What Were You Doing When YOU Were 12?

When I was 12 years old, I collected Star Wars cards. Topps had a line of Return of the Jedi cards that were over-the-top uber-geeky, and I had them all. I also spent a fair amount of time avoiding getting my ass kicked. That alone was a full-time job.

I played in my backyard, climbed our tree, walked down to the park, played in the woods, walked home from detention, and stuffed broccoli in the crack between our wall unit air conditioner and the window frame.

I did not, however, make music and put them on iTunes. This chick (and I mean that almost literally) has written 4 songs and has proudly displayed them for the world to hear.

Now … in my defense, when I was 12, there was no iTunes. In fact, there was no such thing as an mp3, let alone an ipod or mp3 player. No … the most we had were huge, bulky tape players. “Walkman.”

Some of you may be wondering, “Well, she’s 12. How good could these songs be?”

Ever heard of Feist? How about Regina Spektor? Tori Amos? No? Well, okay … she’s not quite in the same league as them. YET. Give her a few years. She’ll bypass them all.

She wrote the music. She played the instruments. She wrote and sang all the lyrics. She was her own recording engineer. People … if this doesn’t have you scratching your head, you’re too dumb to realize what we’re witnessing.

She plays piano. She plays guitar. She plays the violin. She programmed the drum loops. She. Did. It. All.

And these aren’t plush, cushy, “OMGZORZIAMSOINLURVEWITHBIEBERHOTBOY” songs. There is a depth that transcends pre-adolescence. How she is able to write about relationships at this level is beyond me, but write and present she does. In “Unbound, she writes, “Don’t wait the time is now. Brace yourself in flight for all that you love. Raise your eyes to the sky and tell yourself you’ll never give in. Never fall. Fly away now. Can you feel the wind? It’s going your way. You’re unbound now–free to take to the sky and go where you want to. Fly away.” At least, that’s what I got from several passes with my phone and earbuds. Haunting. I wonder if she’s referring to someone who’s close to passing away. Regardless, to hear the song, you’d never guess that a 12 year old wrote and performed it.

What haunts me more than the musical abilities is her vocal ability. She just doesn’t sound 12. Granted, I don’t think the musical world has much of a benchmark upon which to ascertain what a 12 year old should sound like, but if Miley Cyrus is any indication, then … well, no. Mari’s voice does nothing to betray her age. She has a very Norah Jones quality to her vocals. Norah is 31–19 years Mari’s senior. The fact that she is able to pull off that voice at her age is such a rare gift.

So, listen … in a nutshell, you’re only doing yourself a dis-service by not spending the $4 on iTunes to check out her undeniable talent. Again, if you haven’t picked up on this dead-horse-beaten point, SHE IS FRICKING TWELVE YEARS OLD. Imagine what she’ll make in the next 5, 10, 15 … who knows how many years?!

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