A woman on the rise, Marlee Silva is one to watch. With a phenomenal knack for storytelling, Silva is bringing stories of mob front and centre with power, grace and passion in her new podcast.
A Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, Silva co-founded the Instagram account, Tiddas4Tiddas, with her younger sister Keely.
This was a move that set her on an incredible path. From having a podcast with a mainstream network, to being a finalists in the 2019 Young People’s Human Rights Medal, to sharing the Q&A Panel with Nova Peris and much more.
“It is like a whirlwind, in a lot of ways I’m just like did that really happen? Is this real life? Was that only a couple of months ago because it feels like 20 years ago?” Silva laughed.
“It is incredible and it is a real honour in a lot of ways to be given the space to … raise my voice in a way that I have and [it’s] exciting because I think there is so much opportunity that comes with being given that space. And kind of being taken seriously by the heavy hitters, which I think is probably something I haven’t reflected on enough.”
Silva is venturing out on her own, kickstarting her own podcast, Always Was, Always Will Be Our Stories.
“My control-freak self is really happy that I have it all in my hands. The stories that we have captured are so cool and not being heard anywhere else. That was the main purpose,” Silva said.
“It is also really great [because] I don’t have to worry about how many followers someone has anymore, or whether they are going to get me a lot of reach because I don’t really care about that and I never really have.
“It fits a lot better, and I find the guests are so much more comfortable when it is just me, and not a producer in the room in a foreign space. It is really good.”
Silva has already assembled a collection of voices, ready to air on June 1.
“People should expect to be blown away by the capabilities of the people I’m speaking to. They … should also expect to find a fair chunk of the stuff pretty emotional, but to feel like it is a couple of blackfullas having a cup of tea and speaking about stuff,” she said.
“It is an extension of the Tiddas4Tiddas ethos where we are a space where we want everyone to be able to come and hear stories and hear these conversations in a safe space.”
Silva will also be adding author to her already incredible CV; her book My Tidda, My Sister is set to hit shelves in September.
“It went into print last week … it is such an emotional experience to spend so much time on something … The stories are so beautiful and I’m so proud of the women that I spoke to and who shared so much of themselves; who were so vulnerable and generous,” she said.
“I think a lot of people, regardless of whether you are Indigenous or not, or even a woman or not, you are going to find a lot of value in what is said by them and their stories of resilience of strength.”
Silva was drawn to telling stories from a young age, a talent that has grown and flourished in the now 24-year-old.
“I have been doing it my whole life. And that’s not an exaggeration, my Mum always tells the stories that she had to stop reading me and my sister bedtime stories because I started making them up by the time, I was five,” she laughed.
“As I have gotten older, I’ve understood that it is an extension of what my ancestors have always done, we have always been storytellers.
“Everything that we are and all that we have made it through is because of our ability to pass down knowledge and expertise and understanding of connection through storytelling.
“I feel like I was born with it in my blood and it was something I’ve always kind of had to do. I feel like I would explode if I wasn’t doing it.”
With a huge year behind her and an even bigger one ahead, Silva is remaining cool and composed through it all.
“I’ve never been long-term in thinking about what I want to do because so many opportunities and so many things I never thought could even be a real thing pop up in the weirdest of ways. I’m kind of really reliant in the universe to push me in the right direction.”
To listen to Silva’s podcast Always Was, Always Will Be Our Stories which drops on June 1, visit the Spotify link below:
By Rachael Knowles