If there was a course in heartbeaking, Marina, of Marina and the Diamonds, would be the professor. Leading up to our interview, I'd never been so excited to go to class. The Welsh singer's breakout pop hit "How To Be a Heartbreaker" and its amazingly homoerotic video, from her sophomore album, Electra Heart,
released earlier this year, has been on everyone's lips. Sitting in front of the bodacious singer, it's easy to see how she could make hearts melt. Dressed to the nines, with matching height in pumps, Marina has a constant gigantic smile across her face with the signature heart on her cheek. Rule number one is that you gotta have fun.
Chris Howson: You went blonde for this album, but I caught wind of a story that it wasn’t on purpose, it was actually a wig?
Marina: “I did actually go blonde. It was more like ‘Courtney Love Hole’ kind of blond, though; it wasn’t glamorous! It actually fell out very shortly after I did it . . . it was, like, two inches long . . . What I did was basically get a wig and paint in black roots. I went on for nine months with a wig on . . . everyone was like ‘Marina’s changed!” I was, like, not really (laughs). I was living a lie!”
Do you consider Electra Heart to be a concept album?
“Yeah, I suppose so. Concept albums get such bad raps, though, because it kinda goes back to the heyday of these serious rock albums where rock stars are just basically jacking off on their own records. I don’t want Electra Heart
to be that, but . . . I wanted to tell a story and kind of make a pop soap opera, because that is what my heart is full of.”
When did you decide you were going to base the album on this character Electra Heart?
“I knew from December 2010 . . . but it grows gradually and it wasn’t until really the end when I stepped back and was, like, okay, that’s what I’ve done.”
A major theme for this album is archetypes. Is that a feministic undertone?
“Not consciously . . . I was writing songs about these types of people . . . "Primadonna," "Teen Idle," "Homewrecker," "Bubblegum Bitch," and I thought it would be interesting to add another dimension to it. So I did this photo blog called The Archetypes
. It’s for people who like to fantasize about things. I think imagination is really important.”
Do you think Electra Heart will be sticking around after this tour?
“I think I have to axe her. I think I’ve got about six months to go and I’ll wipe the heart off my cheek, which I’ll be sad about.”
Right now you’re headlining your own tour, but you’ve also done arena tours supporting Katy Perry and Coldplay. Which do you prefer?
“I’ll always prefer performing on my own because of my fans.”
“You’ve been compared to other artists more than anyone else I’ve heard of. Do you consider it a compliment?”
“I loathe it! I think I’ve begun to find it more humorous on this album . . . I actually posted a review from People
magazine and it said ‘Teen Idle’ channels an edgy Katy Perry whilst copying the torch-song element of Lana Del Rey and also Taylor Swift, or something like that. I was like, really? That is the shittest, laziest review ever.”
I’m so excited for the next album.
“What, the third album? (laughs) Oh my god, hold your horses then! You might be waiting a long while.”
Despite being a concept album, Electra Heart got anything but a bad rap, becoming her first number-one album in the UK. Marina is now back on the road with her Lonely Hearts Club
world tour. But not before making me a card-carrying Heartbreaker by bequeathing to me a heart on my cheek. Which, by the way, is rule number three. —Chris Howson
Chris and Marina