by Matt Kelchner
Earlier this year, singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler released July, her first album in nearly two years. In between albums Nadler ventured into new creative realms by taking up a job at the Granite Academy in Massachusetts, a therapeutic high school for special needs teenages. Juggling music and teaching has not been a walk in the park but Nadler mastered it.
Between her busy schedules of teaching and touring, I had the opportunity to chat with Marissa Nadler about her new album, teaching and coming back to music. She explains, “I’m not a fan of the old saying, ‘those who can’t do teach…’ or whatever it is. I love working with teenagers and it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s great to get out of one world for a while and enter another.”
In the same year that her second self-released album, The Sister, came out, Nadler began working at the Granite Academy. At the school she taught painting classes for children with special needs. Painting is another art that Nadler is deeply passionate about. She tells me, “I think the way that I see the word is through the eyes of someone whose first love was painting. I’m just a very visual person and I think that my lyrics are, too.”
During this time Nadler contemplated “giving up” on music. She’s quick to point out, “I never stopped writing and never stopped making music. I just wasn’t sure how much more I wanted to tour.” Nadler released her previous two albums, The Sister and Marissa Nadler, on her own Box of Cedar Records. She found herself buried under the heavy amount of work that goes into running a record label. “I was spending too much time online and not enough time playing music and making art. I think I was a bit burned out from living at the post office.”
It took an old friend to bring Nadler back to the world recording and touring. Some time ago Caleb Braaten reached out, asking Nadler if she would like to be a part of his label, Sacred Bones. Nadler recounts, “Caleb wrote me years ago and that’s how it began. I reached back out to him once I made the conscious decision that I wanted some help. It’s been great. I love them.”
When Nadler got re-signed to Sacred Bones and Bella Union, “it help get my mind back in the right place”. With a fire rekindled Nadler began working hard at what would turn out to be July. Released in February, the album has been well received by both fans and the media.
Nadler is currently on tour supported her new album. While she makes her way across the country, she still works in time at her other job. “I’m still teaching three days a week right now, and I tour around it,” she explains. For a schedule that most would find difficult to handle, Nadler comes across as handling it with ease. Nadler comes to Philadelphia this Saturday as she brings her tour to Johnny Brenda’s. With such a busy schedule it’s unclear when she will be back so make sure to come out and see her Saturday night!