Marina and the Diamonds

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Marina and the Diamonds
Marina and the Diamonds.jpg
Diamandis performing in 2009
Background information
Birth name Marina Lambrini Diamandis
Born (1985-10-10) 10 October 1985 (age 28)
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
Genres Indie pop, new wave, synthpop, dance-pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards, glockenspiel, casio VL-tone, organ, baby pink ukulele
Years active 2005–present
Labels Neon Gold, 679, Atlantic, Chop Shop, Elektra

Marina Lambrini Diamandis (born 10 October 1985), better known by her stage name Marina and the Diamonds, is a Welsh singer-songwriter and musician.[1][2] She rose to fame after reaching number two on the BBC Sound of 2010 poll list, coming second to Ellie Goulding. After releasing one private EP, Diamandis released her second extended play, The Crown Jewels EP, with help from Neon Gold Records, in 2009.[3] Now signed to 679 Recordings, she released her debut full length studio album, The Family Jewels, followed by her third extended play, The American Jewels EP, in 2010. In 2011, Diamandis announced that she was working on her second album, Electra Heart, which was released in April 2012 and topped the charts in the UK and Ireland.

Diamandis' musical style ranges from keyboard-based ballads to more up-tempo new wave-style songs with full band backing.[2] She has cited a wide range of influences such as Daniel Johnston, Blondie, Kylie Minogue, The Distillers, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Garbage, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Britney Spears, Yann Tiersen, Elliott Smith, Dolly Parton, Fiona Apple, Shakira, and Madonna.[4][5][6] Her stage name consists of Diamandis' first name and the translation of her surname, which means "Diamonds" in Greek. "The Diamonds" are not her backing band,[7] but a reference to her fans.[8]


Diamandis was born Marina Lambrini Diamandis (Greek: Μαρίνα-Λαμπρινή Διαμάντη, pronounced [ðʝaˈmadi])[9][10] in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales. Her father is Greek and her mother is Welsh,[11] and she was brought up in the village of Pandy with her parents and her older sister, Lafina.[12] She attended Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, of which she said "I sort of found my talent there... I was the one who always skived off choir, but I had an incredible music teacher who managed to convince me I could do anything."[13] When her parents separated, Diamandis moved to Greece when she was sixteen to live with her father, and attended St. Catherine's British Embassy School, in Athens but returned to Wales two years later.[12]

Diamandis moved to London at eighteen where she attended dance school for two months.[7] Following this, in 2005 she took a one year singing course at Tech Music Schools.[citation needed] Diamandis enrolled in a music degree at the University of East London, transferring in her second year of studies to Middlesex University, but later dropped out.[14] She went for many auditions including the West End musical, The Lion King.[15] Diamandis admitted that she auditioned for a reggae boy band, held by Virgin Records, in 2005 to try to make it into the music business. She said she was "delusional with drive" and ultimately decided to dress up in male attire to try to amuse the record label to sign her, but she was unsuccessful. However, she was called back by the record label a week later.[16][17]

Diamandis has a synaesthetic condition that involves seeing musical notes and days of the week in different colours.[18]

Musical career[edit]

2005–08: Early career[edit]

Diamandis live at the NME Radar Tour

In 2005, Diamandis created the name "Marina and the Diamonds".[19] When describing the origin of the name, she said:

I never envisaged a character, pop project, band or solo artist. I saw a simple group made up of many people who had the same hearts. A space for people with similar ideals who could not fit in to life's pre-made mould. I was terribly awkward for a long time! I really craved to be part of one thing because I never felt too connected to anybody and now I feel I have that all around me.

—Marina Diamandis, [19]

Early demos of Marina and the Diamonds' songs were self-composed and produced on the Apple software application GarageBand.[15] Through Gumtree she found someone to produce a few tracks, for which she paid £500.[20] These demo tracks are on her self-released debut EP Mermaid vs. Sailor which was released on 23 November 2007. The record was created on hand-made CD-Rs by Diamandis and sold through her MySpace page. An estimated seventy copies were sold overall.[21]

In January 2008, Diamandis was first discovered by music scouter Derek Davies of Neon Gold Records. Davies booked Diamandis to open for Belgian-Australian singer Gotye later that year where Warner Music Group first saw her and ended up signing her in October 2008 to 679 Recordings.[20]

