Marem Ladson is a New York-based Spanish artist with a promising future in music. Recently releasing her newest EP, Baby Light, Marem is making waves with her exceptional gift of lyricism. The EP features the singles "Idontcare" and "Rayo de Luna" which beautifully display her distinct folk-pop style, driven by raw emotions and the fusion of her bicultural heritage, resulting in a truly unique sound. These tracks intricately blend sorrow, frustration, longing, and optimism, revealing the brilliance that emerges within the ever-shifting spectrum of human emotions. At the heart of Marem Ladson's music lies a profound exploration of her multicultural identity, skillfully intertwining her distinctive approach to introspective songwriting with elements drawn from folk, pop, and traditional Spanish music. We spoke with Marem about her inspirations, Baby Light, and her captivating lyricism.
I want to start out by talking about your new EP, Baby Light. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the title and the overall theme of the EP?
Baby Light is five songs I wrote and recorded between Madrid and Barcelona before I moved to New York last year. I started writing these songs two years ago when I started going to therapy. It considerably changed my songwriting and how I understand my life and history. It helped me so much with writing from a more honest perspective. There were so many issues in my life that I had never dared to confront and deal with. Writing these songs for the EP was a therapeutic process for me. I decided to call it Baby Light because the songs are dark and written from a place of pain and resentment. At the core of it, I feel like there is a tiny baby light you can see and feel. That's what has driven me and what connects all the songs together. The feeling that there is a lot of hope and to overcome everything.
Your music is often described as deeply connected to your bicultural heritage. How does your Spanish background influence your songwriting and musical style?
My first language is Spanish, and I was born and raised in Spain. I used to listen to a lot of music in English. I also lived in the US when I was 15. I learned how to speak and be bilingual in both languages. Spanish is a huge part of who I am. Many Spanish musicians influenced my music, my songwriting, and my storytelling.
The folk-pop genre is known for its storytelling aspect, which is your direction. Can you share some of the narratives you explored in Baby Light and that, while you were writing, you had to put down on paper into a song?
I am a musician and a singer, but most of all, I am a songwriter. That's how I started making music before I played guitar or anything. I wrote random things as a kid, which turned into writing poems and songs. That’s the most crucial part for me and how the process begins. Sometimes, I'm just writing to tell something to myself or understand it. It's not necessarily something that I want to tell other people. So, most of these stories are very personal. “Rayo de Luna” is a song I wrote about being inspired by the moon. I'm not a religious person at all, but I am spiritual. I was thinking about life decisions and the aftermath of those decisions. The song just felt like talking and addressing the moon, talking to it, and asking it specific questions. It’s almost like you're asking them to yourself. The story behind “Rayo de Luna” is that the moon is something I think a lot about - how it's always there and is a source of certainty. It makes me feel safe to believe that the moon is always there.
You’ve described Baby Light as poetic. Do you have a specific poetry collection that you draw references from for inspiration?
I do not have a particularly favorite poetry collection; I draw the most inspiration for lyrics from other music. I just listen to other artists that I like. There could be a word or a specific way of saying the words that inspire me to write something different. Sometimes, the most simple things resonate with me, take me to a different space, and make me want to create something new from there.
Now that you're centralized in New York, do you find that your location significantly impacts the stories and themes of your music?
I'm still figuring out what being here means because I've only been here for a little over a year. It was difficult to come here because I lived in Madrid for six years. I'm originally from another town in Spain. It was the second time I had to move to a bigger city to pursue a music career. Moving to Madrid from Galicia was easy. I was close to home, and I had so many friends from Galicia who were also making music. I felt a part of a close-knit community of musicians in Madrid. It came to a point where I felt there wasn't a space or a scene for what I was trying to make and the type of sound I was approaching. I did want to grow and find a more extensive industry because the industry in Spain is limited. Moving here was challenging because I didn't know anybody when I arrived. I just started going to shows, and that inspired me the most, seeing other artists doing their thing with such confidence, which felt so genuine and inspiring. I had never seen so many shows. There's a more underground scene in New York, and it feels authentic; I’m very grateful to be experiencing it and being a part of it.
Can you tell us about upcoming projects or collaborations that fans can look forward to following Baby Light?
I'm finishing my next album, which hopefully will be out next year. I just worked on new songs with my frequent collaborators, Xoán and Manu, from the band Blanco Palamera. They live in Spain, and we worked and produced the songs there. That’s the main collaborative work that I've been doing. I'm currently focused on playing shows in October, and I just returned from a tour in July. The whole month of July, my first North American tour with Nick Hakim was opening. That was special. I played a show at Bowery Ballroom with Julia Byrne yesterday, so I am enjoying this new music.
Speaking of working with other artists, do you have a dream collaboration?
Honestly, I don't know. Linking an artist’s music doesn’t necessarily mean it would suit collaboration. In my case, I'm just very particular about working with other people because it’s tough for me to open up about my lyrics and my process and just find the right people to collaborate with. Sometimes, it's hard; It’s also such an introspective thing for me to write on my own. I would have to meet them as an artist and person and see if it would make sense. But there are so many, so many artists that I admire. Right now, I'm listening to a lot of new music that just came out, and I'm obsessed with Mitski's new album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We; it's so good. King Krule, Adrianne Lenker, Julia Jacklin, there are so many people that I admire.
You have upcoming shows in both Los Angeles on October 23rd and New York on the 27th. Are there any songs from Baby Light that you're incredibly excited to perform live, and what do you want your audience to feel during these songs?
I'm excited about these shows, mainly because this will be the first time I'll be playing with a band here because, so far, I've been playing solo shows. I'm just very excited to see how these songs work live with a band. Feeling the songs grow and performing them from a new perspective and place. I hope those who come to the shows connect with the songs, enjoy them, and have fun.