Marla Jo is from Los Angeles, California and comes from a long line of professional entertainers and singers on both sides of her family.
In the 1960's, Marla Jo learned to sing before she talked and the music of the Beatles was her first influence.
Marla Jo studied stage and vocal performance at the John Hopkins, Peabody Institute of Music and throughout the 1970's she performed in stage musicals at Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1977, Marla Jo was featured on Baltimore's WJZ-TV, Channel 13
and sang on the vocal track for Oprah Winfrey's "Dialing for Dollars."
After graduation, Marla Jo moved to California where she continued
studies in voice and the music industry at University of Southern
California's Thorton School of Music.
Marla Jo moved to Florida in 1980 and soon became a frequent
entertainer at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater where she met and
impressed the legendary Johnny Mathis.
Mr. Mathis encouraged Marla Jo as an entertainer and invited her to
sing on three tracks of his "I Love My Lady" album
. 1985: Marla Jo's original
song "America's Music"
placed 1st in the State of
Florida and 3rd in the
NATION in the professional
division of the Songwriter's
Guild of America's Song of
the Year competition.
Throughout the late 1980's Marla Jo could be heard singing in Tampa area jingles and advertisements for retailers including Maas Brothers, The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Tampa Bay's 98 ROCK Radio.
In 1995 & '96, "On the Rebound", also known as "Braxton", won the
award for “Best Duo in the Bay” from Tampa Bay's
Music Forum Magazine.
The duo featured lead vocals and keyboards by Marla Jo with
Tom Brown playing acoustic and lead guitar.
The Duo performed six nights a week throughout the Tampa Bay area
including on the Crown Empress Cruise out of John's Pass,
Clearwater's Pier 60, Cha Cha Coconuts,
The University Club of Tampa, The Tarpon Springs Yacht
Club, Rumrunners, The Big Apple Bistro,
The Ringside Cafe, The Ballyhoo Grill, The Peacock Tree
and Clearwater's Old New York New York.
From 1999 – 2010, Marla Jo with the Duo, "Braxton" was a regular performer at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall, opening for National artists such as; Melissa Etheridge, Heart, Keith Urban, Jethro Tull, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, Kenny Loggins and more.
From 2006-2008 Marla Jo played keyboards at Pastor Dave Miles' Victory Worship Church in Holiday, Florida.
In 2009 Marla Jo collaborated with the 1960's legend, Gerri Diamond, writing the title song of Gerri's final album,
Presently, Marla Jo is booking parties, sock hops, luaus and other Holiday shows.
Marla Jo is always looking for new talent and has connected with Dreamlab Recording Studio in Port Richey, Florida to assist with new talent training, promotion and management.
Marla Jo is a versatile entertainer who has worked in the Tampa Bay Area for over 30 years.
She covers Classic Rock, Oldies, Pop, Island, Country, Southern Rock/Blues and Class Standards.
Marla Jo works particularly well with audiences in the age range of 40's to 70's. Playing live keyboards and singing popular styles, Marla Jo uses custom backing tracks to bring the life to any party.