Marie Naffah: "Winning MTV Unsigned Was Unreal!"
Two months ago Marie Naffah was just another gigging musician when she received a phone call that would change her life: Marie had won Marie had won MTV Brand New Unsigned and was being whisked down to London to join nine up-and-coming artists on the Brand New for 2014 shortlist.
MTV UK caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about her epic win and her hopes for 2014.
“Winning MTV Unsigned was just such a surreal feeling,” Marie remembers. “I was on my own in my flat and I got a call.”
“I was so thankful to have got through to the final twenty [in the competition], being unsigned and just having worked at it all by myself, so it was absolutely amazing, I can’t really explain it, it was great,” she gushes. “It still doesn't feel quite real yet!”
The 21-year old is still getting her head around the win, not to mention her inclusion on the Brand New shortlist, which also features acts on the brink of super-stardom, such as Sam Smith and Ella Eyre.
“It’s crazy,” she says of being on the same list as her fellow Brand New nominees. “I mean I've just bought a couple of their EPs really recently and to be in the same, sort of, league as them is just amazing.”
“I was listening to George Ezra in my kitchen literally yesterday so that’s pretty cool!” she laughs.
Outside of Brand New, Marie is also a fan of indie rock bands Daughter and Florence and the Machine – “those two really stick out for me vocally” – and is now in a position where she’s being compared to singers including Florence Welch and Laura Marling.
“I’m very flattered,” she says of the comparisons. “I saw Laura Marling live and she’s just so cool.”
Of her own music, she says: “My sound is sort of a folky acoustic blend with maybe a bit of soul in there as well.”
“I picked up a guitar when I was about 14 and wrote some very bad songs,” she recalls of her start in the industry. “My parents really persevered and humoured me for a bit.”
“Then I started gigging when I was 18 and I just realised that that’s really what I wanted to do.”
What are her hopes for 2014? “Hopefully a bit more recording, more gigging and meeting lots of great musicians along the way,” she says.
“And it looks pretty good so far!”