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Marissa Hapeman is writing the soundtrack to all of our lives
Written by:
Jocelyn Gentile

Say hello to Marissa Hapeman, a Pittsburgh educated, self driven composer who's known music all her life... and wants to make it a part of yours!

Quick little intro about yourself, and your origin story?

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Marissa​ ​Hapeman has​ ​been​ ​into​ ​creating​ ​music​ ​for​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​I​ ​can​ ​remember.​ ​ ​My family​ ​has​ ​always​ ​been​ ​very​ ​musically​ ​inclined​ ​and​ ​very​ ​supportive​ ​of​ ​a​ ​career​ ​in​ ​music,​ ​so​ ​it​ ​was natural​ ​for​ ​me​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a​ ​college​ ​degree​ ​and​ ​work​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field.​ ​I​ ​graduated​ ​from​ ​Duquesne​ ​University​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh​ ​with​ ​a​ ​degree​ ​in​ ​Music​ ​Technology​ ​and​ ​Composition.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​chosen​ ​this​ ​major because​ ​that​ ​facet​ ​of​ ​music​ ​is​ ​fascinating​ ​to​ ​me​ ​-​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​I​ ​love​ ​writing​ ​and​ ​creating​ ​music,​ ​I​ ​also love​ ​the​ ​recording​ ​process​ ​and​ ​everything​ ​that​ ​goes​ ​on​ ​“behind​ ​the​ ​scenes”.

What do you love most about being a composer?

I​ ​love​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​atmosphere or​ ​add​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​emotion ​to​ ​projects.​ ​A​ ​soundtrack isn’t​ ​present​ ​in​ real​ ​life,​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​magical​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​add​ ​that​ j​e​ ​ne​ ​sais​ ​quoi​ ​via​ ​creating​ ​music​ ​from nothing.

What are some of your struggles as a composer?

Building​ ​a​ ​network​ ​can​ ​be​ ​tough.​ ​As​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​has​ ​been​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​for​ ​only​ about ​five​ ​years,​ ​it​ ​can be​ ​tricky​ ​to​ ​start​ ​from​ ​scratch​ ​and​ ​make​ ​yourself​ ​heard,​ ​and​ ​make​ ​your​ ​music​ ​reach​ ​a​ ​little​ ​further​ ​than last​ ​year,​ ​last​ ​month,​ and ​last​ ​week.​ You​ ​carve​ ​out​ ​a​ ​place​ ​for​ ​yourself,​ ​you​ ​find​ ​your​ ​“people”​ ​-​ ​somehow it​ ​all​ ​works​ ​out.

Any advice for up-and-coming composers who admire and want to be like you?

It’s​ ​impossible​ ​to​ ​be​ ​inspired​ ​and​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​write​ ​100%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​time​ ​-​ ​learning​ ​to​ ​write​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​not inspired​ ​is​ ​key.​ ​​Don’t​ ​turn​ ​down​ ​new​ ​challenges​ ​just​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​something​ ​you’re​ ​unsure​ ​of​ ​or something​ ​you’ve​ ​never​ ​done​ ​before.​ ​​Fake​ ​it​ ​‘till​ ​you​ ​make​ ​it.

Favorite restaurants/bars in PGH? How about parks/other nature places you like to visit?

I​ ​really​ ​love​ ​the​ ​food​ ​and​ ​drink​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh​ ​-​ ​some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​restaurants​ ​are​ ​Teppanyaki Kyoto,​ ​Meat​ ​&​ ​Potatoes,​ ​and​ ​Emporio. Some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​bars​ ​are​ ​Acacia,​ ​Over​ ​The​ ​Bar,​ ​and​ ​Ruggers Pub.​ Between​ ​restaurants,​ ​bars,​ ​and​ ​food​ ​trucks,​ ​we’ve​ ​got​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​thing​ ​going​ ​here​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh. As​ ​far​ ​as​ ​nature,​ ​I​ ​love​ ​going​ ​to​ ​North​ ​Park​. It’s​ ​really​ ​peaceful​ ​and​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​different​ ​things​ ​to​ ​do there,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​still​ ​close​ ​to​ ​everything. Even though​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​a​ ​park ​I​ ​love​ ​Phipps!​ ​ ​All​ ​of​ ​the​ ​different​ ​rooms are​ ​amazing​ ​through​ ​every​ ​season​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year.

What is your craziest/funniest tour/concert/composition story?

