Graceland University alumna Marlee Quirarte ‘15 has been making her goals and aspirations come to life in the city of dreams. Originally from Independence, Missouri, Quirarte is now living in L.A., and as a student at Graceland, she spent a lot of time performing under the stage lights as a film and theatre major. It was through these experiences, she says, that she gained necessary confidence and continues to grow as a performer and artist.
Stressing her experience as a performance major at Graceland, Quirarte says, “No matter what your plans are, post graduation, the world is in your hands. You truly can do whatever you put your mind to, no matter what the obstacles are. If you really want something, you will do what it takes! I thank Graceland for giving me infinite opportunities and preparing me for my journey.”
Quirarte began her journey after Graceland in Gardena, California, where she started making enough money to live on and, in time, she was able to move to East Hollywood. There she had the opportunity to perform on open mics in the area, and she soon landed her first show at the iconic “Pig ‘N Whistle” on Hollywood Boulevard. This opportunity motivated Quirarte to work even harder toward her dreams, so she packed her bags again and moved to Simi Valley where she and three roommates shared one bedroom. She balanced up to four jobs at once, including background movie-extra work, and commuted up to two hours each day to work in L.A.
Quirarte’s sacrifice and hard work has paid off, and in 2017, she will release an EP called, “Pieces,” inspired by time spent in Moorpark. The single has been featured on Discobelle.net, a music blog based out of Sweden that has millions of followers.
“I would say one of my favorite parts about this journey and writing my EP is when I met this lovely woman Aja Hitomi,” said Quirarte. “She introduced me to many industry friends who have produced some of the largest names in the music industry today, including Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield, Frank Ocean and many more. Through Aja I was able to meet Antwoine Collins, who produced my second single, ‘Frankie.’ It was such an honor to work with him.”
Quirarte wrote "Frankie" in memory of her father, who recently passed away. “I knew the background of my dad’s baseball career and knew that his baseball league called him ‘Frankie.’ I really took to this idea for a song and wanted to honor my father.”
Quirarte’s next step on her road to fame is to simply get her name out more. She continues to book shows in L.A. and is working to direct more traffic to her social media pages. She wants to share her music with the world and continue making more of it. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook.
by: Mikayla Austin '17