MARi – Unity Spotlight Stage Presented by Youth For Christ – 2017


Like any artist on a first name basis with the world- Madonna, Beyoncé, Bowie, Prince, Gaga, Pink or Cher- native New Yorker MARi embodies all the makings of the superstar and then some. For starters, she’s runway ready from the moment she wakes up and is absolutely larger-than-life by the time she takes the stage with a fleet of wigs and dresses that were likely cherry-picked from a thrift store, but could still make even the most sensational supermodel jealous. And perhaps most importantly, her voice is pure pop gold with a hearty serving of soul as it sacheys its ways through dance, reggae and Latin rhythms that are not only insanely infectious, but instantly empowering and soul stirring.

“Growing up between my biological family that was very secular and an adoptive family that was very Christian, I had a balance between both musical worlds,” she recalls. “I grew up listening to Jaci Velasquez, I love old school Mariah Carey and I also love Alicia Keys, Lecrae and TobyMac. I’m half Puerto Rican and half Cuban, so I’m straight up Latina and that’s played a role as well. It’s actually an awesome combination that’s really given me the motivation, passion and fire to keep on going. I think God definitely knows what he’s doing when He gives a portion to each person as I’m definitely a walking, living miracle.”

Though her varied upbringing exposed her to a vast wealth of artistry and spirituality, it also set several storms in motion, from a stretch of unconscionable abuse, to an initially tumultuous marriage that almost didn’t make it, to a harrowing near death experience. “Even though you see all the glam and gaudiness, I’m honestly the poster child for ‘if she can make it, anyone can make it,” shares MARi with the hint of humor in between a no nonsense tone as she vulnerably uncovers one trauma at a time. “I’ve overcome so many dark seasons in my life, but I didn’t let any of them overcome me. I didn’t become the diabolical mother that used to beat me, call me the most horrible names and put me in the hospital. I decided to become different and then not to hide and isolate myself, but use that as a tool to be able to help others who have gone through similar situations.”


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