One​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​mind​ ​is​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​writing​ ​the​ ​score​ ​for​ ​the​ ​short​ ​film​ ​“Disposable”.​ ​I initially​ ​found​ ​the​ ​call​ ​for​ ​a​ ​composer​ ​through​ ​a​ ​Craigslist​ ​post​ ​by​ ​the​ ​director​ ​-​ ​I​ ​responded​ ​to​ ​it,​ ​and when​ ​the​ ​director​ ​emailed​ ​me​ ​back,​ ​it​ ​turns​ ​out​ ​I​ ​already​ ​knew​ ​him!​ ​ He​ ​was​ ​a​ ​coworker​ ​of​ ​my husbands,​ ​and​ ​we’d​ ​met​ ​and​ ​talked​ ​a​ ​few​ ​times​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years​ ​about​ ​filmmaking.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​really​ ​cool experience​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​him​ ​on​ ​the​ ​music​ ​for​ ​his​ ​short​ ​film,​ ​and​ ​after​ ​the​ ​music​ ​was​ ​finished,​ ​the​ ​film ended​ ​up​ ​being​ ​showcased​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Rumschpringe​ ​Film​ ​Festival​ ​in​ ​Lancaster,​ ​PA​ ​that​ ​year!​ ​Seeing​ ​and hearing a​ ​film​ ​that​ ​you​ ​worked​ ​on​ ​in​ ​a​ ​theater​ ​on​ ​a​ ​big​ ​screen​ ​is​ ​thrilling.

Is there a song on your Solstice EP that you had a special experience writing?

Each​ ​song​ ​on​ ​Solstice​ ​definitely​ ​has​ ​a​ ​story​ ​behind​ ​it,​ ​or​ ​at​ ​least​ ​an​ ​emotion,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​think​ ​I​ ​remember writing​ ​“Waiting​ ​For​ ​Good​ ​News”​ ​the​ ​most​ ​clearly​ ​-​ ​I​ ​wrote​ ​it,​ ​unsurprisingly,​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​waiting​ ​for some​ ​good​ ​news,​ ​but​ ​didn’t​ ​know​ ​where​ ​it​ ​was​ ​going​ ​to​ ​come​ ​from.​ ​ ​It​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​those​ ​rare​ ​times when​ ​I​ ​could​ ​hear​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​song,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​layers​ ​and​ ​instruments​ ​and​ ​everything,​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head​ ​before​ ​I sat​ ​down​ ​to​ ​track​ ​it.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​as​ ​if​ ​the​ ​song​ ​was​ ​stuck​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​song​ ​hadn’t​ ​been​ ​written​ ​yet. Of​ ​the​ ​Solstice​ ​tracklisting,​ ​“Waiting​ ​For​ ​Good​ ​News”​ ​also​ ​has​ ​the​ ​most​ ​relatable​ ​message​ ​behind​ ​it​ ​- every​ ​single​ ​person​ ​on​ ​earth,​ ​living​ ​and​ ​dead,​ ​has​ ​waited​ ​for​ ​good​ ​news;​ ​they’ve​ ​hoped​ ​for​ ​something better​ ​to​ ​come.

Do you prefer writing standalone music or scores?

I’m sure each has their perks. There’s​ ​definitely​ ​something​ ​I​ ​love​ ​about​ ​both.​ There​ ​are​ ​also​ ​certain​ ​audiences​ ​that​ ​appreciate​ ​both, and​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​always​ ​overlap.​ ​I​ ​enjoy​ ​writing​ ​standalone​ ​music​ ​for​ ​the​ ​singularity​ ​of​ ​it​ ​-​ ​it​ ​doesn’t​ ​have to​ ​build​ ​up​ ​or​ ​be​ ​thematic,​ ​or​ ​match​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​cues;​ ​standalone​ ​music​ ​has​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​a​ ​story​ ​or​ ​get​ ​an​ ​idea across​ ​without​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​help.​ ​ ​On​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​ ​scores​ ​make​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​art​ ​that​ ​much​ ​more effective​ ​-​ ​I​ ​love​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​add​ ​that​ ​extra​ ​something​ ​that​ ​people​ ​latch​ ​onto​ ​to​ ​heighten​ ​the​ ​experience.

What is your definition of success?

Success,​ ​to​ ​me,​ ​is​ ​accomplishing​ ​goals​ ​I’ve​ ​set​ ​for​ ​myself​ ​while​ ​increasing​ ​my​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​learning something​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way.​ ​Success​ ​also​ ​doesn’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​loud,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​huge,​ ​flashy​ ​spotlight​ ​-​ ​it​ c​an​ ​be, but​ ​that’s​ ​definitely​ ​not​ ​the​ ​only​ ​manifestation​ ​of​ ​success. Success​ ​can​ ​be​ ​small​ ​and​ ​private as​ ​long as​ ​I’ve​ ​accomplished​ ​something​ ​and​ ​learned​ ​something​ ​while​ ​doing​ ​it,​ ​I​ ​consider​ ​that​ ​a​ ​success.