Marina and the Diamonds performing at The Bell House in Brooklyn, New York City

Diamandis' debut single was a double A-side consisting of "Obsessions" and "Mowgli's Road" which was issued on Neon Gold Records in the United States on 19 November 2008, followed by her second extended play The Crown Jewels EP on 1 June 2009 featuring her second single "I Am Not a Robot".[22] Her first major label single, a re-recording of "Mowgli's Road", was released on 13 November 2009 under 679 Recordings in the UK and through Atlantic Records in the USA. On 7 December 2009 she was listed on the longlist for the BBC Sound of 2010 poll,[23] and on 7 January 2010 it was announced that she had taken second place.[24]

2009–10: The Family Jewels[edit]

"Mowgli's Road" was re-released as Marina and the Diamonds' debut album's lead single in November 2009.[25] However, the song "Hollywood" was released as the first major single from the album in February 2010.[26] The song performed relatively well, peaking at number twelve in the United Kingdom and charting in the top 20 in Europe. Diamandis' debut album, The Family Jewels, was released on 15 February 2010. It peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart, selling over 27,500 copies in its first week, and was certified silver in the United Kingdom days before its release.[27] Diamandis embarked on her first headlining tour on 14 February 2010 to coincide with the album release, which consisted of seventy dates around the United Kingdom, Ireland, mainland Europe, the United States and Canada.[28] A re-release of "I Am Not a Robot" in April 2010 became the album's third single; Diamandis said she decided to re-release the song because "people seem to empathize and relate with the song, regardless of gender or age."[29] The song peaked at number twenty-six on the UK Singles Chart.[30] "Oh No!" was released as the album's fourth single on 2 August 2010,[31] and the song peaked at number thirty-eight in the United Kingdom.[32] Shampain was released as the album's fifth and final single in the UK and Ireland. The song was an underperformance, peaking at only number 141 in the UK.[33]

In March 2010, Atlantic Records signed Marina and the Diamonds to Chop Shop Records in the United States.[34][35] Before the album's American release in May 2010,[36] Diamandis released her third extended play, The American Jewels EP, digitally and exclusively for the United States in March 2010.[34][35] Diamandis made her North American debut on 14 March 2010 through a series of performances.[37] The Family Jewels peaked at number 138 on the Billboard 200.

Marina and the Diamonds was nominated for Critics' Choice at the 2010 BRIT Awards[38] and came fifth in SHREDnews' "Ten Artists To Watch in 2010" list in March 2010.[39] She also won the award for Best UK & Ireland Act at the 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards.[40]

2011–13: Electra Heart and international breakthrough[edit]

"Electra Heart is the antithesis of everything that I stand for. And the point of introducing her and building a whole concept around her is that she stands for the corrupt side of American ideology, and basically that's the corruption of yourself. My worst fear—that's anyone's worst fear—is losing myself and becoming a vacuous person. And that happens a lot when you're very ambitious."

—Marina and the Diamonds discussing Electra Heart, the album's titular character.[41]

For her second album, Diamandis recorded material with producers Cirkut, Guy Sigsworth, Labrinth, Greg Kurstin, Diplo, Dr. Luke, Stargate and Liam Howe. A promotional single, "Radioactive" produced by Stargate, was released in October 2011. The song reached number twenty-five in the UK.[42] Diamandis posted a demo of the song "Starring Role" on YouTube in November,[43] and a video titled ♡ PART 3: "THE ARCHETYPES" ♡ in December in which she introduced the Electra Heart character and the female archetypes she symbolises.[44]

Marina performing at Michalsky StyleNite of Berlin Fashion Week in 2012

Electra Heart was released on 27 April 2012. The concept album made its debut at number one in both the United Kingdom and Ireland, making it her first album to do so.[45] In the United Kingdom, the album sold over 21,000 copies in its first week. Electra Heart also charted in Europe and Australia, and it became her highest-charting album in the US, peaking at number thirty.[46] The album was preceded by the single "Primadonna" produced by Dr Luke and Cirkut. "Primadonna" became Diamandis' highest-peaking single in the UK to date, peaking at number eleven, and also became her most successful single internationally, being certified platinum in Ireland for sales exceeding 15,000 units and reaching number four on the New Zealand chart, as well as platinum status. Diamandis embarked on her Lonely Hearts Club Tour in May 2012, which consisted of 108 shows and lasted for over a year.[47] "Power & Control" served as the second single from the album in the United

Marina worked with artist Charli XCX (pictured) in "Just Desserts".

Kingdom,[48] whilst "How to Be a Heartbreaker"[49] (which features on the US edition of the album) was released as the second international single and the third UK single. The latter was covered on the US TV show Glee in the episode "Feud".

Diamandis in San Francisco in 2013.

