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With a distinctively dramatic, new wave-influenced vocal delivery and melodic style, Marina's keyboard-driven pop songs vary from melancholic ballads to shimmering electro-pop and theatrical glam. The singer and songwriter released three U.K.- and Billboard 200-charting albums as Marina and the Diamonds during the 2010s before rebranding as simply Marina with 2019's Love + Fear.
Although she often claimed to be from ancient Greece, Marina Diamandis was born in Brynmawr, Wales, to Welsh and Greek parents. After dropping out of four different music courses at four different universities, she decided to forge her own way in music. Adopting the name Marina and the Diamonds, she wrote the bulk of her early material alone, arranging it for a band to ensure that her live shows carried the full energy of her studio recordings. While she often covered musical influences like Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani on-stage, her own songs revealed a more soulful edge, and the variety in her music made it hard to classify. Early comparisons were made to artists including Lene Lovich, Mika, and Florence + the Machine.
Marina and the Diamonds' first single, "Obsessions/Mowgli's Road," was issued in the U.S. by indie label Neon Gold. It was followed later in 2009 by The Crown Jewels EP, which contained three new recordings, including an electronic remix of fan favorite "I Am Not a Robot." After signing with Atlantic Records and playing the British festival circuit in mid-2009, Diamandis briefly returned to the studio to polish her debut album, 2010's The Family Jewels, before hitting the road again. The album reached number five in the U.K. Led by the Top 20 single "Primadonna," her follow-up album, Electra Heart, featured a team of co-writers and producers, including but not limited to Dr. Luke, Diplo, and Greg Kurstin. It topped the album chart in the U.K, and also cracked the Top 40 in the States.
Diamandis' third album, 2015's Froot, was a departure in working style; instead of a large cast of producers, she co-produced the album with David Kosten (Brooke Fraser, Bat for Lashes) and wrote all the songs herself. While still packed with memorable, new wave-inflected pop hooks, Froot was a more personal and evocative production. It reached the Top Ten both in the U.K. and the U.S. as well as charting in Australia, New Zealand, and across Europe.
Diamandis began writing material for her fourth album in 2016, and in 2017, she collaborated with Clean Bandit on their single "Disconnect," joining the group on-stage for the song at that year's Glastonbury Festival. Dropping "the Diamonds," she made her debut as simply Marina with another Clean Bandit collaboration, "Baby." Also featuring singer Luis Fonsi, the song was released in late 2018 and debuted at number 15 on the U.K. singles chart. Her own "Handmade Heaven" followed in February 2019, with the double album Love + Fear arriving that April. The Love side featured the single "Handmade Heaven," produced by Joel Little, as well as the chart-topping hit "Baby," while Fear included a collaboration with Broods, "Emotional Machine." ~ Marcy Donelson & Jack Semmence