Meeting the Girl Who is Pony Boy
by Jessica Nguyen
I’ll admit- after a good bit of research, I was embarrassed to tell Pony Boy I didn’t know how to pronounce her real name. “That’s okay, no one really knows how to pronounce my name. Not even my own mother sometimes,” she says. Her name is Marchelle Bradanini. The way it’s pronounced, easy enough- Mar-Shell. It’s pretty and unique, so I wondered why she had a stage name and how she came up with the idea to call herself Pony Boy.
“I got the name from the book by S.E. Hinton. One of the characters is Pony Boy and I just loved the whole meaning. I also have a friend who calls me just Pony,” says Bradanini.
Currently, Pony Boy is trying to finish her debut album with producer John Wood, due out early next year. She’s also gearing up to play some shows in New York . This weekend, on the 6th, she’ll be performing at the New Yorker Festival. I asked her she got this gig- was it something she tried out for or something she was asked to do? “I sent a link and applied to play at the festival and honestly forgot about it. Then I got the invite to play the show,” says Bradanini. She also says being able to play the New Yorker show is one of the best accomplishments being a musician thus far. Pony Boy is really proud of the songs she has recorded.
Her music is being described as junkyard country mixed with a southern Gothic soul sound. Uh…what? “I told them to write that about my music. I didn’t want to be described a certain way or in just one way. I don’t fit into one general category of music,” says Bradanini.
Being as lucky as I am to get the opportunity to listen to music a lot in my day job gives me the chance to really listen to new artists. One of my favorite songs by Pony Boy is “Saints and Liars”. “I was sitting alone in London when I wrote that song. It started on a voice memo. I think it was my subconscious channeling a relationship. The great thing about music is you can feel (not think) when you write your songs,” she says.
Bradanini loves to play her songs live. She enjoys playing acoustic but when people pay for a ticket to see her show, Pony Boy has a full band with her because “people pay to see a full band”
I asked Bradanini the biggest struggle she has faced as a musician. She says, “making music that I would want to listen to [is a struggle]. It’s a really hard time to be making music . Also, trying to figure out how I will survive or the best way to make my living making music and stay in my vision yet still have self value and be proud of what I am doing. I struggled with hating myself one minute thinking what I wrote was amazing, one minute hating what I wrote and another minute of satisfaction with what I wrote. Being a musician is hard in this life- there is a lot of rejection or failure. You have to really love it to pursue it.”
Bradanini also recently covered “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”, originally recorded by Father John Misty. “Father John is such a funny person and so talented. It’s a song about having sex with someone in a graveyard during a funeral. I covered it in a few hours and it’s not a lot like the original but it was a fun song to cover.”
The girl who is Pony Boy currently is working on the last leg of her album. She has to decide the best way to send her music out into the world to reach people. Until she ventures into Philadelphia and starts to promote her debut, you can listen to her music on her website or iTunes. Sit patiently- 2013 will be big for Pony Boy and her new music will be worth the wait. It’s surely nothing short of amazing.