On Christmas Day 2012, the singer performed a cover version of the famous Christmas single "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".[50] On 14 February 2013, a video titled ♡ PART 8: "EVOL" ♡ was uploaded to Marina's YouTube account, featuring the new song "E.V.O.L", that was released for free download via SoundCloud hours later as a Valentine's Day gift from Diamandis to her fans.[51][52] On 2 March 2013, Diamandis released a music video for the song "The State of Dreaming" from Electra Heart on her YouTube account.[53]

On 17 April 2013, Diamandis tweeted "08.08.13" [54] which led fans to believe that would be the date that would mark the death of the character Electra Heart as the music video for "Fear And Loathing", which represented the birth of Electra,[55] was published on 8 August 2011, exactly 2 years before the date mentioned in the tweet. Her Lonely Hearts Club Tour ended on 29 May 2013. On 1 May 2013, Diamandis released the song "Just Desserts" with Charli XCX and premiered it on her YouTube channel. The music video for the song "Lies" from Electra Heart was released in July 2013. On 8 August 2013, a video titled ♡ PART 11: "Electra Heart" ♡ was uploaded to her YouTube account, featuring the album's title track. This video was the final part of her series "The Archetypes" and saw the death of the fictional character Electra Heart, officially ending the Electra Heart era.

2013–present: Third studio album[edit]

On 22 February 2013, Diamandis revealed to Billboard that she had begun writing songs for her third album while in New York City for a month-long stint.[56] In January 2014 music producers Dan Dare and Alex Kaines stated to Twitter Inc. about diamandis's new music "New stuff is sounding really great...". - Kaines, "One word to describe Marina's forthcoming album 'Eclectic' - Dare.


Music style and influences[edit]

Marina and the Diamonds performing at the HMV Picture House in Edinburgh in 2010

Marina and the Diamonds has been influenced by a wide range of musicians from PJ Harvey to Britney Spears.[4] Diamandis has also noted Daniel Johnston as one of her major influences saying:

He really opened me up to a whole new world of music and a whole new perception of what an artist is. For me, he really encouraged me because if you think of someone who has been spoon-fed pop, up until twenty-one years old, and you hear someone like Daniel Johnston you're like "God, this is terrible, but I love it." It sounds like a child has made it, like, the production is so all over the place. He's obviously got something very captivating here yet he doesn't fit the normal mould and people still love him. I thought "if he can do it then [so can I]," that's when I started to produce things myself and play live, even though I wasn't even great on the piano. It's all about emotion and if you have heart, people connect to that.[57]

Diamandis calls herself a "DIY musician"[57] and describes her sound as an alternative to mainstream pop music.[4] In an interview with ClashMusic Diamandis said that she does not come from a musical background and explained "I probably have a bit of a different sound because I don’t really know what I’m doing".[58] Lyrically, she says her music analyzes people and that if she wasn't a musician, she would be a psychologist.[59]

Critics usually catalogue Marina and the Diamonds as a new wave pop artist. In an interview with The Guardian she said, "I suppose I'm an indie artist with pop goals".[5] Although Diamandis has asserted that she never tries to sound like any other artist or copy a genre of music, she has been compared to a variety of artists such as Kate Bush[58] and most commonly Florence and the Machine.[60] PopMatters commented on her vocal delivery and attitude saying it "has a tendency to overshadow the music, which is often melodically inventive, but we are rarely given the chance to realise this."[61] The Guardian's Paul Lester wrote that "her songs are hard to fathom. They veer between simple keyboards-based ballads and more upbeat and catchy, quirky new wave-inflected numbers enhanced by percussion, guitar and drums."[2]

Public image[edit]

As well as her music, Marina and the Diamonds is also notable for her unique attire.[62] When asked in an interview to describe her fashion style in three words, Diamandis said "vintage, cheerleader and cartoon".[63] You can see an element of this style in the video for 'Oh No!' which was released in June 2010. She has praised model/DJ Leigh Lezark's fashion style and called Gwen Stefani her definitive style icon describing her image as "cartoonized but in a very fresh way".[63] Diamandis has mentioned that she sometimes makes her own outfits with clothes she buys from charity shops.[64] She also collects vintage cheer jackets.[63] She has often been seen wearing clothes by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac,[65] Laura Mackness,[66] Beyond Retro,[67] Motel Rocks,[68] Jervoise Jackets[69] amongst others. Diamandis has admitted that she would "like to do something in fashion, not designing, not one of those skanky celebrity lines, but being involved behind the scenes".[12]

As part of Selfridges' "Sound of Music", Diamandis designed her own window display for the London Oxford Street branch in May 2010.[70] She also appeared as a "live mannequin" for the display.[71] Diamandis was featured on Vogue UK's official website throughout November 2010 for a popular sartorial section called "Today I'm Wearing", where she blogged her daily style choices for the fashion website.[72] In December 2010, Diamandis announced on her Twitter that she would be the new face of the Max Factor make-up range Max Colour Effects.



