Marina and the Diamonds has her good points. Her first album is great and her recorded voice is wonderful. But just like Lady GaGa, she’s also a pretentious twat and a sell out who takes herself way too seriously. One minute she wants to be a pop star, and the next she doesn’t because she’s too artistic for that. She’s more open than most about her hunger for fame and success, but she has no sense of humor about it and still thinks that she’s above all the other pop tarts in the industry, even when she’s doing the exact same thing as them.
In a new interview with Pop Matters, Marina rambled on about what an emotional struggle it was for her to tour with Katy Perry because Perry’s music isn’t as real or credible as hers, but that Perry is still an amazing person and maybe one day she’ll become the kind of true artist that Marina is.
PopMatters: Thank God for the internet. Now a tricky question: a lot of people were surprised when you opened for Katy Perry last year. Naturally, it makes good sense for exposure, but many would argue she’s a strong example of what’s “wrong” with the music industry today: an almost cartoonishly-attractive woman with a voice that wouldn’t get her past the first audition rounds on American Idol who is about to dethrone Michael Jackson for most number one singles because of a slick writing and production team—including Dr. Luke, who produced your single “Primadonna”—and the gift of auto-tune. Your records both pretty blatantly critique this very thing. How do you reconcile the content of your music with the choice to go on that tour?
Marina: It’s quite a controversial question and maybe the answer I’m about to give is as well, because it really was quite hard for me to make the decision. I had been kind of rallying against that [very thing], and I had to ask myself why I was doing the tour. [Katy] asking me to support the tour really made me question a huge amount of things I had been thinking about music. I was one of those people really who was like ‘oh this kind of music is not good, it doesn’t have weight or credibility.’ But I don’t think that’s something she’s ever claimed to have. And I think people who love her know that she is a real artist, maybe just not in the way you or I think of it. And also, let’s not forget, she’s only on her second album. You don’t know, in ten years what kind of music she’ll be making. So I kind of weighed it up and thought, well, the thing that’s stopping me from going is that I feel slightly hypocritical. And then the thing that makes me want to go is that I think I should go, and kind of challenge my own previous beliefs. So I did go. And it did change a lot of things for me. Not necessarily her and her show, but just the whole experience of it. And yeah, I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s fucking excellent at what she does. I don’t think career wise we’re on the same trajectory at all, though.
When Marina says that she went on the tour to “challenge [her] own personal beliefs”, what she meant was that she went because she really wanted to sell some more records and the exposure was too good to pass up.
Also, is Marina aware that Katy actually writes or co-writes all of her songs, just like she does? And does Marina realize that her own Electra Heart album is literally just One of the Boys and Teenage Dream mashed together, but instead of all the flawless No. 1 hits, it’s filled with all the cheap Dr. Luke tracks that weren’t good enough for Ke$ha, Katy, and Britney?
“I know people hate to think of artists in a business-like way because art is meant to be about romance and fantasy, of course. But I didn’t go and work with [producer] Dr. Luke for an album track. I wanted to get some singles, because I recognized that I needed to be opening myself up to a broader audience. Not to get them to like me for singles, but to introduce them to my past work and my current work as well. And that really did help a lot. And I think without having transitioned to this sound I’m not sure where I would have gone. I probably would have gone deeper down the indie rock path and maybe continued to fill some venues in the UK, but I’m not sure I would be doing the same numbers in America and managing to sell out these big theaters now.”
Basically, Marina thinks that people like Katy Perry, who went from “rock” to radio fodder, aren’t really credible in the same way that she is, because when she did the exact same thing, it was just her way of toying with pop’s cliches and adding substance to an empty medium and it’s actually very artistic and intelligent. But only when she does it. Not Katy. Or Lady GaGa. Or Ke$ha. Just Marina.