We had the good fortune of connecting with Mari Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mari, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am originally from the Philippines, born and raised. I migrated to the US when I was 13. Although I’ve been living in the US now for more than 10 years and have assimilated, I still am very much in touch with my Filipino side. My upbringing in the Philippines was quite different from how I grew up in America for obvious reasons: differences in culture, language, societal standards, norms, etc. It was a little difficult at first, learning and discovering what it means to be Asian- American but I’ve definitely grown to embrace both sides. I think it’s made me a multifaceted person, and I’ve learned to really love and appreciate living in very diverse communities.
I grew up with a lot of family, a lot of food and practice a very collective mindset. I would describe my huge family as loud, very close, fun and something that I can’t imagine life without. Older family members took care of me growing up, and I took care of younger family members as well. Growing up in a culture of collectivism and this “tribe” of people supporting each other has definitely impacted my life in a positive way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a singer/songwriter and an independent artist. I write and produce my own songs. I decided to start my journey as a musician in 2019 and have loved it ever since. It wasn’t and still is not very easy doing things independently and figuring out where this journey will lead to. Doing everything yourself takes a lot of initiative and continuous effort in nurturing your craft.. There are days that I feel discouraged or feel like there is no growth and think that this might not lead anywhere. There are also days that I feel really encouraged and proud. Through it all, I’ve learned to embrace the ups and downs that naturally comes with the process of growing as a creative.
It’s a recurring realization that the more I write and produce and indulge in the creative community, the more my love for music and the community it creates grows. The biggest lesson for me is to just keep going. There is everything to lose for not trying and nothing to lose in doing what you love.
My story is really simple. I’ve found a love for writing music and I’ve decided to nurture that love by creating more art and continuing to get better. As a writer, I hope to create positive impact and inspire my listeners to feel deeply through my music. I love creating and expressing through music and it’s awesome that I get to share that love and build community with others who feel the same.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well….. I definitely recommend going on a road trip through PCH. This is a very famous and common trip that everybody takes I think.. haha.. But… there is so much to see and do that even a trip the second time around can bring a different experience.
I recommend going all the way to Big Sur, Hearst Castle in San Simeon is also very cool and San Luis Obispo! There are a million options for food and stops but I personally just love the drive and enjoy the scenic route.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my mom and my siblings. There is nothing but support and love from my family and I love them so much!
Ramon Barros III