Wielding the torch of a veritable Creole dynasty, Marcella René Simien has successfully planted the seeds of her South Louisiana heritage deep into the fertile bluffs of Memphis—no small victory and especially for a woman in the music industry. Daughter of two-time GRAMMY™ award winning Zydeco luminary Terrance Simien, she was practically born onstage and grew up thoroughly immersed in sound and performance. It was not uncommon for, say, Taj Mahal to sing her happy birthday, Dr. John to be like an uncle to her or for David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, to sit in on family gumbo dinners. Simien is a natural in the truest sense, and though music in some ways chose her, it is she who ultimately chose music. Simien has forged her own pathways in the music business. A graduate of the prestigious Memphis College of Art, and a student of fearless women such as Erykah Badu and Nina Simone, Simien boldly follows her heart as she has conquered the role of bandleader. Her music is a rare hybrid of the sounds of Memphis and Muscle Shoals, steadfastly rooted in the sighs and laughter of her Creole ancestors. In times when we seemingly must feel around in the dark to survive, Simien’s soulful voice functions as an instrument unto itself, a guiding star in the night.
As Memphis legend Boo Mitchell puts it, “[Simien is] one of the most soulful artists I've heard since the glory days of Memphis soul music. Her sound and stage presence are constant reminders that soul music is still alive and well.”
Simien already boasts a lengthy list of musical accomplishments and recognitions. From a viral interview feature (over 1.5 million views) sponsored by IKEA and Southern Living to being one of only 350 artists in 2017 to be nominated for a $50,000 USA Artists Fellowship. Marcella & Her Lovers were featured on nationally syndicated radio show Beale Street Caravan and Sun Sessions syndicated TV show. In 2016 Simien was named by the Memphis Flyer one of Memphis’ “20 Under 30” professionals. She appeared on her father’s album Dockside Sessions, which won a GRAMMY™. In 2018, Marcella performed alongside Spooner Oldham for Beale Street Caravan's ‘I Listen to Memphis’ video series. She is currently part of a tour, titled Gumbo, Grits & Gravy, with folk-blues master, Guy Davis (son of actors, Ruby Dee & Ozzie Davis) & Anne Harris, (Otis Taylor). The Memphis Flyer named the album Got You Foundby Marcella & her Lovers, one the “Top Ten” releases of 2018. Simien’s stardom quickly rises, and is stunning to behold.