Marcya Daneille is a classically trained vocalist and voice coach who specializes in jazz, soul, and gospel. She’s studied in Italy and England, taught in New York, and had contracts with opera companies in Chicago before ultimately settling in Milwaukee. I was excited to find out that she grew up in the south Chicago suburb of Park Forest, IL which is about ten minutes away from where I grew up (Flossmoor, IL).
MARCYA: So, I have one teeny thing before we start – many people have trouble pronouncing my first name, so it’s pronounced “Mar-see-uh” but anybody can call me Marcy. That’s what my family and friends call me.
ME: So, to start, I’d love to hear about how you got involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures.
MARCYA: I met Allison through another arts organization where we were both members, and that is No Studios here in Milwaukee. One of their administrators connected us and we just hit it off and maintained contact. As she was developing Wisconsin Music Ventures she shared different little tidbits about what she was doing, and then after she got it going, she hired me for a gig. In fact, I did a couple gigs with her before the Green Room membership was even rolled out. I joined the Green Room because I believed in her vision and liked her style.
ME: Awesome, that’s great. So I feel this question is appropriate to ask you since it’s a constant controversy between Illinois and Wisconsin – do you believe Illinois or Wisconsin have worse drivers?
MARCYA: You know what, I would have to say that – (laughs) – the driving experiences that I’ve had since I’ve lived in Wisconsin are not only worse than Illinois but worse than those out east in New York.
ME: Oh, yeah. Driving down North Avenue in the middle of the day is a war zone.
MARCYA: Hampton…Appleton Avenue…it’s like being in a Speed Racer cartoon.
ME: I would wholeheartedly agree – we have some very aggressive drivers here.
ME: So I know that you’ve done a lot of gigs at Saint Kate’s Arts Hotel, a place that I’ve actually never been to. Would you tell us a little bit about that place? What do you like about performing there?
MARCYA: Well, I remember before Saint Kate opened, reading about Saint Kate and was just really curious as to how they were going to merge what sounded like a pretty comprehensive arts program with a hotel. You walk through the door and are just immediately transported into just this really cool space that’s energized with art; you feel like you’re not necessarily in the Midwest – not that there’s anything wrong with the Midwest – but the place just brings a cosmopolitan vibe to the city. I had an opportunity to actually visit a few of the different rooms where they invited artists in to decorate them as if the room itself was a canvas. I honestly have only had positive experiences there. I’ve met a wonderful group of people – both locals and travelers – and the staff treats us very well. You feel like you’re in a place where you’re wanted, where your presence as an artist is respected and valued. It’s a very personal and intimate space.
ME: Wow, yeah I’ve really got to make it over there sometime.
ME: Marcya, what’s your favorite thing to do in Milwaukee during the summertime?
MARCYA: I like just the whole al fresco experience. I love to gather outside with a friend or two, whether it’s sipping coffee or having a glass of wine. What I think is one of the greatest attributes of the state of Wisconsin is just the outdoors; our lakefront is very pretty though a bit modest compared to maybe some beachier cities. You get to see a nice cross-section of who’s here in the city. I also love browsing in Third Ward. I keep things pretty simple; I think as a performer I definitely value opportunities where I can just exist and be quiet. When I’m not gigging or teaching, I really just value the simple things.
ME: I totally agree. It’s such an accessible city that any kind of vibe you’re going for is very close to you.
MARCYA: Exactly. Nine times out of ten, whatever you want to experience is within twenty minutes of where you are.
ME: My last question is to ask you what you’re currently working on and what your plans are for the summer?
MARCYA: Well I am not specifically working on a new recording project however during COVID I recorded a new single, so one of my goals is to give that some legs and push it out there a little more aggressively. I have a company called M. Daneille McReynolds Music Group where I am working with developing artists…not necessarily in the big fancy sense of making them superstars…but really offering a reality-based service working with artists who want to move from Point A to Point B in their own way at their own pace. I just feel that after so many years in the business that I have some useful resources and skills that I enjoy sharing. I’m hoping to expand that and would like to expand my private voice practice so that it has a greater reach. I’m also a teacher and am looking ahead to the school year, seeing what I can tweak in my curriculum to make it a little more post-pandemic friendly. At some point I hope to get back into some actual songwriting, but I really love performing, so for me that pretty much always takes priority. Right now I’m pretty busy but I’m hoping to become even more busy.