Finding Gold

07/25/2017 10:49 pm ET

Stef Mariani makes me do things I don’t usually do with positive results. She is a soulful singer/songwriter living in Honolulu, Hawaii and we met through the Grammy community of independent artists, finally after some e-mail exchanges, face-to-face during the February 2017 Grammy weekend festivities. I found myself, as usual, at LA promoter and Grammy nominee Al Walser’s event, The Soiree. Being an introvert by nature and prone to leaning against walls, pillars and whatever borrowing James Dean’s solitary slouch I have of late forced myself to mingle at events and parties. I saw Stef in the crowd with two young women I did not know. Having talked to her briefly at a party the night before I approached. I was greeted with Stef’s usual warm smile and upbeat personality. A mutual Grammy friend described her recently as happy. She told me she and her friends were headed over to the red carpet to take photos and asked me if I wanted to join them. Yes, but, of course, the little voice in my head said no. I have never stepped on the red carpet at The Soiree although I have attended every year. I am self-conscious about red carpet photos of myself and selfies with me in them. But I wanted to join them and Stef’s invitation seemed so genuine I said yes. I was nervous but as we got in front of the photographer Stef and her friends just started to have fun and included me. The resulting photos show four happy people having a good time and I was one of them. Later I found out we are all of Italian heritage, something I didn’t know at the time that the four of us share.

Stef Mariani
Stef Mariani

Shortly after meeting Stef in February I was back in Portland, OR where I spend much of my time alone. It was a difficult day and my thoughts were with a personal matter. There was no one I wanted to call and I did something I never do. I turned Facebook’s chat on thinking maybe someone would show up I might want to talk to. Stef was there and we started exchanging messages. In the course of our discussion I saw an unexpected side of her and I think she saw an unexpected side of me. She was a good listener, kind and considerate and, most of all, helpful. I actually felt better and got a clearer picture of my situation with her input. That day I knew I found a real friend, who through her own personal adversity, was optimistic about life. She could relate to me and share that optimism.

Stef has scheduled release of her third recording, “Stay Gold” for the end of August, 2017. “Stay Gold” is a full length CD produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Tucciarone. A full length documentary about Stef’s life and musical career is in the works with anticipated showings on the film festival circuit. Stay Gold was born out of plea to a close friend to maintain her goodness and not to allow the hardships and the world around her to harden her. Stef gives us some insight into her new work. "It can be really hard to Stay Gold or to stay kind and soft-hearted when faced with difficult trials in life. But by doing just one little thing each week, or each day, you can spread a dash of light and a reflection of universal love. I truly believe that. The record and the documentary highlight that in the small, practical ways you can be the change.” 

Born to Northern California based folk singer songwriter Carolyn Haley-Murray, her biggest musical influence comes from her family. Stef tells us "I don’t recall a time when my mama wasn’t composing and performing. I wish I had her bravery and stage presence." From folk to folk pop and Americana to acoustic rock, Stef also finds her inspiration in artists like The Doobie Brothers, Crosby Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen.

Ever the unerring optimist, Stef’s goal is to uplift the spirits of people so they can feel hope in a tough world. It is Stef’s belief that all things are possible. Mine too. No wonder we each found a new friend.

For more information about Stef Mariani and “Stay Gold” please visit her website:

On the red carpet at Al Walser’s Soiree, February 2017. L to R: Stef Mariani, Susan SurfTone, Tantra Grillo, Rachel Terlizzi.
On the red carpet at Al Walser’s Soiree, February 2017. L to R: Stef Mariani, Susan SurfTone, Tantra Grillo, Rachel Terlizzi.
Stef Mariani
Stef Mariani
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