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MARINA Tells The Story Of Her New Name

Music
Photos by Lauren Perlstein

She's getting rid of her old personas and becoming more fully herself

MARINA, the Welsh-Greek pop singer formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds (and born Marina Diamandis), has always been good at getting rid of things she doesn't want. "I don't own much," MARINA says, perched on a velvet couch at NYLON's offices in New York. Her jet-black hair is pulled back at the nape of her neck. She wears black leggings, a powder-blue sweater, and white sneakers. Her nails, the only trace of glam from the photo shoot she's wrapped just minutes before, are painted cherry-red.

"People would be shocked at how little clothing I have," she continues. "The amount that you're given and collect over the years—costumes, stuff like that—it literally gives me anxiety. Honestly, just seeing those coats on the rack, I'm just like"—a yelp-squeak escapes from her throat—"Ahhh!" She dissolves into laughter, then continues: "Even when I didn't actually have that much to throw out, back in the day, I've always been good at culling things."

Last December, ahead of the release of her fourth studio album, Love + Fear, Diamandis nixed something else: the latter half of her moniker. As Marina and the Diamonds, Diamandis, now 33, made a name for herself as a pop star, albeit a left-of-center one, with three very different albums: The Family Jewels (2010), a quirky indie pop record; Electra Heart (2012), a glittery concept album from the point of view of a character of the same name who represented four female archetypes in American pop culture; and Froot (2015), which Diamandis wrote entirely herself and recorded with a live band.

Of the three, Froot was the biggest success—it was a hit with critics and also peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard charts in North America. The album was also Diamandis' reassertion of her own identity after Electra Heart. While touring to support the album, she styled herself like her alter ego, with dyed blonde hair and a black heart below her left eye, where a tear would fall. Ahead of Froot, she "killed" Electra Heart, with sleeping pills, in a music video.

Marina is wearing a PH5 jumpsuit, a Rachel Comey blouse, Nicole Saldaña shoes, and Lizzie Fortunato earrings.

But ironically, it was after stripping herself down on Froot that Diamandis started questioning whether or not she wanted to keep making music: "I'd always had this internal North Star that guided me," she says. "Suddenly, I was like, I don't know where I am. I don't know who I am. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Did I even do anything good with music? What's my contribution in life?"

As she struggled to answer these "very big questions," she continued writing on and off until she hit a wall: "I think at a certain point, I was like, Okay, I'm definitely not going to do this anymore,'" she says. "And I just allowed myself to quit, and that somehow cleared something."

Once Diamandis gave herself permission to stop, she did something she'd missed out on as a young adult: She went back to school, at the University of London, taking courses in psychology as well as acting, painting, and floristry. "I was kind of catching up on the past 10 years," she says. "I didn't really think about music. I was actually so happy. I loved studying. I loved going to the library, being with a completely different group of people. And then, for some reason, that freed something up in me. I started to write [music] again, from a new but original place that was very pure and second-nature to me."

Once she had her fresh start, it was actually psychology that helped her conceptualize her new album. Specifically, it was a theory from the Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: There are only two primary emotions, love and fear, and our choices are motivated by one or the other. Diamandis found that once she considered her new songs, she could easily sort them into those two categories, ultimately deciding to release two eight-song halves together. (Diamandis surprise-dropped Love earlier this month.)

Diamandis views the whole collection as contemporary, effortless pop. "I say effortless because I definitely didn't think I was going to do a record like this," she explains. "In the beginning, I thought I was going to write another one all on my own and record it with a super-simple, live band in two weeks. But then it ended up that I started to really love collaborating."

The last time Diamandis collaborated with groups of songwriters and producers, on Electra Heart, they were mostly men decades her senior, including Dr. Luke, Stargate, Greg Kurstin, and Liam Howe. This go-round, they're her peers, including Captain Cuts, Wolf Cousins (Max Martin and Shellback's songwriting collective), and Alex Hope. Georgia Nott, one-half of the New Zealand pop duo Broods (and Diamandis' Neon Gold labelmate) co-wrote and sang backing vocals on "Emotional Machine"; Jack Patterson, one-third of the English electronic outfit Clean Bandit (and Diamandis' real-life boyfriend), co-produced three tracks. (Clean Bandit, along with Luis Fonsi, is also featured on "Baby," a danceable, Latin-infused single about longing for a past love.)

Although Love + Fear contains self-love anthems, like the carefree "Enjoy Your Life," Diamandis' exploration of romantic love centers on her four-year-long relationship with Patterson. On the minor-key bop "Superstar," Diamandis pays homage to her partner: "I like the idea of writing a song about how someone is the light in your life," she says. "I know that sounds kind of cringe-y"—she laughs—"but that's what I wrote it about, you know? It's a love story. I was just kind of meditating on the progress of the relationship but also myself and how I viewed love. [Patterson] was really the first person who I felt completely at ease with, and that's very, very hard to find."

