For Maritri Garrett, music has always been second nature. She started playing the piano at age 2 and hasn’t stopped since, mastering the keys of the piano and moving on to other instruments. She is classically trained on the cello and taught herself how to play the guitar several years ago. She practiced on her own for two years before deciding to take a lesson. By that time, the instructor thought she was too advanced.
“I went to two lessons with a friend of mine and he was like get out of here, don’t come back,” she laughed.
Garrett has worked as a composer and performed as both a cellist and pianist while also making strides as a singer. Her gift of music has allowed her to transform personal experiences of love, life and loss into stories and timeless songs. She has opened for Gladys Knight and has sung alongside Patti LaBelle, Nina Simone and Barbra Streisand.
“She was lovely,” she said after being asked about what it was like to work with Streisand. “She came to all the rehearsals. She was totally prepared. She was amazing. I just sat there and was like 'Woah.' You don’t expect someone like that to come to all the rehearsals. Maybe just one but she came to all the rehearsals.”
Not only has she shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the music industry, she has also helped train them. Garrett worked with Mary J. Blige as she was prepping for a movie role.
“Originally, she was supposed to be in the Nina Simone film and I was coaching her to play piano and she was fantastic…she was also very lovely to work with,” Garrett said.
Garrett is now focusing on her own music with her band, The Soulfolk Experience. The group will be releasing a new album by the end of the year.