You can find Marissa at www.mhapemanmusic.com/, www.facebook.com/mhapemanmusic/, soundcloud.com/marissahapeman, and mhapemanmusic.bandcamp.com,

Marissa Hapeman is writing the soundtrack to all of our lives
Marissa Hapeman is writing the soundtrack to all of our lives
PR & Marketing Specialist

Say hello to Marissa Hapeman, a Pittsburgh educated, self driven composer who's known music all her life... and wants to make it a part of yours!

Quick little intro about yourself, and your origin story?

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Marissa​ ​Hapeman has​ ​been​ ​into​ ​creating​ ​music​ ​for​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​I​ ​can​ ​remember.​ ​ ​My family​ ​has​ ​always​ ​been​ ​very​ ​musically​ ​inclined​ ​and​ ​very​ ​supportive​ ​of​ ​a​ ​career​ ​in​ ​music,​ ​so​ ​it​ ​was natural​ ​for​ ​me​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a​ ​college​ ​degree​ ​and​ ​work​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field.​ ​I​ ​graduated​ ​from​ ​Duquesne​ ​University​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh​ ​with​ ​a​ ​degree​ ​in​ ​Music​ ​Technology​ ​and​ ​Composition.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​chosen​ ​this​ ​major because​ ​that​ ​facet​ ​of​ ​music​ ​is​ ​fascinating​ ​to​ ​me​ ​-​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​I​ ​love​ ​writing​ ​and​ ​creating​ ​music,​ ​I​ ​also love​ ​the​ ​recording​ ​process​ ​and​ ​everything​ ​that​ ​goes​ ​on​ ​“behind​ ​the​ ​scenes”.

What do you love most about being a composer?

I​ ​love​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​atmosphere or​ ​add​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​emotion ​to​ ​projects.​ ​A​ ​soundtrack isn’t​ ​present​ ​in​ real​ ​life,​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​magical​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​add​ ​that​ j​e​ ​ne​ ​sais​ ​quoi​ ​via​ ​creating​ ​music​ ​from nothing.

What are some of your struggles as a composer?

Building​ ​a​ ​network​ ​can​ ​be​ ​tough.​ ​As​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​has​ ​been​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​for​ ​only​ about ​five​ ​years,​ ​it​ ​can be​ ​tricky​ ​to​ ​start​ ​from​ ​scratch​ ​and​ ​make​ ​yourself​ ​heard,​ ​and​ ​make​ ​your​ ​music​ ​reach​ ​a​ ​little​ ​further​ ​than last​ ​year,​ ​last​ ​month,​ and ​last​ ​week.​ You​ ​carve​ ​out​ ​a​ ​place​ ​for​ ​yourself,​ ​you​ ​find​ ​your​ ​“people”​ ​-​ ​somehow it​ ​all​ ​works​ ​out.

Any advice for up-and-coming composers who admire and want to be like you?

It’s​ ​impossible​ ​to​ ​be​ ​inspired​ ​and​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​write​ ​100%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​time​ ​-​ ​learning​ ​to​ ​write​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​not inspired​ ​is​ ​key.​ ​​Don’t​ ​turn​ ​down​ ​new​ ​challenges​ ​just​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​something​ ​you’re​ ​unsure​ ​of​ ​or something​ ​you’ve​ ​never​ ​done​ ​before.​ ​​Fake​ ​it​ ​‘till​ ​you​ ​make​ ​it.

Favorite restaurants/bars in PGH? How about parks/other nature places you like to visit?

I​ ​really​ ​love​ ​the​ ​food​ ​and​ ​drink​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh​ ​-​ ​some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​restaurants​ ​are​ ​Teppanyaki Kyoto,​ ​Meat​ ​&​ ​Potatoes,​ ​and​ ​Emporio. Some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​bars​ ​are​ ​Acacia,​ ​Over​ ​The​ ​Bar,​ ​and​ ​Ruggers Pub.​ Between​ ​restaurants,​ ​bars,​ ​and​ ​food​ ​trucks,​ ​we’ve​ ​got​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​thing​ ​going​ ​here​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh. As​ ​far​ ​as​ ​nature,​ ​I​ ​love​ ​going​ ​to​ ​North​ ​Park​. It’s​ ​really​ ​peaceful​ ​and​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​different​ ​things​ ​to​ ​do there,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​still​ ​close​ ​to​ ​everything. Even though​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​a​ ​park ​I​ ​love​ ​Phipps!​ ​ ​All​ ​of​ ​the​ ​different​ ​rooms are​ ​amazing​ ​through​ ​every​ ​season​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year.

What is your craziest/funniest tour/concert/composition story?

