Heroes: Marina

Heroes: Marina

The primadonna girl comes to terms with her unvarnished self, but her emotions run high as ever.

The primadonna girl comes to terms with her unvarnished self, but her emotions run high as ever.

Photography: Camille Summers-Valli

Styling: Kate Iorga

Text: Grant Klarich Johnson

Just call her Marina. With her forthcoming album, the artist widely known as Marina and the Diamonds bears a more stripped-down self, and a mononym to match. "I feel like Marina and the Diamonds was just one chapter of my life," says the singer, born Marina Diamandis in South Wales. "It lasted 10 years, and it just feels wrong to continue under it."

Attempting to condense the four years that have passed since her last album, 2015's Froot, Marina settles on two over-arching themes: love and fear. The coming album, aptly named Love + Fear, flows between these emotional poles: "There are songs connected to feelings of love, joy, and happiness," she says, "and then there are songs that are simply rooted in fear." Tracks from the "Love" column, like "Enjoy", wrap listeners in Marina's direct, never too conceptually burdened lyrics. "Don't waste your time regretting," it reminds. "Enjoy your life." In the seductive, "Orange Trees," the pastoral pleasure of a citrus grove becomes a symbol for the splendor of uncomplicated love, with evocative lines like "flowers in my hair, I belong by the sea." It is, like all of Marina's strongest tracks, a transporting fantasy bedrocked by real feeling.

Citing the theories of psychologist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Marina describes the "Fear" tracks as explorations of "subjects that have been a lot harder for me to work through and understand." Those subjects range from a sense of purpose, like in "Handmade Heaven," which begins with the line, "I envy the birds so high up in the trees, they live out their lives so purposefully;" to the #MeToo reckoning: "Karma," she says, was inspired by "major shifts in our social conscience regarding the systematic misogyny and sexual abuse employed by powerful figures in the media."

This emotional candor will be echoed in the album's visual presentation. In lieu of the glitz and rainbows that defined earlier albums like Froot and Electra Heart, Marina says she looks forward to "being a lot looser," trading her elaborately crafted stage presence for deeper points of reference like "nature, [and] a really underlying desire for more of a natural theme for my life."

Other tracks include the Latin-infused "Baby," a follow-up collaboration with the electro outfit Clean Bandit, of which her boyfriend Jack Patterson is a member. The couple met writing the single "Disconnect," but hadn't worked together since. "After that we didn't write together again, because I just found it too weird," says Marina. "I thought, what am I going to write about? Being in love with you? It won't work," she say with a laugh. Their reunion as collaborators, and the song's firm position in the album's "Love" category, makes it clear that Marina and Patterson have found a way to make it work. Love + Fear emerges into a world distinct from that which greeted her last album. Reflecting on hw her Greek heritage, and more abstractly, her artistic mission, factors into a Brexit-charged England, Marina says her "focus is [on] unity." She is hopeful that, by considering these themes, music may offer a balm. "So much has changed," she says. "Not just in the music industry but in the world. I feel like that has been such a painful theme for a lot of people these past few years, and that's not something to be swept under the rug."

EARRINGS: Tiffany & Co.
Credits: Casting by Ian Monroe

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