“I had one manager tell me ‘you don’t look like Shakira. This is not going to work,” Marlyn says while working a management shift at Ariel, a Latin bistro in New York City. The bachata singer says that was one of the many negative criticisms she got from management and record executives who happened to be all men. Marlyn, who’s been performing since the age of 11, says that comment was the last straw, and it became the beginning of her downward spiral.
Marlyn’s first touch of fame came in 2001 when she joined the Bachata group “NV.” Together they released a bachata version of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.”
Although the song was a big hit for the group, they eventually parted ways in 2006. She quickly became part of another new venture: this time Marlyn was approached with the idea to form a female Bachata group called Girlz Talk with Judy Santos — a former Aventura member. The group released singles such as “Esclava a Tu Querer” and “Lloraras” and became true trailblazers within the heavily male dominated genre of bachata.
But it was while she was part of these groups that Marlyn says she received judgmental and sexist comments, sinking her into a deep depression.
“Management kept telling us how we should look and how to perform. Or they say we should be extra coqueta. And, I get it, that’s the entertainment part but I wasn’t able to be who I really am. That was the major issue. I just wasn’t allowed to be me.”
But it was those hardships that gave her true clarity about the one thing she would not give up on: her music. Now, years since that comment, Marlyn is starting a new chapter in her life, or as she calls it, her “rebirth.”
Marlyn’s back to prove the naysayers wrong. She says she’s experiencing a new chapter, and wants to show fans who she is now because she’s discovering herself all over again.
“This won’t happen for me unless I decide I want my real self to be out there, and I have to be true to that,” she adds.
After years of singing with other groups, Maryln says she feels stronger now and is ready to take her musical career to the next level. Check her out this Friday night in North Chicago. Below are details.