Marina is wearing an Aritzia top, DROMe pants, Nicole Saldaña shoes, and Alexis Bittar earrings.

Once Diamandis found herself in a healthy relationship, however, it was difficult for her to believe it was real. On "Believe In Love," she confronts how her past negative experiences have hindered her ability to trust: "Losing you is what I'm afraid of," she sings before drifting up into her falsetto, repeating an affirmation: "I need to believe, believe in love." Of the song, she says: "I think when you love someone really hard, any kind of attachment fears you've had in the past really come to the surface, and you have to deal with them. [The person you're dating] can only help you so much—you've got to do the work."

And now? This internal work has paid off for Diamandis. "All I can say is, it definitely gets better," she says. "[These fears don't] go away completely, but—I mean, compared to two years ago, I'm so much more stable." On the album's piano-driven closer, "Soft to Be Strong," she sums it all up: "And I guess I've known it all along/ I found out love has to be soft to be strong."

Although Diamandis spends much of Love + Fear grappling with both personal and existential issues—she even questions the meaning of life on "To Be Human" and "Life is Strange"—there are moments of lightness, too. Diamandis actually seems to have the most fun when cutting out toxic relationships. On "No More Suckers," a sassy, sauntering track laced with piano riffs, she chirps: "Put a stop sign up, you're not getting any nearer/ Wave goodbye to the suckers in my rearview mirror." On "Karma," Diamandis shades a nemesis with a delightful I-told-you-so: "I'm like, 'Oh my god, I think it's karma,'" she jabs before a tropical-sounding drop.

Marina is wearing a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress, Erickson Beamon earrings, and Uniqlo underpinnings.

The album is also filled with natural imagery, as on "Handmade Heaven," where Diamandis envisions the earth without human destruction, and the summery "Orange Trees," an ode to the Greek island of Lefkada, where she spent summers as a kid.

As Diamandis enters into her second decade of releasing music, Love + Fear lands as both a step forward and a reminder of who she's always been as an artist. "We all have instincts," Diamandis says, "but the less you listen to them, the more they fade—that's when you become really indecisive or lost. But the more you listen to [your instincts], the stronger they get. You start to know the answer to your own questions much faster."

But really, she's had the answers to her own questions this whole time. On "Hollywood," from her debut, The Family Jewels, Diamandis mimics the men in Los Angeles who typecast her based on their skewed perceptions of her appearance, her abilities, and her gender: "He said, 'Oh my god—you look just like Shakira," she sings. "No, no, you're Catherine Zeta!"

With a wink: "Actually, my name's Marina."

Love + Fear is out Friday, April 26, via Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.

Credits
Photos: Lauren Perlstein
Styling: Jenna Igneri
Hair/Makeup: Stephanie Peterson

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Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes www.youtube.com

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Photo by Rich Polk/ Getty

Her hypocrisy would be mind-blowing if it weren't so predictable

It's been just over two years since Tomi Lahren appeared on ABC's The View to assert that, despite her ultra-conservative bona fides, she holds one position more normally associated with the left wing: She's pro-choice. In that talk show appearance, Lahren made clear then that her pro-choice views were consonant with her self-identification as a "constitutionalist," further explaining:

I am someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women should do with their bodies." I can sit here and say that as a Republican, and I can say, "You know what? I'm for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."

Back then, we noted the hypocrisy inherent to that position, since Lahren was an ardent supporter of President Trump—who made no secret of his desire to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and other judicial benches—and Vice-President Pence, whose anti-abortion views are even more ardent.

Since Lahren's appearance on The View, she has appeared in the anti-abortion film Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade, which co-starred fellow execrable conservative troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, and, um, Joey Lawrence. Though the film has not yet been released, it is alleged to contain "several graphic scenes depicting aborted fetuses," and also the acting styles of Jamie Kennedy, so we're not sure for whom it will really be appropriate.

But while Lahren's role in that film would be enough to make anyone question just how committed she is to her alleged pro-choice stance, the recent news about de facto abortion bans in Alabama and Georgia has incited Lahren to speak out about her views once again.

On Twitter, Lahren opened herself up to "attack[s] by [her] fellow conservatives" and spoke out against the Alabama abortion ban as being "too restrictive." And, indeed, her "fellow conservatives" did quickly attack Lahren for not actually caring about human life, and for having too liberal a position on whether or not a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape. But then also, as Lahren must have known would happen, other people supported her for... not having one irredeemably monstrous position amongst her arsenal of irredeemably monstrous positions.

But, let's be clear: Tomi Lahren is not—no matter what she tweets—pro-choice, and neither is any supporter of the Republican Party. There is no doubt that there are Republicans who are in favor of safe access to abortion—particularly when it comes to themselves and their family members having said access. But by supporting the Republican Party, they are showing how little it actually matters to them, and showing what it is that they really prioritize over women's safety and freedom: namely, access to guns, bigoted immigration policies, the continued disenfranchisement of voters across the country. I could go on, but there's no need.

