Austin’s favorite boogie-woogie queen gave us a peek inside her home studio.

By Courtney Runn, Photos By Kara E. Henderson

Marcia Ball is taking her 70th trip around the sun this year and still shining as brightly as ever. In 2018, she released her aptly titled album Shine Bright and is planning to celebrate her milestone year with a birthday bash at Antone’s later this month. Ball showed us around her home studio, where all the magic happens. With everything from fan gifts to local art to treasures picked up from a life on the road, her studio embodies her bright, colorful, funky, soulful career—and proves she’s still the life of every party.

On being inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame

“Being in Austin and being part of the Austin music scene is my life. … Being inducted in the hall of fame kind of validates that choice.”

On her favorite venue to play in Austin

“Antone’s is still my home and has been all these years.”

On her inspiration for Shine Bright

“I was in H-E-B and I passed a table full of paper goods and there was a notebook, one of those little composition books, that said ‘Shine Bright’ on the front. And I thought, ‘I really, really like that idea.’ So, that was the first song that I wrote for the project. It encourages people to be aggressively good, to reach out and do the best you can.”

On decorating her studio

“For years, I traveled in a van and trailer, which meant if I found something I liked, I could take it home.”

On the Austin music scene’s evolution

“It’s still incredibly vibrant and creative. We have more great musicians probably than ever here. It’s also unfortunately more difficult to make a living here, not just because of the rising cost of living in Austin, but some changes in the way the music business pays its writers and its performers. So, it’s hard. And yet, people are still writing songs and making records and playing gigs.”

Celebrate Marcia Ball’s 70th birthday, featuring the birthday girl and special guests, the last weekend in March at Antone’s. The event will benefit Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers, or HOME, as well as the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM.


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