Wonderland premieres the new video from rising Nico-esque songstress Marika Hackman. Unsettling, potent and bewitching – her lyricism and unique voice even caught the ear (and eye) of Burberry, who made her one of their campaign models. And as this exclusive video amply displays, it’s no wonder.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in the countryside in the south of England, I had an idyllic childhood spent mainly outside having stick fights with my brother. I am also incredibly fortunate to have had a great education both at school and at home. I think these days artists are expected to have some sort of tortured youth to make their songs valid, this is in no way applicable to me. I love music, I love writing songs, and I think that should be the end of it.
When did you pick up music?
My whole family is very appreciative of music and the house has always been filled with it. I had piano lessons from the age of four, but I dropped it when I was 13 as I’ve always struggled to read music and it was getting too frustrating. I started to teach myself the guitar around that time as I had been learning the bass and drums for a few years and it felt like a very natural progression. it also seemed like the quickest way to get the song out of my head.
What was the first song you wrote and how do you feel about it now?
There was a particularly cheesy one I wrote on the piano when I was about seven. I think my main influences then were probably the Spice Girls and Britney Spears so I think I can forgive myself for that. My first proper song was on the bass when I was 13 and it was called Pancake Parade, which led my teacher to believe I was taking acid on the sly. It also only really consisted of two chords so it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking.
What inspires you?
Nature influences my lyrics a lot, but that’s fairly obvious… Even if the words are very nature-based, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what the song is about though, I think my songs are always fairly open to interpretation. In terms of musical influences I tend to think of them as anyone I’ve listened to obsessively for a period of time, so people probably don’t make connections when I say that Led Zeppelin or Steely Dan are an influence.
There’s a lot of folk singer-songwriters around, how do you think you stand out from the crowd?
I don’t really like to think of myself as a ‘folk’ singer-songwriter. I think ‘folk’ is a blanket term that is being used for anyone with an acoustic guitar and a slightly unusual voice these days. My songs have a darkness about them which is coupled with a slight eccentricity. I like to think that these elements of my song writing set me apart.
What’s next for you in 2012?
My debut single is being released next month, and then I’ll be back in the studio working on an EP for later this year. I’ve also got a slot supporting Benjamin Francis Leftwich on his UK and Ireland tour in October, which is going to be incredible.
Words: Zing Tsjeng
Images: Owen Richards