Marina and the Diamonds at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey

In 2009, Marina and the Diamonds played at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in Swindon early in May 2009,[1] Glastonbury Festival in June 2009,[73] and the Reading and Leeds Festivals in August 2009.[74]

In promotion for her album and "Hollywood", Diamandis performed at Brand New: 10 for 10 at London's Dingwalls,[75] had an eleven minute 4Music special – 4Play: Marina and the Diamonds – on Channel 4,[76] performed at T4's Outside-In Festival,[77] New to Q Sessions[78] in January 2010, was a musical guest on GMTV, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, The Review Show in February 2010[79] and Later... with Jools Holland and T4's Frock Me! in April 2010. She performed at the Isle of Wight Festival 2010 and Glastonbury Festival 2010 in June 2010 and is planned to appear at other music festivals across the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and North America.

Diamandis had already sold out the first leg of her first headlining tour, The Family Jewels Tour before the release of her debut album. Her entire tour currently consists of seventy dates across six legs around the United Kingdom, North America, Ireland and mainland Europe.[28][80][81] Diamandis was accompanied by support acts Clock Opera and Alan Pownall for the first leg of her tour and Spark on The Gem Tour.[82]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Nominated work Award Result
2010 BBC Sound of 2010 Marina and the Diamonds Sound of 2010 Second place
2010 BRIT Awards Marina and the Diamonds Critics' Choice Nominated
SHREDnews Marina and the Diamonds Ten Artists To Watch in 2010 Fifth place
2010 NME Awards Marina and the Diamonds Hottest Woman Nominated
2010 BT Digital Music Awards Marina and the Diamonds Breakthrough Artist of the Year Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Marina and the Diamonds Best UK & Irish Act Won
Marina and the Diamonds Best European Act Nominated
UK Festival Awards 2010 Marina and the Diamonds Best Breakthrough Act Nominated
4Music Video Honours Marina and the Diamonds Hottest Girl of 2010 Eighth place
Marina and the Diamonds Box Biggest Breakthrough of 2010 Tenth place
Hollywood Best Video of 2010 Nominated
Virgin Media Music Awards Marina and the Diamonds Best Newcomer Won
2011 Glamour Women of the Year Awards Marina and the Diamonds Best Band Nominated
2012 NME Awards Marina Diamandis Hottest Female Nominated
Popjustice £20 Music Prize Power & Control Shortlist Second place
Attitude Magazine Awards Marina and the Diamonds Best Music Award Won
4Music Video Honours Primadonna Best Video of 2012 Nominated[83]
2013 PopCrush Battle of the Brits Marina and the Diamonds Best Singer/Songwriter Won
Best British Artist[84] Won
2014 TM Top Music Marina and the Diamonds Best Voice[85] Nominated


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  51. ^ "♡ PART 8: "EVOL" ♡". [2]. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  52. ^ "Twitter / MarinasDiamonds: Stream Valentine track ...". [3]. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  53. ^ "♡ PART 9: "STATE OF DREAMING" ♡". [4]. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  54. ^
  55. ^ "♡ PART 1: "FEAR AND LOATHING" ♡". [5]. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
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  68. ^ Get her style! Marina and the Diamonds! — MOTELROCKS BLOG Marina has also been spotted in jewellery by Stolen Thunder, the brand created her diamonds rings and huge diamond sunglasses for her appearance at Glastonbury. . Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  69. ^ Interview // Zoe Jervoise Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  70. ^ "Selfridges Launch 'Sounds of the Mind' Window Displays" Retrieved 31 May 2010.
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  73. ^ "Orange at Glastonbury". 
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  81. ^ In 2011 she was supporting Katy Perry on her "California dreams" tour. In 2013 she started the "Lonely Hearts Club Tour". Her shows was sold out in many places like NYC. Marina and The Diamonds – News – Oct/Nov UK + Ireland Tour Confirmed! Exclusive Pre-Order Tomorrow (05.05) – 4 May 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
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  83. ^ 4Music Video Honours 2012 Best Video – Top 10 1 December 2012
  84. ^ Battle of the British – Championship Round by PopCrush 11 September 2013
  85. ^ TM Top Music: Best Voice 19 January 2014

External links[edit]