Marina and the Diamonds on touring, writing and leading an army

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I had the opportunity to finally meet Marina Diamandis prior to her show in San Francisco a few weeks ago. We’ve spoken a couple of times previously, but those were both phone conversations. She’s charming in person, as well, and answers questions thoughtfully, taking the time to consider her answers. Read my complete story about her return to her songwriting roots. Until then, here are a few outtakes to prime your pump.

Additionally, you can read my earlier interviews, see photos and watch live videos in the archive.

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Was writing “Electra Heart” more difficult for you, or was it “Froot?”

More difficult on “Electra,” because you’re constantly being challenged. It’s healthy and it’s good for you as an artist. But as a person, it’s incredibly
uncomfortable. And that’s why I did it. I have to do things that make me feel uncomfortable in order to grow. When I say discomfort, I mean fear of putting your ideas and feelings out in front of other people. When you get past that fear, things suddenly become a little easier and more comfortable.

On whether she ever burned herself out while she was touring for “Electra Heart” and writing songs for a follow-up at the same time:

No, ‘cause when you’re on tour, you have a lot of gaps in the day. You get off your tour bus at 10, and then have until 4 (when) I come here and soundcheck. I have … to have something to do; otherwise I’m just going to rot away in a hotel room. I like to walk around the city and think of lyrics and then I’ll go back to my hotel room and start to do things.

Your songs cover a myriad of serious topics, and you have a very dedicated fan base. Have you ever considered giving fans not only your opinions, but direction; like a general directing an army?

Ah; no, because it’s not my job to look after a group of people. I’m just someone who is expressing things that they see in their own life.

You have said: “This is the first album I’ve been properly represented in.” Do you believe you were taken advantage of?

I think the latter. No one would force you to do anything, and you’re an adult. It’s not like you’re a 15-year-old Britney Spears. But in the same breath, I think you can only make the decisions that you think are the best at the time. When I was signed at 22, I made the album I wanted to make at that
point. And with Electra, that was the album that I wanted to make at 26. You just learn as an artist, and as a person as well. You become older you become more astute and comfortable with saying that you don’t like something. It’s a general feeling of being confident

What did the heart symbol on your cheek mean to you, and why had you decided to bypass it this time around?

It was like a trademark. It was something that was very distinctive and noticeable. I’m not playing the character anymore.

You met Britney Spears this week. Charli XCX told me that she meant a lot to both of you, growing up. What does she represent to you, and what did the experience accomplish?

The biggest thing I took away from it was how fans feel. I’m a mega-fan, and I just wanted to be sick before I met her. I was like, “What am I going to say?” How can you make this moment meaningful?” And the truth is, sometimes you can’t. I think the best thing you can (do) is introduce yourself and say your name. Some fans just forget to say that. Say whatever you’d like to say to that person. So I said what I wanted to say to her, and it was very nice, it was very, very, very sweet.

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