This piece is part of the Algorhythms project: artists telling stories about music they discovered from humans. Because where we discover music is an important part of its impact, and not all music is discovered through an algorithm.
From the basement of his parent’s home in Beirut, Marwan Daou, who performs under the moniker Maro, recorded a cover of Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION’s “Falling Down.” Marwan looks nervous in the video. His voice is soft and his eyes dart from ceiling to camera as he introduces the song, noting that its authors are two of his favorite artists, both of whom are now deceased. His gaze averted, Marwan concludes by asking viewers to give his video a “thumbs up” if they enjoyed what they heard.
That was two years ago. Maro’s cover has since been viewed over one million times and received 86,000 “thumbs up.” He’s uploaded dozens of other covers since then--more Lil Peep and XXX tracks, as well as the music of older generations like Nirvana, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley. Now the 19-year-old is focusing on his own music. “Carsick,” released this past August, captures the viscerality of toxic relationships and marks Maro’s entry into the music industry.
That Maro made a name for himself on YouTube, posting acoustic versions of famous artists’ songs, means his own progress as an artist is not just audibly but also visually perceptible to fans. In a cover of Algerian singer Khaled’s 2012 track “Aicha” Maro uploaded two months ago, he’s ditched the lackadaisical intro and iMovie title cards, and most notably, he now exudes confidence. And considering the following and feedback he’s amassed since uploading his version of “Falling Down,” that confidence is well-earned.
For his Algorhythm, Maro recalls the online crush that pointed him towards Nirvana and the world of grunge music.
"When I was like 14 I met this french girl on facebook, we became internet friends, she used to like rock and grunge music and I wasn’t into that stuff yet, I kinda liked her so obviously I wanted to enjoy the same type of music she listened to, and that's how I came across Nirvana. I quickly got into them and downloaded all of their albums, I was still a beginner at playing the guitar so learning their songs using bar chords got me much better at it. Other than Queen that was my first introduction to the rock/grunge world. Nirvana uses a lot of metaphors in their songs, so that has definitely contributed to my songwriting skills and gave me a different perspective on writing lyrics. As to performing music live, in grunge sometimes it shows that it doesn’t have to be perfect and you’re just having fun with what you’re singing and playing, your energy level, also Kurt's style was dope."
Check out Maro’s first original release and stay tuned for his debut album, slated for release later this fall. Full Algorhythms playlist here.
Looking for an introduction (or reintroduction) to the grunge world? Grey Matter is the music community where artists and listeners discover one another. Learn more and join the community here.