Marie Hines: classical pianist, Carolina native, songwriter extraordinaire. Having begun piano lessons at six, she was already writing songs by the age of 12. While Sara Bareilles chose to make her dreams come true in Vegas, Marie opted to test her luck in “Music City”, Nashville, Tennessee.

When she arrived in 2005, she studied commercial piano and voice at Belmont University. By 2010, she had released her first full-length album, “Worth the Fight”. Tuition paid off; the finely crafted title track won songwriting competitions and “Wrapped Up in Love” got picked up by Wal-Mart for Valentine’s Day campaigns.

Since then, she has released three EPs, each of which has performed well, and whose videos have captured hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.  For now, I want to dig deeper into her approach.

As a musician, the question is constantly there of how to make money, and ultimately how to put together not just a flash in the pan of profitability, but a sustainable income. Marie has started this process in a number of ways, but most notably through her affiliation with The Music Bed.

Undoubtedly, her studies of “commercial” arts influenced her song writing process, but the intention of writing the backing track for a Hallmark campaign is a far cry from making it a reality. If I may be so bold, it seems to me that she realized the importance of not only standing out for quality, but for execution. The “marketable” elements of classical music, the psychological effects that soothing orchestral arrangements have, the arrangement of the instruments in relationship to the vocal; all of these are what produce the timeless nature of classical music.

Marie found a niche of sorts: people with a demand for classical music to create a “timeless” atmosphere at celebrations and holidays, combined with an inherent desire be a part of something special and original. What better way to make your wedding unique and special than to have music that is reminiscent of classical music, but as quirky and individual as you?

But where from here? Marie Hines already has the pop classical appeal of Regina Spektor, Sleeping at Last, and Norah Jones; from the business side of things, it will be interesting to see what steps she takes to further separate herself from the pack.