AE: Talk to me about “Far Away,” because that music video is so powerful. It’s a brave subject matter, especially in the African-American community to tackle. Can you tell me how you came up with the concept for the video and the message that you want to share?
MA: It’s really easy, I wasn’t taking a brave approach to anything I was more taking an honest approach. When I wrote the song it was about a friend who had attempted suicide and trying to be there for someone who can’t be there for themselves is a very disheartening position to be in. There was nothing I could do to save them from being at that level of depression.
So when it came to making this album and knowing that “Far Away” was going to be a single, it was only right that I showed what that song meant and what it meant to me. I wasn’t thinking about it being targeted to the African-American community or thought about gay relationships. It was the black and white of the story.
A friend of mine had problems not being accepted for being in an open and loving relationship and had the world beat down on him because of it. And attempted suicide. That’s the black and white of the story. It’s honorable to feel like people think I’m taking this position and fighting a fight. But I’m only taking an honest approach; this is happening to many people, real people, it’s not just my story, it’s many stories. I’m thankful that it’s reaching so many people and it is taking that kind of position as a bold move; as something that needed to be said. I’ve always been a forward person as far as my pen. I’ve never held back – so “Far Away,” I’m happy it’s taking the position that it has.
AE: Well it’s definitely timely with all of these terrible teen suicides lately in the GLBTQ community. So I think it’s great that the video is shedding some light on the subject. You saying you’ve always taken an honest, straight-forward approach to songs, you’ve also mentioned that it was kind of a masculine way to do things.
MA: Yeah, taking something and not having to sugar-coat it and baby it and mother it is taking a masculine approach. I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty, no holds barred, no censors, “S–t stinks, it does” and that’s the be all end all of music. I think with “Far Away” it’s touching a subject that some people want to shun away, even some people I know. So be it. I’m glad it’s hitting home for people who would normally ignore it. Ignoring things is the easy way out.
AE: Do you think over the years women have gotten better at having a stronger voice?
MA: Yeah, it’s definitely always been there. I’m just thankful to have a voice.
AE: With the passing of Michael Jackson, I know he’s been a huge influence on you and you were even able to write a song for him to sing, what has his career taught you?
MA: That you do have to give yourself whole-heartedly, no holds barred. He sacrificed everything – everything – to be an artist and to reach as many people as he could. He is the pinnacle of sane and always will be in this lifetime. His example is to be studied. The blueprint could never be copied. He was someone that only happens once in a lifetime. He was genuine, genius, ingenious, infamous. The one and only King of Pop, there’s only one.
Marsha’s album, Late Nights and Early Mornings will be out March 1.