One​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​mind​ ​is​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​writing​ ​the​ ​score​ ​for​ ​the​ ​short​ ​film​ ​“Disposable”.​ ​I initially​ ​found​ ​the​ ​call​ ​for​ ​a​ ​composer​ ​through​ ​a​ ​Craigslist​ ​post​ ​by​ ​the​ ​director​ ​-​ ​I​ ​responded​ ​to​ ​it,​ ​and when​ ​the​ ​director​ ​emailed​ ​me​ ​back,​ ​it​ ​turns​ ​out​ ​I​ ​already​ ​knew​ ​him!​ ​ He​ ​was​ ​a​ ​coworker​ ​of​ ​my husbands,​ ​and​ ​we’d​ ​met​ ​and​ ​talked​ ​a​ ​few​ ​times​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years​ ​about​ ​filmmaking.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​really​ ​cool experience​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​him​ ​on​ ​the​ ​music​ ​for​ ​his​ ​short​ ​film,​ ​and​ ​after​ ​the​ ​music​ ​was​ ​finished,​ ​the​ ​film ended​ ​up​ ​being​ ​showcased​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Rumschpringe​ ​Film​ ​Festival​ ​in​ ​Lancaster,​ ​PA​ ​that​ ​year!​ ​Seeing​ ​and hearing a​ ​film​ ​that​ ​you​ ​worked​ ​on​ ​in​ ​a​ ​theater​ ​on​ ​a​ ​big​ ​screen​ ​is​ ​thrilling.

Is there a song on your Solstice EP that you had a special experience writing?

Each​ ​song​ ​on​ ​Solstice​ ​definitely​ ​has​ ​a​ ​story​ ​behind​ ​it,​ ​or​ ​at​ ​least​ ​an​ ​emotion,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​think​ ​I​ ​remember writing​ ​“Waiting​ ​For​ ​Good​ ​News”​ ​the​ ​most​ ​clearly​ ​-​ ​I​ ​wrote​ ​it,​ ​unsurprisingly,​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​waiting​ ​for some​ ​good​ ​news,​ ​but​ ​didn’t​ ​know​ ​where​ ​it​ ​was​ ​going​ ​to​ ​come​ ​from.​ ​ ​It​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​those​ ​rare​ ​times when​ ​I​ ​could​ ​hear​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​song,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​layers​ ​and​ ​instruments​ ​and​ ​everything,​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head​ ​before​ ​I sat​ ​down​ ​to​ ​track​ ​it.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​as​ ​if​ ​the​ ​song​ ​was​ ​stuck​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​song​ ​hadn’t​ ​been​ ​written​ ​yet. Of​ ​the​ ​Solstice​ ​tracklisting,​ ​“Waiting​ ​For​ ​Good​ ​News”​ ​also​ ​has​ ​the​ ​most​ ​relatable​ ​message​ ​behind​ ​it​ ​- every​ ​single​ ​person​ ​on​ ​earth,​ ​living​ ​and​ ​dead,​ ​has​ ​waited​ ​for​ ​good​ ​news;​ ​they’ve​ ​hoped​ ​for​ ​something better​ ​to​ ​come.

Do you prefer writing standalone music or scores?

I’m sure each has their perks. There’s​ ​definitely​ ​something​ ​I​ ​love​ ​about​ ​both.​ There​ ​are​ ​also​ ​certain​ ​audiences​ ​that​ ​appreciate​ ​both, and​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​always​ ​overlap.​ ​I​ ​enjoy​ ​writing​ ​standalone​ ​music​ ​for​ ​the​ ​singularity​ ​of​ ​it​ ​-​ ​it​ ​doesn’t​ ​have to​ ​build​ ​up​ ​or​ ​be​ ​thematic,​ ​or​ ​match​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​cues;​ ​standalone​ ​music​ ​has​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​a​ ​story​ ​or​ ​get​ ​an​ ​idea across​ ​without​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​help.​ ​ ​On​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​ ​scores​ ​make​ ​any​ ​visual​ ​art​ ​that​ ​much​ ​more effective​ ​-​ ​I​ ​love​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​add​ ​that​ ​extra​ ​something​ ​that​ ​people​ ​latch​ ​onto​ ​to​ ​heighten​ ​the​ ​experience.

What is your definition of success?

Success,​ ​to​ ​me,​ ​is​ ​accomplishing​ ​goals​ ​I’ve​ ​set​ ​for​ ​myself​ ​while​ ​increasing​ ​my​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​learning something​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way.​ ​Success​ ​also​ ​doesn’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​loud,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​huge,​ ​flashy​ ​spotlight​ ​-​ ​it​ c​an​ ​be, but​ ​that’s​ ​definitely​ ​not​ ​the​ ​only​ ​manifestation​ ​of​ ​success. Success​ ​can​ ​be​ ​small​ ​and​ ​private as​ ​long as​ ​I’ve​ ​accomplished​ ​something​ ​and​ ​learned​ ​something​ ​while​ ​doing​ ​it,​ ​I​ ​consider​ ​that​ ​a​ ​success.

You can find Marissa at www.mhapemanmusic.com/, www.facebook.com/mhapemanmusic/, soundcloud.com/marissahapeman, and mhapemanmusic.bandcamp.com,

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