Storm Marrero knew that she wanted the follow-up to her 2011 debut album to reflect all that she is as an artist and as a woman. The Bronx, New York-based singer-songwriter fought through frustration and doubt to reclaim her career over the past four years and she’s emerged a stronger person for it. And a more focused performer. Her new EP Black Gypsy features Storm injecting her spirit into her music and putting her soul on display.
“This project, compared to my first one, it’s been a long time coming,” she says with a chuckle. “The first album was in 2011 and this is an EP where all of the tracks are written by me. It is kind of an accomplishment for me. The previous album, I only wrote four out of six songs. All of these songs were written by me and produced by a great guy named Shawn Hibbler based out of Kentucky — except for two tracks that were produced by Sean Dixon and Caesar Beats.
“I’ve grown a little bit more — as a writer and a as vocalist. It’s a little bit more controlled,” she adds. “I wanted it to be much more essence, more than anything. At least for me, in the sense that it was much more personal. The songs that I wrote I went a little bit deeper into who I am as a human being and my experiences as a woman. Being a woman, a plus-sized woman, a woman in the industry — just being a woman, period, in all aspects of it. I wanted really put myself out in that aspect. My pure essence. I wanted to put it out there and for people to embrace it and listen to it and grasp who I am as a human being.”
Along with her thriving recording career, Storm’s vivacious onstage persona has made her one of the most visible singers in New York City’s burlesque scene. That dynamic image draws men to her, she admits, but she’s not one who thrives on empty adulation once she steps offstage.
“I’m an anti-entertainer,” she says. “I really don’t put myself out there like that. When you see famous people and you know they’re creative people and people who entertain dress a certain way and want to be seen and heard. Unless I’m onstage, I’m the jeans and t-shirt and sneakers type of person. I’m very low key. Once I get onstage and my persona and my demeanor changes and I become that person; when I get offstage that’s when I see that I’m treated differently. The female essence— a little bit of vanity — likes that. But personally, I don’t — because I’m being treated that because of what I did and not for who I am.”
Storm maintains that she doesn’t confuse fandom for affection.
“I hear people say ‘I want to date an artist!’ No, no, no. I wouldn’t put anybody in that predicament. Artists like myself where there’s no real anchor — the only real anchor that I have is my music and my drive to continue doing it — can’t see themselves getting into a serious relationship unless it’s with someone on a similar wavelength.
“This guy kind of liked me because of how I looked and then he saw me perform and everything changed. It’s almost like I became this fantasized view of what he wanted. It’s all a fantasy. I didn’t even humor him. I didn’t even let it go further. ‘Thank you, I hope to see you at my next show.’ You can smell it. As soon as I see the gleam in the eye and the blank stare and that idolizing vibe — I can’t. It’s very weird.
“As people who are entertainers, we like adulation. I’m not going to pretend I don’t like it when someone says they loved my show and my performance. At the end of the day, I want people to enjoy themselves and have a great time. I’ll feed into it to a certain point. But afterward, I’m going home by myself! There’s nothing else after that.”