KEEPING IT REAL: Marissa’s Story, Part Two

Fri 01 Sep 2023

KEEPING IT REAL: Marissa’s Story, Two
By Marissa Lelogeais 

Check out part one of our Q&A with Marissa. 

How does your music relate to your cerebral palsy, if at all?
So I have my CP to thank for getting me into music. My mom fought to get me into school and the principal told her that it would help me socially if I held my head up when I was interacting with my teachers and peers. Because of my low vision, I held my head down when I  was speaking to people.  However, my mom noticed that there was ONE time where I didn't hold my head down and that was when I was singing. So she contacted a voice coach  here in NYC and asked him if he would give me voice lessons. My posture improved dramatically and music became the ONLY thing that I wanted to do.  

What achievement(s) are you most proud of and why? 
Getting accepted to and graduating from my dream school Berklee College of Music, Performing with my band at Bob Marley's 75th Birthday Celebration in Jamaica at his house, 56 Hope Road. Also, and this might be the thing that I am most proud of — my journey to accepting my identity as a woman with alter abilities. I have faced many roadblocks, but I have slowly begun to adapt to being in my body and not let my challenges define me. They empower me.  

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I hope that people who listen to The Merry Rockers will feel like I do when I listen to music. That they aren't alone, that someone understands what they are going through. That someone empathizes with them and is saying, "It's OK I have been exactly where you are and everything will be OK."  

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
In the next few years, I hope to write a song with  any of these  artists: Kim Petras, Chronixx, Chris Martin of Coldplay, or Lin Manuel Miranda. I would also like to continue to use my music and my life story to change lives and slash stereotypes.  

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to never lose hope. Yes, your life will be a constant struggle, but you'll have your dream job. You will have the best and most supportive group of friends who don't just tolerate you but include you. You'll travel and take care of and accept your body. It will be tough at times but just keep going.  

What do you wish other people knew about what it's like to have cerebral palsy?
That we are people who want to have lives and jobs and friends and to fall in love and be included in the world because the world needs us and we need the world. And to not underestimate us. You may think we are weak but we are really strong. 

What advice would you give others with cerebral palsy?
To never give up on your dreams. It just might take you longer or you might have to take an untraditional route to get them but you can get them.  Also rely on your family and friends to help guide love and support you. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself? 
Please check out my band The Merry Rockers at our website

*Marissa's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

Thu 11 Apr 2024

In the first part of our newest Science Spotlight blog, learn how scientists can harness electricity to help with movement disorders that sometimes accompany cerebral palsy.

Thu 04 Apr 2024

Check out the final part of Rindi and Soren’s story.