By Cynthia Gross
Alchemical Records Director of Social Media and contributing writer Maura Marcellino discovered the publication by happenstance. Hailing from a musical family, the Fairfax, Virginia native and George Mason University senior’s impressive portfolio that spans from songwriter to co-manager of a rising DMV talent demonstrates her commitment to elevating the music scene, and she’s just getting started.
Learn more about Maura Marcellino’s exciting journey with contributing writer Cynthia Gross, including her all-time favorite concert experience, where was she invited on stage to sing with an acclaimed national act; her advocacy role in concert sustainability at one of the most eco-friendly Live Nation venues in America; and her special message in recognition of Autism Awareness Month.
In February 2021, Marcellino responded to a nationwide networking call on Clubhouse. Edward Miskie, a long-time supporter and contributing writer for Alchemical Records, was a participant – and he and Marcellino connected, which led to a discovery call with Daniel Warren Hill, CEO and publisher of the media platform. Since that time, within the span of a little more than a year, she has become an integral part of the Alchemical Records team and larger DMV music scene.
Apart from her strong skill set, perhaps what stands out most about Marcellino is her quiet confidence and ability to bring her authentic self to the table. She doesn’t need the spotlight in order to shine – although she is absolutely impactful in that front-facing space – but she also values working off camera in support of a larger vision.
Marcellino planned to become an actress originally until she fell in love with the behind-the-scenes side of the industry, noting, “There’s a whole lot that needs to happen to make things work on stage.” Her shift to the music industry was a natural progression since music has always played a key role in her upbringing. Her favorite bands include Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World. “I come from sort of a musical family on my dad’s side,” she explained. “His dad and cousin were musicians. My dad’s cousin actually created the music for the Charlie Brown shows. I guess it skipped a generation with my dad and went to me.”
As a 22-year-old rising industry professional in a space that is traditionally occupied by seasoned executives, Marcellino has faced her share of doubters. “I always have to prove that I deserve a spot at the table,” she said. “Like, I’ll wear a Tom Petty shirt, and people will say, name three songs from Tom Petty,” thinking I won’t know any. “Just because I wasn’t born in his prime or alive when The Beatles were active doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the music.”
Marcellino’s response is a model to audiences everywhere: she lets her actions speak for themselves. Take one glance at her roster, and you realize that she belongs at the table hands-down and is part of the next generation of professionals who will change the music industry for the better.
Last month marks one of Maura Marcellino’s proudest moments when she accepted the Music Media Award on behalf of Alchemical Records at the 2022 Wammie Awards. Marcellino was excited to connect with various artists and organizations featured over the years by the publication, including John Tyler Wiley, Freddy Hall, Amulet, Ting Lin, Emma G, and the DMV Music Alliance.
In addition to her work with Alchemical Records, which includes co-managing the organization’s street team and attending concerts regularly, Marcellino serves as co-manager of DMV-based artist Ben DeHan, as well as a concert sustainability fellow for Live Nation venues, where she’s supported shows for Billie Eilish, Dave Matthews Band, and more. In 2019, she helped to manage the Atlantic City Warped Tour alongside mentor Alexis Acar.
The concert sustainability aspect that most people identify with involves recycling and composting at shows, which Marcellino notes can be a “dirty, physically demanding job.” “Never did I think I would have fun doing it,” she reflected, “But I’ve made connections and even brought one of my best friends, Erin Steward, along with me.” With regard to recycling at shows, Marcellino said, “I would love for people to understand that it doesn’t ‘all go to the same place.’”
Besides recycling, concert sustainability explores how to make tour buses, electricity, and other components essential for live performances more eco-friendly like Coldplay’s use of bike-powered energy and dancing fans to operate their Music of the Spheres tour.
Marcellino’s favorite show to date happened in 2018 at Jiffy Lube Live in celebration of her birthday. Her parents purchased tickets for Marcellino and her sister to see Joywave, MisterWives, WALK THE MOON, and Thirty Seconds to Mars. When Marcellino’s supervisor noticed her in the venue, she invited her to the pit, where she later got called on stage with Thirty Seconds to Mars to sing along with “Rescue Me” and “Closer to the Edge.”
Speaking of family, Marcellino shared that she did not discover she was autistic until COVID-19. After discovering Chloé Hayden on social media and finding her story relatable, Marcellino went up to her mom and said, “I think I may be autistic,” to which her mom replied simply, “You are.” While she admits she was initially upset that no one had ever disclosed her status, Marcellino understood deep down the reasons why.
“There’s such a stigma with autism,” she explained. Especially in decades past, “autism was seen as such a horrible thing. I’m thinking of commercials for organizations like Autism Speaks and how they can do a lot more harm. They see autism as a burden and search for a cure. Autistic people don’t need a cure. We are complete, not less than. Autism is a disorder, not a disease, and everyone experiences it differently.”
Marcellino cites Daryl Hannah as inspiration, both as an autistic individual and an environmentalist, as well as Sophia Bush, Kerry Washington, and Jane Fonda, women who bridge entertainment and activism. “I would say not only is April Autism Awareness Month, it’s also Autism Appreciation Month,” she added. “There needs to be some sense of awareness along with appreciation.” And we quite agree.
Be sure to follow Maura Marcellino on Instagram or your favorite social media platform to stay up to date on her latest projects, including a soon-to-be-released collaboration with D.C.-based artist Heaven Hall, which represents Marcellino’s first-ever lyricist credit, with more to come.
Maryland-based singer-songwriter Cynthia Gross seeks to inspire an awakening to all we are and all we can become. With a passion for language in all of its forms and more than a decade of experience as a professional ghostwriter, she is a light seeker who understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.
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