We live in an era where just about anybody can become famous.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Millions across the land, thinking they’re the next Mariah Carey or Michael Bolton, cue up their iMovie and prove to the world, via YouTube, what everybody’s been telling them all along: “Keep your day job.”
But then there are the rare instances when a budding artist’s video goes Contagion-viral, because the person who made it actually is an über-talented musician. That’s what happened to Irish-Japanese singer-songwriter Marié Digby (pronounced MAR-ee-AY) in 2007. When her label, Hollywood Records, shelved her forthcoming album for six months, a frustrated Digby recorded a cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” with just an acoustic guitar—and raw, unproduced vocals—and uploaded it to YouTube.
“You know, I still watch that video, and I do not understand what’s special about it,” says Digby.
Tell that to the 22 million YouTubers who’ve clicked play since.
The associated buzz prompted her record label to relent, releasing first the cover as an iTunes single and then the full-length album, Unfold, which debuted at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 album chart in April 2008.
Since then, she’s been prolific, with numerous releases showcasing a combination of lyrical chops and piano balladry that recall early Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Bareilles offerings, selling over 400,000 albums around the world and garnering over 120 million YouTube views. Her 2011 Your Love LP recorded in Asia has reached Gold status in Korea. In Japan, Marié has done extensive promotional work with the Japanese record label Avex, recently performing at the Summer Sonic Festival.
With her 2014 offering, a three-song EP entitled Chimera, Digby has launched a triple Salchow of transformation, going full-on radio-pop with her sound.
Marié is currently in Los Angeles working on a new album which she’ll release in 2017.