Marlena’s musical influences, in part, arose from her early life growing up in the “melting pot” of Jamaica Queens, NY (the same neighborhood of Fifty Cent’s youth). As a young child, she would hear, late into the summer evenings, the soulful sound of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, Cool and the Gang, Wild Cherry, and Earth Wind and Fire, as they wafted through her bedroom window, from the nearby park. Marlena irritated her sister as she would pick up a hairbrush and sing along at the top of her lungs – the beginnings of her soulful sound.
Starting at the age of 10, Marlena, the daughter of a minister, sang gospel in church, and on Saturdays performed a capella versions of the same on the mean streets of New York, drawing a crowd to whom her father preached. These experiences honed her voice, enabling her to emote and greatly connect with all that have the pleasure to hear her sing.
Developing a burning desire to escape the neighborhood of her youth, she attended the prestigious School of Art and Design in Manhattan. Eventually, she worked, modeled, and sang, while living in the artistic community of Soho, NY. This is where she developed her great versatility as a female vocalist, singing in multiple bands in and around New York City, ranging in style from garage, to funk, to torch and at venues as diverse as sticky dive bars and the famed Studio 54.
She is a rare combination of flash and class and has a mischievous approach to life that is reflected in her vocal stylings