“This line is so sketchy!” says Marina Lambrini Diamandis (better known by her stage name, Marina and the Diamonds). But despite the fallible international phone connection, the Welsh indie-pop artist’s refreshing truthfulness is not impeded as she promotes her latest album, FROOT.
Marina can be heard loud and clear while serving major dish to Chris Azzopardi on a variety of hot topics: lesbian rumors, Katy Perry parties, interviews she calls “complete shit” and what she thinks of artists who pander to the gay community (Hint: “It’s insulting”).
Dallas Voice: So, your new album, Marina: I cried. Noooo!
Was the experience of creating the music as emotional of an experience for you? Yeah. I mean, maybe in a less intense way because I was writing it for over 18 months. With everything I’m very kind of exposed, but particularly so with this one.
How did you end up making an album that’s very much about self-confidence and loving yourself first? I can’t really tell you. There’s not an answer for the way I got to that point. The relationship you have with yourself — you can’t really orchestrate that or make that happen. It’s more than just a point you get to in your life. It was very gradual. Obviously, I must’ve got to a point where I was inspired enough to write about it for songs like “Happy,” but that was quite late in [the recording stage], so songs like “Immortal” and “Gold” were written on the way to getting to that point, if that makes sense.
So you were working yourself out as you went along? Yeah, totally.
The album really resonates with me in a way that I think will also resonate with a lot of people in the LGBT community. A lot of the reason I think I have a gay fan base is because a lot of the themes, and the core of the songs, are usually stemming from something to do with identity or acceptance. I know that I always felt like that and I don’t anymore. FROOT definitely focuses on that, but I suppose, yeah, it is a lot about letting go of certain things. Anyone who feels rejection, prejudice or discrimination in some way would connect to that.
When we spoke in 2012, you were reluctant to gush too much about your gay fan base. At the time you said, “I don’t want to be a cliché pop star saying, ‘I love my gays!’” When does talking about one’s gay fan base become a cliché? It’s not that it’s a cliché — it’s more that, perhaps, I was cynical about it. I felt that people in pop use that to express themselves in that way for calculated means because they know the gay fan base is extremely loyal and extremely expressive and is a tastemaker demographic. You know what I mean? It’s like, “Oh, god.” It’s insulting to both sides.
I kind of feel the same way now, because, yeah, of course I have a really strong gay fan base, and the fact is that it is a really enjoyable factor for me to have a really strong demographic because it makes the shows a lot more fun, for one, and because they are really expressive. But all types of people should be appreciated. I’m sure the gays would back me up on that!Do you think the appreciation of one’s following can morph into pandering? On Twitter, I don’t really like it when I see loads of messages from an artist saying [in baby voice] “I love you guys! I love you guys! I love you guys!” because I don’t think there’s any kind of intelligence in that. Also, how can you be genuine and say that so many times? Maybe that’s when it becomes pandering, when you’re dumbing down your fan base.