Having completed her Master’s Degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Marie Dahlstrom released her epic, thought-provoking EP ‘Nine’. Making sure she puts her years of studying to use, Marie’s ‘Nine’ EP is a composition of numerology, life experiences and acceptance. Marie seems to be one of the few artists delving deeper into the taboo subject of mental health. The ‘Nine’ EP was recorded with live instrumentation, from Marie’s home piano to analogue synthesizers and drum beats – showcasing Marie’s love for congas.
You have just completed your studies, a Masters Degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology with a focus on Music in the Brain, what was it like managing your studies and working on your music at the same time?
I have been studying throughout all the years I have been making music, so I think I’m used to it by now haha. I would say it takes very good time management and organisation in order to get everything done. Also, it’s a really good way for me to remember why I love music so much, partly because I have less time to make music, so it almost fuels my urge to do it more, and partly because it makes me learn more about how incredible music really is.
How do you think this process of studying has helped you with your creative process?
I think it has made me more focused and committed. It has made me want it more.
What is the connection between music and mental health?
I guess most of us feel that music has the power to connect people, put people in touch with their emotions and create a feeling of being in the moment.
From a research perspective, studies have shown that music-making and listening can reduce physiological stress by reducing the release of the hormone cortisol in the brain, it has also shown that it can improve immune function. For infants, mothers from all over the world have been singing lullabies to their new-borns as far back in time as we can document, because of its soothing and calming effect on the baby both mentally and physiologically. In hospitals music therapists are singing in the NICU, when prematurely born babies are unable to be held by their mothers – the sound of the voice can lower the babies heart rate, reduce crying, and help the babies regulate their emotions. For people with Parkinsons or Dementia, music can have a huge effect on their quality of life and overall well-being, by triggering motor processes or access memories.
How do you think artists and music can be used to assist those with mental health issues?
I think most musical activities of your own choice can have positive effects on your well-being – on the other hand, I think that for example being an artist or musician in itself, can cause mental issues, so it’s a fine balance.
You took a different approach with your music by bonding themes of life experiences, numerology and self-acceptance to compile tracks for your latest EP ‘Nine’. Why did you choose to focus your EP on this?
I think it chose me in a way. Everything in my life just aligned and I went with it. The number 9 happened to be everywhere haha; in numerology years, 2016 is the end of a 9 year cycle (2+1+6 =9), my birth number is the 27th (2+7 = 9), the EP was also released on the 27th October (2+9), anymore, the first single, was released in the 9th month, and this year 2017, is the beginning of a new nine-year cycle, – and it kind of matched with what was happening in my personal life. I needed a new beginning.
For those who are going to miss out on your sold-out show at the Servant Jazz Quarters on 4th December, where can they keep up with your work?
And they can sign up to the waiting list for the 4th December gig, it will notify them when I announce my upcoming concerts.