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Courtney Preste

I took a long break from music and performing when I got married in 2012. I never intended to be away from music for that long, but my focus and priorities shifted to being a mother and taking care of my family. Around 2018, I got a call from a friend of mine who wanted me to be part of an original project he was working on. It started out as a 5- piece deal, but schedules and life got crazy, and we found it more and more difficult to get together. Throughout that process however, I met Matt Marshall, a successful and talented guitar player, vocalist, and songwriter based here in Indy.

He started sending me rough acoustic guitar and piano ideas he’d come up with to see if anything sparked my interest. I remember listening to what eventually became “That’s Enough” for the first time. It felt like a story fell right out of me and onto the page.

Several other songs came to fruition this way and a few others came to me in reverse; lyrics and melody first, music added after the fact. I’d never met anyone I felt comfortable writing with like I did with Matt. There is a level of vulnerability in sharing music and lyrics, and Matt and I just clicked in that way. So, we continued to create songs together. I felt like we were on a path to big things in 2019 and then life decided differently. I got divorced, left my job of six years, moved into my own place, started a new job, and became dependent on alcohol while trying to muddle through the process of completely starting my life over. Matt started struggling with some health issues, COVID hit hard, lockdown made it impossible to collaborate and record, and we sort of just decided to take a bit of a back seat to the things that were out of our control. In December 2021, I decided to get sober. I started a six- week outpatient rehabilitation program and the clearer my mind and body became, the clearer it became that I’d never forgive myself if we didn’t get these songs recorded and out into the airwaves. For years I’d been talking about writing and releasing original music, and for years nothing ever happened. It felt like I was a fraud, and I knew at that point I was the only thing standing in the way of making things happen.

Matt and I recalibrated. His health had gotten better, and he was finally on the mend. I was finally thinking clearly again and on fire to get shit done. I started reaching out to friends in the industry about recording…

Ideally, the goal was to record with a full band, but we decided to start with acoustic recordings to get the songs in rotation, then re-release later as a full band recording.

Releasing the first song, “That’s Enough” was beyond thrilling. It felt like a part of me had yet to be honored until that song started streaming. I’m sober, writing, recording, releasing, collaborating. I have a million ideas a day for networking and bringing musicians together in Indy. It’s been a process to get some of these songs out of me. But getting sober has allowed me to start processing traumas and grief in my life which ultimately is leading to more music. It’s how I share and cope with the things I’ve been through.

It’s how I’ve forced myself to take responsibility for my own actions and to forgive others for theirs. I’m finally back where I belong, and I feel like myself again. I feel like a version of myself I knew existed but was hiding beneath mental health issues and substance abuse disorders, trauma, and self-pity. I’ll be performing a couple of my originals at the Jazz Kitchen on May 28th with GrooveSmash. I’m so thrilled to be part of a band that supports and celebrates my separate endeavors. Natalie Marque has been instrumental in reminding me that just because I’ve been gone from the music scene for a while it doesn’t mean that anyone has forgotten about me. I’m finding my footing again, digging my toes in deep and just going for it. I want people to be able to relate to my stories through song. I want them to sing along and know that these are real experiences I’ve had in my life. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who continue to support me musically and as a human. My second single, “Anything at All” will be releasing in May, and Matt and I are hoping to have a full EP by the end of the year. Xoxo, Courtney

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