Clarion Call (pdf)

The Magazine: The Book (Year One) (only piece original to the collection), The Magazine, Issue 43, and The Magazine: The Complete Archives.

An Alaskan singer goes it alone — with an entrepreneurial spirit and a little help from her (mostly online) fans.

“Lyrics first, and usually there’s kind of a spark that makes the lyrics go. If I have a concrete idea, it’s so much easier.”

Alaskan singer-songwriter Marian Call sits in the finished basement of the home of a board-game designer in an affluent suburb of New Jersey, describing her creative process.

“Once in a while [a song] will come out fully formed... Other ones are like little puzzles. It reminds me of doing quadratic equations. The quadratic formula is so beautiful and elegant. I loved algebra: there was always an answer. You just had to balance and [go] back and forth until you got the answer. I loved making things balance.”

Call munches on a post-concert snack of raw broccoli and a cupcake. She has a tall smile, ghostly skin, and dark shadows beneath her eyes that swear to her diligence and autonomy as an independent artist. “Now it’s hard for me to see a song if I don’t construe it as like a little problem for myself, a problem to solve. There’s something very right-brain about the idea, and there’s something very left-brain about the solution.”

You could say the same about Call’s career. . . .

Continue reading article (pdf).