It’s been six years and three albums since Marina and the Diamonds (aka Marina Diamandis) first hit our playlists, but it’s only with her latest record, FROOT, that she’s scored a coveted slot on Billboard’s Top 10 chart. Now the 29-year-old Welsh-Greek singer is playing huge arenas, shooting fashion spreads for major magazines, and generally ruling the world. Naturally, that involves calling our super-secret POPULAR iPhone number (shhh!) to tell us all about it…
FROOT is your third album, but the first to hit Top 10…
And it’s the least commercial-sounding record of my career! So it’s very sweet.
Was topping the charts your goal?
No, not this time. Every album I’ve ever made had that goal, except for this one! I tried really hard with the others… This one, I didn’t have any expectations, and I didn’t have any plans with how I wanted it to sound. It was made with a different goal than “be huge…” Although it certainly didn’t come easy; it was hard work to make this record. With this one, I wanted to make an album to document what was going on in my life at the time.
Can you tell us what was going on in your life?
Not really! [Laughing] Sorry!
No worries. So. Your YouTube videos have millions of views, and your Instagram photos have tons of ♥s. But do you ever read the comments?
I do actually! With YouTube, I do read the comments, and I’ve noticed a shift in how people are discussing my music… Now, it’s like, they’ll leave really in-depth comments about what the song made them feel, what the lyrics meant to them. It’s fascinating in a human psychology way! I like knowing how people like certain songs, how they interpret them, and what they respond to. Before, people were just saying, like, “OMG I love you!” That’s really sweet, but this is a different level of fan feedback.
You have amazing stage outfits. What’s the last piece of clothing you bought?
That’s difficult! I’ve been so busy getting free clothes!
Oh, poor you!
Right? Actually, you know what? I bought a really nice suede tan coat on eBay. I love eBay. I’m really into it.
Do you have eBay alerts for anything set up?
Yes! I totally do! I have one that’s “Vivienne Westwood Atlantis Print dress.” That’s like this vintage iconic piece, it’s so great, and of course I couldn’t buy it when it was actually sold. So I had an eBay alert on it for six months. It never came up, but a little shirt version of the dress did, so I was like, “You know what? I’ll get that instead.” And I still love it.
Katy Perry has Jeremy Scott. Rihanna has Alexander Wang. Who’s your fashion partner-in-crime?
At the moment, I’ve been wearing two designers: the Spanish one is called Isabel Garcia. I’ really liking her stuff so I might work with her more. The British one, Mary Benson, has just graduated. She’s done one collection. It’s like a really fun version of ‘70s psychedelic outfits. It’s really fitting for FROOT. She loaned me some things and they’ve been really working out. And of course I have my stylist, Soki Mak, who I’ve really gelled with and who I really see as a collaborator.
Style is such a huge part of being a recording artist. How do you know who to trust with your image?
It’s really tough! You need to find that person who’s really kind of—I don’t know, they read your mind and they share the same vision. And FROOT can go really over-the-top, which is why it’s so much fun.
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?
I think on [the second Marina and the Diamonds album] Electra Heart, my manager at the time told me to continue touring even though I desperately needed to rest. I was in terrible shape. And the advice to put your career over your health? I would never do that again.