Singer/song-writer Mari Makatsaria released her debut single, “Room to Breathe” on July 9. Produced and co-written by Billboard-charting music producer, artist and songwriter Nathan Walters, the song is now available on all major platforms.
Mari Makatsaria and Nathan Walters began writing “Room to Breathe” in January of 2020, shortly before the pandemic threw a major curveball. Homebound, they continued to work virtually while in quarantine, and after a few stops and starts, finally recorded the project remotely — Mari from Los Angeles, and Nathan from Nashville. (Mari and Nathan have never met in person, till this day!)
At its core, this emotional ballad is about a misalignment in communication — of not being heard and of repression of doubt. (Though the song might hint at a romantic relationship, it can be applied to any sort of connection.) Every verse that confesses a rift in that relationship is followed by a chorus that backtracks (“Maybe I was wrong”), mimicking the cadence of being in a never-ending cycle of on-and-off love.
Mari was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, a pint-sized country in the heart of the Caucasus, but grew up in Cairo, Egypt, where she lived for 16 years. She has been singing since the precocious age of six, her passion fueled by her family’s lifelong love for music, particularly her late grandfather. Her artistic preferences and vocal technique is heavily inspired by Georgian and Egyptian singing styles without veering too far away from a sultry pop sound.
At 16, Mari represented the Middle East in Avon Voices, an international singing competition for women. Her cover of “Unbreak My Heart” was chosen out of 7,000 videos, and she was flown out to Paris for a video shoot and several performances. In 2011, Mari immigrated to the United States. In her junior year of college, she was the runner-up at Ohio Idol’s New Year’s contest, a statewide singing competition for residents of Ohio.
As an award-winning writer and journalist, Mari recently moved away from the world of covers and started merging tune and thought (She currently works as a freelance writer and editor). Her songwriting process almost always begins with a little hum of a melody paired with a powerful statement. With an eclectic background, Mari’s sonic influences pull from Georgian and Egyptian folk music with a pop twist. She is known for her versatile range and capacity to sound empowered yet vulnerable, swaying between dark, smoky tones, and soft, fragile falsettos.
Mari is currently working on her second single with yet another unorthodox take on emotion: her challenges as an immigrant moving to the United States. It’s important for her art to explore emotions that aren’t addressed in popular music. She’s currently working on an EP that largely revolves around often-overlooked themes of personal freedom, self-development and cultural transitions. This kind of deep-reaching exploration is what she feels music should truly be about.