Alt/indie-pop singer-songwriter Denise Marsa introduces the music video for her recently released single, “Sanctuary,” a modern feminist pop-rock ballad.
A do-it-yourself kind of person, born in Trenton, NJ, Marsa taught herself to play keyboards and began writing songs before starting college. Moving from New York to London after her studies, she landed her first big break singing for Dean Friedman on his hit “Lucky Stars”—resulting in a platinum disc, a British national tour, and live TV appearances.
Not one to be pigeonholed by genres or studios, Marsa relocated to Los Angeles to start her own record label and production house, allowing her to maintain creative freedom. Marsa’s stellar talent and can-do approach have landed her in top venues worldwide, sharing the stage with The Ramones, The Talking Heads, and Blondie.
In 1998, Marsa dropped her debut album, Self, followed by Live Forever, and 2022’s Second Soul. Her new album, PIVOTAL, will be released early next year.
“Sanctuary” opens on winsome, retro-flavored synths and longing guitars. A rippling percussive fill leads into the pop-rock melody, riding a finessed, pushing cadence and accenting guitar licks that infuse the harmonics with alluring, gliding coloration.
Marsa’s vocals, powerful and evocative, vaguely reminiscent of Grace Slick, imbue the lyrics with impressive tones as silhouetting harmonies give the song depth and dimension. There’s an intoxicating magnetism to Marsa’s voice, at once potent and dripping with delicious timbres.
The lyrics narrate the story of an overbearing lover, trying to take more than they give, expecting Marsa to be their sanctuary. Though Marsa loves them back, their inability to love themselves is not her responsibility.
Played and produced by Marsa and her collaborator, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, Paul A. Harvey, the two artists met when she was living in London in the mid-80s. The track was mixed by Janosch Roth at Lautstumm Studios in Germany.
The video, directed by Bill Westmoreland, depicts Marsa in the countryside, fleeing the bondage of her needy ex-lover, discovering freedom and empowerment in her independence.
With “Sanctuary,” Denise Marsa delivers a powerfully spellbinding tune, highlighted by her luscious, compelling vocals.