Mariel was born in 1988 in the California bay area, a humble home of musicians, artists, organic weed growers and LGBT rights activists. Some of Mariel's first memories were immersed in music. One 4th of July afternoon, the Austin family household was abuzz with party guests sipping beer as their children played in the back yard, The Cranberries playing on the stereo in the living room. On this afternoon, 3-year-old Mariel was in a daring mood and decided to steal a wooden spoon from the kitchen. She then ran into the living room and brandished the spoon as an electric guitar in front of a puzzled group of adults, her parents included. Once capturing her audience's attention she started striking her spoon like a brazen rock star and belted along to the chorus of Zombie by the Cranberries, coming from the living room stereo. Dad was quick on his feet and captured this spontaneous musical outburst on the family camcorder. The home movie is still floating around to this day.
Fast-forward about four years later.....by age seven Mariel's parents recognized her thirst for music and had signed her up for voice lessons through the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC), a program in which her older sisters were already enrolled. From Gregorian chants and Chinese poetry to Balkan folk songs and Broadway show tunes, she had begun to sow her soon-to-be diverse musical palette. At some point in her training she discovered she had absolute pitch (also known as perfect pitch) and was further encouraged by her family, friends and teachers to pursue music. So throughout the years of elementary school Mariel had taken up piano, flute, clarinet and alto sax, each with newfound ferocity.