Photo courtesy of Ella Rubin

Through acoustic sounds and metaphorical language, 17-year-old indie-folk/rock artist Marley Collins reflects on the darkness in her life on her debut EP “Skeletons.”

“Skeletons,” released on Oct. 20, was a cathartic and therapeutic way for Collins to overcome the obstacles that she has faced throughout her high school career. She explains how her collection of songs documents her growth as a person and as an artist in an honest way.

“[The album] begins with me being very complicit to being treated badly,” Collins said. “But as time went on, I realized that I don’t have to take this. ‘Skeletons’ truly displays the change in my mindset.”

Collins started the process of writing the songs during her sophomore year of high school. She was at the peak of her struggle with an eating disorder and was dealing with toxic relationships. These dark situations inspired her to write “Homeland,” the first song of her album.

“I was in a really bad place,” Collins stated. “Throughout high school, I have been struggling with an eating disorder, so ‘Homeland’ was in the thick of it. I was having trouble with relationships and being treated poorly, so it was the perfect storm. It was a way to release those feelings and cope with everything that was happening.”

“A place to rest when you’re not alive, empty streets and empty hearts, an echoing cry,” Collins sings in “Homeland.” Her pain is felt through a deep melody, a simple strum of the guitar, and heart-wrenching lyrics. Her lyrical writing can be compared to works of Hozier and Father John Misty, who Collins said has taught her how to express her feelings and hardships in a metaphorical way. “Sometimes I will write music completely inspired by those artists to figure out how they are using their lyrics.”

Overall, it took Collins about a month to complete the recording of the EP. However, the songs have been in her blood for over two years. A few of the songs appear on her first record, “Homeland,” which was released earlier this year. Although it consists of a couple original songs related to her personal struggles, “Homeland” did not portray a focused message compared to “Skeletons.” For Collins, “Homeland” was an experiment. “Homeland was created just to put music out,” she explains. “I had a feeling of what I wanted to say throughout Skeleton.”

Collins developed a passion for singing at the age of 8. Inspired by her dad, she began playing guitar at age 10. As her interest in music expanded, she decided to bring her talent to the streets of her hometown, San Mateo, California. “When I was 15, I busked downtown San Mateo,” Collins stated. “I would just stand on the corner, put my guitar case out, and play for tips.”

She continued to perform at any place she could find. Beginning in March 2017, Collins performed at multiple open mics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, where she created a network of people who booked her for future shows. Now, she is promoting her name and newly released music at multiple gigs and underground radio stations.

The young artist’s main goal is to become a renowned musician and travel out of state to build popularity. Eventually, she wants to play in Reno at the artistic music venue known as the Holland Project. After she graduates, she will be taking a gap year to pursue her music career and expose her talent to a greater audience.