Marissa Burwell is an independent artist from Regina, Saskatchewan who quickly amassed fans worldwide after her first self-titled EP in 2019. Creative Saskatchewan’s relationship with Marissa began in 2019, with several Market Travel grants, but it certainly hasn’t ended there.
“I learned about Creative Sask through the local music scene, specifically through musicians that have utilized funding to grow their project,’ says Burwell, “I was lucky enough to get a market travel grant after putting out my self titled EP in 2019. This was a game changer for me. It allowed me to put myself out there and meet so many industry folks that I continue to have relationships with today.”
In addition to connecting with new audiences, the Market Travel grant provides a host of other professional development opportunities: “Attending showcase festivals alongside my first release provided me with the opportunity to learn in real time and grow as an artist in aspects including building my team, marketing strategies, exposure as well as performance opportunities.” Burwell explains, “it’s a big step to take in so many different facets when releasing music, and I couldn’t be more grateful that Creative Sask helped remove the financial barrier to be able access these opportunities.”
Marissa dove head-first into Creative Saskatchewan’s ,Commercial Sound Recording program in 2020-21, and the ripple effects of her success since then have been astounding…
Charted at spot number 94 on the NACC Top 200 for 3 weeks. The album was also the #20 most added at NCC on the add week with 19 official adds. There was support from 40 stations with top 30 charting on almost half of those stations.
Other successes include being a highlight artist for Breakout West, doing a livestreamed set for Liverpool Sound City, being part of Regina Folk Fest’s Summer Satellites, attending the Come November 2021 showcase in Toronto, and travelling to the Lower East Side of New York for the New Colossus festival.
“[The grant] allowed me to hire local artists to collaborate on the record (hired musicians, painting, photographers) as well as expand the team I work with. Funding was utilized to support the expansion of my audience through a public relations professional that resulted in international exposure and radio play.”
It’s this success that makes the seemingly daunting task of grant writing worth it. “It was only in this past year that I have taken over the grant writing role,” says Burwell, “when I took over this role, I was super intimidated and unsure where to start. The Creative Sask team has been so patient, accommodating and helpful as I have found my footing.”
After the release of Bittersweet, the beginning of a mentorship took place facilitated by Sam Taylor through Enki Music to work on UK relations. With this mentorship relationships are being built with individuals such as Anika Mottershaw (Bella Union) and Feedy Frizzi (MBF Music). Mavis Harris of Nice Marmot PR did the publicity campaign, which resulted in 80+ press and media coverage pieces:
The future is bright for Marissa Burwell! With a number of shows lined up, she plans to continue to reach new ears, apply for festivals and showcases, and grow her team. All while finding time to seek inspiration for writing.
When asked what advice she would give to aspiring musicians, Burwell has this to say: “Put yourself out there. Find peace in the uncomfortableness of attending networking events alone or feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing. Apply for showcasing events and attend the panels, learn about the different parts of the industry so you can be the leader in your goals as an artist.”
Marissa Burwell is an indie act from the heart of Saskatchewan, known best for her captivating yet endearing performances. Her debut self-titled EP was released in 2019 creating a buzz that allowed appearances at international festivals including Reeperbahn, Liverpool Sound City, and Breakout West. And now, on the heels of her self-titled EP, Burwell remerges as a fully realized artist.
Burwell’s debut full-length album, Bittersweet is set to release on January 28, 2022. Bittersweet demonstrates remarkable growth, both as a songwriter and with her sonic palette. Her warm, summery voice and wry wit remain but beneath its indie-folk exterior, the album is adorned with lush keys, warm synth passages, and subtle drum programming. Lyrically it is her most personal work, full of images of dinner parties, church, gardens and that darkness that comes in waves and comes in seasons. Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan she writes one eye focused on childhood, the other gazing toward a hopeful future, and both feet planted firmly in the snow.