Marina and the Diamonds (born Marina Lambrini Diamandis, 10.10.1985)
Marina and the Diamonds is a Welsh singer and songwriter who rose to fame after being selected for the BBC Sound of 2010 poll, which was eventually won by Ellie Goulding. The 'Diamonds' in Marina's stage name refers not to her backing band, but apparently to her fans. 'Diamonds' is the translation of her Greek surname. Marina has stated that artists such as Blondie, Patti Smith and Kate Bush are amongst her primary musical influences.
Marina and the Diamonds: Childhood
Marina Diamandis was born to a Greek father and Welsh mother in Abergavenny, in Wales, where she attended St. Catherine's British Embassy School and Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls.
Diamandis' parents separated when she was a teenager. She moved to Greece to live with her father, but returned two years later to live with her mothering Wales. Marina briefly attended university, but dropped out and moved to London, aged 18, where she attended dance school and then a one-year singing course at 'Vocaltech'. She has stated that she was so eager to get into the music business, that she once auditioned for a boy band.
Marina and the Diamonds: Music
Diamandis' first demo tapes were composed on Garageband (Apple computers' software). The songs that she recorded eventually turned up on her EP 'Mermaid vs. Sailor' EP. This debut Marina and the Diamonds CD was distributed via her MySpace page.
Her music was then discovered by Derek Davies from Neon Gold Records. He booked her to open up for the Australian singer Gotye, where she was spotted by representatives of Warner Music Group. The label eventually signed Marina and the Diamonds to 679 Recordings in 2008.
The debut single proper from Marina and the Diamonds was 'Obsessions', backed with 'Mowgli's Road'. The next release was another EP, entitled 'The Crown Jewels EP', in June 2009. Marina was selected for the BBC's Sound of 2010 poll and on 7th January 2010, it was announced that she had been placed second, behind Ellie Goulding. Other artists on the list included Hurts, the Drums and Delphic. Marina and the Diamonds was also nominated for the 2010 Critics Choice Award at the BRIT Awards.
Marina and the Diamonds' debut album The Family Jewels was released in February 2010. It peaked at number five in the UK Album chart, with a re-release of 'Mowgli's Road' being the lead single form the album, followed by 'Hollywood'. The track 'I Am Not A Robot' was released in April 2010 and received widespread mainstream radio airplay. 'Shampain' was cued up to be the fourth release from The Family Jewels.
Through the early months of 2010, Marina and the Diamonds started collaborating with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and the producer Benny Blanco. Marina expressed excitement at working with the pair and hinted at a possible extended re-release of her album, similar to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster.
In the United States, Marina and the Diamonds are signed to Chop Shop Records, who released the USA exclusive EP, The American Jewels.
The backing band for Marina and the Diamonds consists of Peter Carr and Jonathan Shone on keyboards, Dan Gulino on bass and Sebastian Sternberg.