In the spotlight – Marouli

In the spotlight – Marouli

Marouli (UK), led by musician and composer Graham McCusker, released their debut album ‘Tall Tales from a Distant Uncle’ in October 2022. The album draws elements from blues, rock and throwback pop, creating a cinematic sound that is classic yet fresh. The record, which has beautiful stories woven throughout, pays homage to Billy Connolly’s storytelling tradition and was created after Graham beat leukaemia.

I talked to Graham McCusker about Marouli’s debut album, his inspiration to write music and more.

How and when did Marouli form? And what is the meaning behind the band name?

“I met keyboard player Alex Hill when we were students in 2018 and with the addition of three college friends, the lineup was complete and Marouli was born.”

“The meaning behind the band name was one of many nonsense words that the band enjoyed throwing around the room when thinking of a suitable name. It rhymed with Patchouli initially, however, it turns out that it means ‘Lettuce’ in Greek.”

You come from a musical family with your dad being an opera singer and your mum a singing teacher. Was a career in music something that you always knew you wanted to pursue?

“It has always been what I’ve wanted to do, my whole life – listening and performing classical/rock/jazz music from a young age, 4 years old I think I was first paid for a gig. It was incredibly exciting and fun. And I caught the bug, I guess.”

What kind of sounds were playing around you as you were growing up?

“Well, my dad is an opera singer and my mum is a singer, pianist and private teacher. So a mix of Classical, Opera, Musical Theatre and Jazz.”

What artists, would you say, have played a significant influence on you as a musician and songwriter?

“Pffft, this is not an easy one, as I’m sure it isn’t for many to answer, but I remember Steely Dan, Ray Charles, J.S. Bach, Ben Folds, The Mars Volta, Yes, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Elgar, Debussy, Phil Collins…we could be here for a while.”

When was your very first recording and release? Has your sound changed since you wrote your first song?

“The album ‘Tall Tales from a Distant Uncle’ came out on 28th October 2022 so fairly recently. The first single, ‘Let Her Go’ was out in December 2021 however.”

“Yes, I think it’s always developing in some way or form. You learn continuously what is possible, what works and what doesn’t, what you want more of and what you want less of.”

When fans recommend your music to others, what song do you hope they choose first?

“I’ve learned behaviour, so I am just extremely chuffed to have people listening to what I am creating. Maybe one that’s not been released as a single!”

Why did you name your debut album ‘Tall Tales from a Distant Uncle’?

“The record, which has stories woven throughout, pays homage to Billy Connolly’s storytelling tradition and was created after I beat leukaemia.”

Can you talk about some of the musical influences on the album?

“Of course, there’s a wide range of influences on this one to be honest, Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula, Donald Fagen, David Bowie.”

Is there anything you would like us to know about your song ‘Where Do They Go’ that’s currently in our chart?

“I guess, it is a simple tale and journey of life. Let’s get on with it and enjoy the ride.”

What sparks your inspiration to write music?

“Mainly the sheer enjoyment of doing it and I have been unfortunate in my life so far, having to battle cancer twice in my life so far and only being 33, I’ve had a lot of time where I’ve been inspired by the thoughts from that…if you can call it inspiring haha silver linings?”

As a songwriter, is there any particular atmosphere you try to achieve with your work?

“I think each song, I try to give it a personality and hopefully convey an emotional picture to the listener.”

You had cancer twice. I imagine that changes your perspective on life. When you look back on your life, what do you want to look back on and be proud of? Not just music, but you as a person?

“Yeah, it’s not been an easy ride since turning 26 years old, now I am 33, so it has been rather interrupted since then shall we say. The stats were 1 in 14 million chances of that particular type of leukemia, and a genetic neck tumour was the second – not related at all. So bad luck there on both occasions.”

“I can be proud to have shared some incredible days/weeks/months making music with some beautiful people. A recent Netflix film release in February that I wrote some vocal music for was number in the world on the streaming service for a few weeks!”

You have written songs to various TV/Film projects. What would be your dream series or film to feature your music?

“Probably a police/crime drama like The Killing, Happy Valley, Homeland or something similar.”

What would you think the title would be if someone wrote a biography about you?

“That would be “Probably the gassiest musician I know” – I tend to have a lot of gas if you know what I mean. I never stop talking about music …..“

What’s on the horizon?

“The main thing is, the second album is on the horizon – it’s actually nearly fully been recorded! I think it’s going to be better than the first and can’t wait to share it with you!”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“‘Devil’s Kettle’ by Trapper Schoepp – it’s just got a really cool as hell vibe about it. Such an incredibly groovy, lazy, smooth groove. Just makes your head flop around like a daffodil in the wind.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“I’d like to add ‘Thoughts on a Thursday’ by Marouli. I would like to add this as a bonus track, please, as I feel it’s a slightly under-appreciated song on the album that doesn’t get many plays 🙂 I enjoyed the range of vocals from start-finsh, the falsetto in the chorus when recording it especially was enjoyable.”

Marouli on social media:

Facebook – @maroulimusic

Instagram – @maroulimusic

Website –

BandCamp –

Listen to the album –


Leave a Reply