Review by Matt Wong & Staff
Marina Matiss is a multilingual singer and songwriter who writes songs mostly in English and Spanish. Her early learning included piano and a little guitar. She went to college and received a MBA degree, but it was not something she really wanted. She comes from a musical family, but her mother, who is a music teacher, was very concerned about her daughter’s interest in dedicating her life to the stage. Matiss pursued music anyway, and started recording songs shortly after she bought her first piano. Within a short time, she attracted top-notch producers and has worked with David Palau (Bon Jovi, Toto, Alejandro Sanz) and Arthur Pingrey (Sting, Sia). Today, she is working on an album. A great way to get acquainted with Marina Matiss's talent is to check out her spellbinding song, "More Than Heaven."
“More Than Heaven” begins with a soundscape of synths, strings, and ethereal sounds that helps listeners envision themselves in a forest like environment. The music landscape is mysterious, yet inviting. Matiss’ pristine vocals then enter on the first verse. "You’ve got to break the social barrier that limits your mind. Forget the devil, he’s within ya So let him out tonight. A simple kick drum beats like a heart.
As the song moves forward, a double time feel is established in the chorus as Matiss' vocals glide over a beautiful string arrangement. A more developed groove emerges, taking you deeper into the song, with snare drum percussion.
"To distant valleys I will bring ya, I’ll bring ya You’ll be surprised by what you’ll see. Your gods will certainly forgive ya, they’ll forgive ya. ‘Cuz you’ll be there where you should be".
Coming out of the chorus, the second verse constricts in width to bring more focus to the the flowing melody and mesmerizing vocals, while also introducing more motivic development with a nice staccato on the low strings part. The song's bridge gives the song a different character with a sense of anticipation and suspense, with the drums being brought to the forefront to dominate the arrangement. The arrangement to "More Than Heaven" is very well conceived and performed.
The lyrics in “More Than Heaven” are sung by the devil who is trying to seduce a man by promising him “More than just heaven” if he gives in to temptation. The devil is tempting, "Put doubts aside, there’s no tomorrow. Let’s zoom up from the ground" and that “You’ll be surprised by what you’ll see.” He also reassures the man that "The feigned rulers burst with envy cuz you now will be crowned." There is something fascinating about Matiss's lyrics that speak of breaking limiting social barriers. One could almost conclude that subconsciously, the social pressures and temptations are the devil and to be released of society's social expectations would feel almost like heaven.
All in all, “More Than Heaven” by Marina Matiss is an outstanding piece of musical storytelling. The melody, lyrics, arrangement, and performance all work together to transport the listener out of the moment and into a musical experience to connect deeply with the theme and message behind the song. Matiss’ vocals are enchanting, and her technique and control is impeccable. Shout out to Arthur Pingrey on an excellent co-production. Connect with Mattis on Instagram.