial that comes after loss. Not being able to move forward, pretending it didn't happen, replaying old conversations over and over in your head. It's something most of us can relate to, as much as we wish we couldn't.
Question: How does it feel to be compared to Charli XCX, Troye Sivan and Dua Lipa?
Jake Marra: It's such an honour! Over the last five years, these three artists have made multiple appearances in my Spotify library. They're such huge forces in pop music and I have so much respect for them as artists. The fact that people are already comparing me to some of the biggest hitters in Pop music is such a rewarding feeling. I'm no stranger to self-doubt and sometimes I question whether or not I should be pursuing music. Comparisons like that put me back on track.
Question: Is there a particular message you hope listeners take from your music?
Jake Marra: I just want people to feel like they're not alone. Whatever you're going through, I've probably been through it, too. I'm flawed, I'm damaged, I've been through some awful things in my life. Let's get through together and let's have a boogie while we do it!
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Jake Marra: I'm such a perfectionist and recording is definitely more forgiving in that regard. I can make as many mistakes as I like and nobody can hear them. That being said, the adrenaline that I feel when performing live is unlike anything I've ever felt and I could never trade that in. Sure, I have days where my voice doesn't do exactly what I want it to, but being up on stage makes me feel so powerful. Like I can do anything I put my mind to. I don't know what it is.
If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Jake Marra: The legendary Miss Britney Spears. I know, I've truly outgayed myself, but Britney's "Oops… I Did It Again" album is the reason I fell in love with pop music. I'm not even ashamed to say that.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Jake Marra: Great melodies. When you listen to a song for the first time, the thing you usually remember first is a melodic line. It follows you around. It gets stuck in your head. That's the biggest motivation for me when I write. My intention is to construct melodies so good that you can't help but listen to it again.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Jake Marra: I've been listening to ABBA on repeat lately. I can't stop, nor do I want to. They're honestly one of the greatest groups of all time.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Jake Marra: Music has always been such a big part of my life, but I wouldn't let myself entertain the idea of it being my career. Not because I didn't want to, but because I had people telling me I couldn't. If I had a dollar for every time someone said "music is just a hobby", I could've retired yesterday. One day, I woke up and said "f**k it, I'm doing it", and I did it!
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Jake Marra: I would love to do something with Ariana Grande. She's incredible. In 2015, I made a mashup of "One Last Time" and Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean?" which went viral and Ariana heard it. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, they discussed the mashup and she said she was "obsessed with it!" and that "whoever did it is a genius!". Not a bad start right?! I'm gonna put it out into the universe. Ariana, if you're out there, hello, it's me, genius mashup boy. Let's make a bop!
Question: What's a typical day like?
Jake Marra: Probably not the glamorous answer you're expecting, but a typical day for me consists of a 9am-7pm shift at the office. Being an independent artist means I have to fund everything on my own, which would be impossible without a steady income. The goal would be to transition into music full-time, but for now, she's hustling.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Jake Marra: Meeting and collaborating with other musicians is probably my favourite thing about it. Seeing the way other people approach songwriting is so interesting and so helpful. You can learn so much in such a short time when you work with other people. Bouncing ideas back and forth and being able to enjoy the creative process with another person is so much fun. It definitely beats doing it alone!
Question: What's next, for you?
Jake Marra: I'm still in the very early stages of my solo musical journey. I definitely want to release another song or two by the end of this year. Other than that, you can catch me providing delicious backing vocals for Melbourne R&B singer/songwriter JAYDEAN, or at various venues/events alongside Sunshine & Disco Faith Choir.
Question: Can you share your socials?
Jake Marra: @jakemarra18
Interview by Brooke Hunter