The LGBTQ community was struck with tragedy when the shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse occurred earlier this month, which was a wake-up call for the country to realize there is still a long way to go when it comes to equality. During this time of support and demands for change, music can be a great healer. Last night, Samsung 837 threw a NYC Pride event with Marina and the Diamonds as the headliner, and the U.K. singer, who has a large LGBTQ following, performed a slew of her quirky pop hits that spoke to the hearts of everyone in the venue.
Marina sung favorites from The Family Jewels, Electra Heart and—her most recent—Froot like "Oh No!," "Hollywood," "Blue," "Bubblegum Bitch," "Forget" and "How to be a Heartbreaker." She looked completely in her (often theatrical) element as she twirled onstage while donning a rainbow cape and dancing with fans in the audience.
Prior to the electric performance, Fuse sat down with Marina Diamandis to discuss her thoughts on the Orlando shooting, the importance of Pride Month and future music plans.
FUSE: In the wake of the Orlando shooting, how much more important is it for you to be performing at Samsung 837’s Pride event?
Marina: The show was being organized, but we didn’t know if I was going to do it for sure. But then after the Orlando shooting, I felt even more pleased do be doing it and proud to be invited, particularly for this Pride Week. It’s all still so shocking, but I couldn’t be more proud. This is actually my first Pride Week, and I’m staying for the Sunday parade as well.
You’ve always had a strong LGBTQ fanbase. What advice or
words of support can you give them?
In a totally kind of perverse and tragic way, it essentially made people who are either part of the community or not even more passionate about discrimination and prejudice. So it’s actually doing nothing but good for the cause, which is a really tragic way for that to happen. People have really rallied together so strongly, it’s heartening to see—particularly in the U.K. It could have felt very removed and isolated, but according to my Twitter feed, people were definitely incredibly passionate about it and saying this community will not be flattened by anything.
This event is all about celebrating Pride, but do you think there is anything the community could work on to be even better for next year?
For someone who is not part of the community but a supporter of it, I feel like something that would be amazing to see in the next—let’s say—five years is to stop the labeling. So instead of saying “I have this queer friend” or “My gay friend blah blah,” like it’s [should] just be “my friend.” And I totally understand the reasons why we have to label and differentiate, and I feel like that’s been the biggest topic of the last year... just educating people about gender, as well as myself, because I didn’t know. But hopefully in the future we won’t need those labels anymore because people will be accepted, and your sexuality won’t be a talking point or something enough to be identified with.
The fans, and myself included, are excited for this performance because you said in April you were going to take a break from music. Does that still apply now?
I guess I am in a sense, but I think there are two things going on. For one, I was just really tired and burnt out doing three albums in five years. Even before my tour had begun, I’d already been promoting [Froot] for like seven months! So it’s a bit of that, but also I’ve lived my career in cycles. So that meant coming back with a big campaign then going silent to think about my next project. Whereas now I don’t really do that, because it’s detrimental mentally to go off tour, and then you’re expected to take this forced break for three months, which is so unnatural for anyone—whether you’re an accountant or a singer. It’s weird taking time off like that. So I’d like to work consistently in the future, so to have more play time and more normal work hours. Just a less extreme lifestyle, so we’ll see!
You’ve always been so vulnerable with the fans, like with the "FAQin Hell" sessions.
Does that translate in America?
Well, you guys have the accent, and we don’t!
Because in the U.K., it’s very, like, East London and kind of cockney to be like “Oh fackin’ hell!” But over here I didn’t know! I never even thought about how that might not actually work!
So why do you choose to be so open with fans? Because a lot
of artists choose to close themselves off.
I don’t like the idea of that. And actually, it’s ludicrous but I really don’t like the idea of fame. I know it’s a massive predicament because I also love having a relationship with fans. So I feel like stuff like “FAQin Hell” helps bridge that gap. Of course they might see me in a certain way, but also hopefully would feel like if we were in the same school we might be friends. They obviously like the music but I think they follow the person more, hopefully because we have something in common.
Are you working on any new music right now or are you
focusing more on personal life?
I actually am! As of the past two weeks, I started writing again. And I really want to be very diverse in the way that I’m writing, so I don’t necessarily want to stick to an album for the next thing that I release. It may be much more dispersed and carefree.
I remember watching Charli XCX’s BBC documentary where you made an appearance. Do you want to continue doing projects like that?
Not at the moment. I kind of toyed with the idea of writing, I wouldn’t say a book, but something on topics that I would like to go in greater depth than I actually can in my career as a musician. That might be a bit further off but I really love doing talks—I did some in the beginning of the year. One at a high school in East London and one at Oxford University, and I really enjoyed that.
Speaking of Charli, social media blew up about that photo shoot plagiarism controversy. You guys have collaborated in the past, so can you set the record straight on where that issue stands?
There’s honestly nothing in which I could comment on about that, but I don’t like to have ill wills with anybody. I think the main thing is that I love art and I love artists, and the effort that I put into my work is huge. So when you see that… I guess in creative industries it’s easy to draw references from things, and they might see something as a reference when it’s really something that took a lot of time to create.
Summer just started and there’s so many cool songs out right now. I want to know what you’ve been listening to!
There’s this Albanian pop singer called Era Istrefi, and she’s got a song called “Bonbon.” It’s so addictive! It’s all in Albanian but I love it. Honestly it’s blowing up and people in the States will know [it], so you should have a listen. She basically sounds like Rihanna.
Below, watch Marina and the Diamonds explain her "Blue" video concept at Lollapalooza 2015: