Marjory Lee is a South Carolina bred artist-songwriter. Her versatility combines the Southern roots and charm of South Carolina, the musicality of Nashville, and fun-loving “Key Weirdness” of Key West. Her artistic paradox baffles the senses with her striking vocals similar to the fiery sounds of Gladys Knight and Amy Winehouse and her light-hearted, often witty presence. It’s easily recognizable the way she has somehow woven her life experiences into her sound and live performances, naturally connecting her with any crowd.
After her first time on stage at the age of 4 singing Doctor Dolittle’s “Talk To The Animals” in a local talent show, Marjory Lee continued performing on a variety of stages ranging from talent competitions (dancing and costumes bedazzled with rhinestones and fringe) to singing the Star Spangled Banner for the 1998 Opening of the US Open Tennis Tournament to performing Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” on ABC’s The View.
Still too young to jump rope, her uncle recruited his friend Marlena Smalls (whom you may know as Bubba Gump’s mom that passes out in the movie Forrest Gump) to keep an eye on her and guide her through the wonders of growing up and her ever changing voice. Marlena Smalls is a phenomenal vocalist, preserver of Gullah culture, and savvy business woman. At the age of 12, Marjory Lee had the opportunity to perform as a guest with Marlena Smalls & The Hallelujah Singers at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Marlena taught her some of the largest lessons in performance and perseverance. When crying in her lap with Bronchitis trying to convince Marlena she couldn’t perform at the show that evening, Marlena’s words still resonate with Marjory Lee after all these years, “No. You are performing tonight. You will get on stage and you will make it come out.”
She started playing piano at the age of 5, but guitar was always her true passion. At the age of 7, her aunt began dating a Grammy Award winning Jazz guitarist by the name of Earl Klugh. What are the odds? A prodigy on the classical guitar, he told Marjory Lee that he would purchase her first guitar with one stipulation - she must train classically. There began the fun of playing guitar while reading sheet music. Earl was also the first to ever challenge her to write her own music and was a driving force behind her beginnings at songwriting. Years later, Earl’s guidance and support led her to performing at the Earl Klugh Weekend of Jazz at luxurious venues such as The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, SC.
It wasn’t until around 15 years old that Marjory Lee began performing her own original music. At 17, she went on to Belmont University in Nashville, TN for a Music Business degree with an Emphasis on Marketing and Management. Through all the twists and turns of the music industry, she had the good fortune of working with Charles English and Teddy Gentry of Alabama doing shows together and assisting in her musical production. After college, some of her most notable musical accomplishments were opening for Toby Keith, Rodney Atkins, and Eric Paslay, performing for the Alabama and Friends Festival at Sea in the Bahamas, and touring the UK, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, and Hungary to entertain the Armed Forces.
As a BMI writer, the Nashville veteran has participated in numerous songwriting events and festivals including the Key West Songwriters Festival, Tin Pan South, and Frank Brown Songwriters Festival. Marjory Lee had five cuts on LifeTime’s movie Status: Unknown starring Stephen Colleti (One Tree Hill/ Laguna Beach) including her original songs “Criminal Kinda Love”, “Come Back Around”, “Shake It Off”, “Before You”, and “Taxi” from her album Little Red Heart. In 2017, she had “Runaway” (written with Nicole Frechette) air on HGTV’s Property Brothers. Since moving to Key West, she has been focusing on writing her next album and showcasing new music in scenes such as the The Sunday Ramble and The Songwriter Speakeasy at the Key West Theater.
Following up her last EP Bottled Lightning produced by Alabama’s Teddy Gentry and Charles English, Marjory Lee is back in the studio in Key West with musical whiz kid Andy Westcott.