James Marrin, also known as LST IN HLYWD, is an independent aspiring musical artist from Markham. On August 3, he released a single entitled "First Time" that he wrote right after seeing his girlfriend for the first time after months of self-isolation.
“This is something I believe everyone can relate to as this is a very hard time, whether it's not being able to see a significant other, friend or family member,” he said.
A few weeks prior to the social distancing shutdown, Marrin was performing in front of hundreds as the Prince in Unionville Theatre’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "Cinderella." This is where he first met his girlfriend.
And then COVID-19 came, and everything changed. Marrin couldn’t practice or play shows with his band anymore, and most importantly, he said, “I could not see my girlfriend for months.”
The young couple missed each other very much, but Marrin’s grandmother is 83 years old with an unstable health condition. “That means if my grandmother got COVID-19, she would more than likely not make it,” Marrin said – that’s why he had to remain in isolation and had to be extra careful.
During the long period of isolation, Marrin started a new solo project, LST IN HLYWD, and it brought him the opportunity to explore music that is more relatable to today’s youth.
Recording real events and emotions are the big motivation for Marrin to write songs, and nothing could be more real than not being able to see a person he loved for months. “I believe there must be many people out there who are facing the same situation.”
When Marrin and his girlfriend were finally able to see each other after three months, the feeling of seeing each other, holding each other's hands and being with each other made it feel like the first time again. It was in this mood that he wrote the song "First Time."
The original intention of writing this song was so that anyone else who couldn’t see their loved ones for a long time could relate to it, and have something that reminded them of the moment when they could finally see them again.
The song was released to an amazing audience reception. A lot of people shared it throughout social media. Marrin’s girlfriend also loved the song from the very beginning, when he first wrote the chorus and sent it to her.
“When my girlfriend first heard the full song, she found it very sweet and every time she hears the song, it takes her back to that day when we could finally see each other again,” Marrin said.
"First Time" is only Marrin’s first original single that he put out as LST IN HLYWD. He has ambitious plans for the future. Although he is only 18 years old, he has been playing at many venues and events around Ontario for the past four years, such as the Youth Day Global and NXNE Toronto.
As an incoming student at Ryerson University, Marrin has chosen to major in the creative industries program, specializing in the music industry and acting/dancing.
Marrin hopes this song can shine a little light on the situation, so that the excitement and anticipation of finally getting to see friends and loved ones makes the world seem a lot brighter.
Here is the link to the full song: open.spotify.com/track/3Oacg7qTjtfu5rX0WctlNX?si=aS7QBB-fTSah9rZ2v-22Rw.
Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun