International songwriter also happens to teach fourth grade at Lake Silver

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By Raven Bradjic
Sitting still doesn’t come easy to Marciano.
Students’ work is spread on the floor of the studio as he’s recording. In a few minutes, after he’s called back to sing a hook or collaborate on an ad-lib or harmony, he’ll resume grading papers.
Marciano’s full name is Christopher Marciano Gomes. He’s known as Mr. Gomes by his fourth grade students at Lake Silver Elementary, Christophe’ by his West African family. When the College Park songwriter is recording, he’s simply Marciano.

“I am constantly turning my head to see if I am being called,” he joked.

As a songwriter, Marciano has worked with artists on a local and international scale. His most recent collaboration was with the indie, rhythm and blues, pop and hip-hop recording artist Paul Adey for his latest single, “You Know It.”

“This song is about losing someone and realizing after it is too late, that they could have done more,” said Marciano. “At the same time, they are battling with themselves with whether they were actually wrong in this situation. If you listen closely, you can hear the personalities clashing to come to a conclusion.”

Adey and Marciano’s collaboration on “You Know It” extended beyond writing the love song. The singer and the songwriter also co-created their music video, the first Marciano ever directed and produced.

Marciano described making the video with Adey as one of his proudest achievements. “I have no background in film or directing … For this project, we felt it was important to make our vision come to life and the only way we could have done it, was by doing it ourselves. So, we opened up books and watched a lot of YouTube videos.”

IMG_0033Marciano has collaborated on most of Adey’s songs. Their first and most popular project, “Sinking in Quicksand,” has won several awards since 2014. The internationally released song was featured at one of the world’s biggest music festivals, South by Southwest.

Originally from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Marciano bounced from Ivory Coast, Africa, to New Bedford, Massachusetts, before landing in the Sunshine State. His West African heritage (“I am Cape Verdean and Ivorian,” he explained) meant he grew up predominately speaking Creole, his native language.

“This naturally caused a disconnect once I started school,” recalled Marciano. “I was constantly pulled out of class for speech therapy and I had severe issues communicating with my peers and instructors. Little by little, I started to shut down until I started writing how I felt on paper.”

This disconnect would become the catalyst for his songwriting career. When Marciano couldn’t find the spoken words, he took to a pad and paper to communicate needs and emotions. The words started as simple statements — “[That’s] my bag of Doritos” or “My blocks look better than yours” — before blossoming into poetry.

Aided by “patient teachers,” Marciano learned to translate words into English. Then, as he gained fluency, Marciano started writing music.

“If you take all of the songs that I have written and arrange them in a specific order, you would have my entire life. I write my experiences,” he said. “Remember, this was my only form of communication. Instead of getting angry or crying recklessly, I ran to my notebook and wrote my emotions, my happiness, my excitement, my failures, just everything. It saved me and made me.”

His experience with dedicated teachers inspired Marciano to become Mr. Gomes. His fourth-graders have come to revere their teacher as their own personal celebrity. “Sinking in Quicksand” blasts from parents’ cars every morning and afternoon, and his students often ask when he’ll release his own music. Described as always singing in the classroom, he constantly works students’ creative muscles with promotional video collaborations.

Marciano names his biggest inspiration as Dawn Richard, an artist whose vocal range, lyrical genius and writing prowess has pushed him to think outside of the box. Over the years Marciano has experimented with several genres, including R&B, pop, country, rap and kizomba — a fusion of modern, African rhythm and Haitian kompa that was born in a late-1970s Africa.

“I had a long talk with myself and realized that it would not be right if I did not pay homage to my roots, so … I will be writing and releasing music from my country,” said Marciano. “My family has been waiting and wondering, so I figured I would just release the songs when they least expect it.”

That long talk led to Marciano’s March 19 release of his first Cape Verdean track, “Oh Amor,” a song he wrote and recorded on his computer years ago. His mother has kept it on loop on her playlist ever since, and Marciano recorded this professional, studio version as a birthday surprise to her.

So, can we expect additional projects from Marciano before long?

The forever ambitious Marciano, who has returned to school to pursue his master’s degree, teased: “While I don’t want to say too much about it, I will say that they [my students] will be pretty happy … soon.”

Keep up on the latest with this College Park songwriter by visiting www.marcianomusic.com or on Instagram @MarcianoMusic. His new release, “Oh Amor,” is available exclusively on SoundCloud and YouTube.Artist spotlight

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