Lahren's tweet doesn't reveal in any way that she's an advocate for women's rights, all it reveals is her hypocrisy and that of anyone (Meghan McCain, hi), who would love to have a world created specifically for their needs, and who is willing to sacrifice the rights of the less privileged in order to secure their own. It is despicable and dangerous and incredibly predictable. But, at least, it might give Lahren something to talk about on the red carpet with her fellow anti-abortion movie costars, if that film ever gets more than a straight-to-video release.

If you want to find out how to help women have access to abortion, please visit here for information about donating and volunteering.

Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty also appear

Lil Nas X went all out with the visuals for his hit "Old Town Road," tapping all of his newfound collaborators and friends, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, to star. The movie travels from 1889 Wild Wild West to the modern-day city outskirts, so saddle up and come along for the ride.

As the visuals start, Nas and Cyrus gallop away with a bag of loot, obviously having pulled off a heist. The trio of men on horseback that were in pursuit of them come to a halt, unable to catch up, and Chris Rock—the leader of the group—states, "When you see a Black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let him fly." Just as Nas and Cyrus think they're able to relax in stranger's home, it turns out the homeowner isn't so friendly. Nas jumps into a hole to escape, only to end up hundreds of years in the future on the other side.

Forget trying to figure out the logistics of time travel, and just embrace the hilarity of Nas' horse also having wound up there, and in peak racing condition. He impresses the locals not only in the race (with Vince Staples losing money in a bet against him) but with his sweet square dancing skills. Once he and Cyrus (yes, he time traveled too) trade out their old-timey duds for some fresh, rhinestone-adorned outfits, they enter a room playing bingo with Rico Nasty in it. Diplo is playing the washboard, I feel like I'm losing my mind, and this is probably the best music video I've watched this year.

Watch the movie for "Old Town Road" again and again, below.

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus www.youtube.com

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Screenshot via YouTube

They really "don't care" about how this was edited, do they?

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber used the name of their song as inspiration for the "I Don't Care" music video, and have presented what is essentially a long blooper reel of the pair messing around with a green screen.

The visuals show how dedicated the two are to proving just how much they don't care, because I'm pretty sure they did the editing on this video as well. They dance around in costumes, as an ice cream cone, a panda, a teddy bear, and more. I have a clear vision of Bieber and Sheeran raiding a costume shop just an hour before setting up a tripod and going to town on this one. They also juxtapose their faces on top of a ballerina, a skydiver, and a corn inside the husk.

Blink, and you'll miss the funniest moment of all in the video: Ed Sheeran gets married to a cardboard cutout of a young Bieber with swoopy hair.

Watch the visuals for "I Don't Care" below.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - I Don't Care [Official Video] youtu.be

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Photo by Jena Cumbo

Her new LP, 'Take Me to the Disco,' is her most personal work yet

Meg Myers isn't afraid to admit she's still figuring out who she wants to be. Originally from Tennessee, Myers moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to dedicate her life to her music career. In 2012, she released her first EP, Daughter in the Choir, which set the groundwork for the releases of Sorry (2015) and Take Me to the Disco (2018). Well-known for her poetic lyrics, crude vocals, and cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the honest singer-songwriter makes a point to tell me that self-acceptance is a process. After listening to her deeply personal LP, Take Me to the Disco, I know she's not wrong.

In the middle of producing her new forthcoming music, the star opens up to NYLON: "I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art. Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free." It's clear that it is this fearlessness to self-reflect that not only makes her body of work so authentic but also what motivates her to continue to grow.

Below, we speak with Myers about her new music, self-love, and her ever-evolving relationship with creativity.

The Great Eros Pants, Chae New York top, Schutz shoes, and Via Saviene rings. Photos by Jena Cumbo

How did moving to Los Angeles influence the artist you are today?
I feel more safe here. I've been tapping more into my truth and expressing myself on a deeper level here. Growing up, my family was very chaotic, and I never knew what was about to happen. I have four brothers and a sister, and we grew up basically as best friends, making fun out of the chaos and always creating some type of art from it. I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art.

Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I think all the barbecue and shrimp and grits [in Tennessee] really adds a smokiness to my music.

My queerness gives me a lot of material to create with. It's allowing me to be more playful and not take every little thing so seriously.

Silk Laundry jumpsuit, Wild Vertigga T-shirt, and Nakamol earring.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Tell me about your new music. Why is it different than anything you've ever created?
This EP is going to have a lot of similar vibes to my last album, because I wrote it at the same time with the same producer about a lot of the same struggles and self-discoveries as my past music. I'll share more with you on my third album.

I'm such a fan of your cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Why did you gravitate toward that song to cover?
It's such a powerful song! Kate Bush is magic. It's almost like I've been being guided to cover that song for a long time. I don't know how to explain it in words, as they can feel so limiting, and this song is beyond words to me. It's just a deep inner knowing, and it makes my heart flutter.


Chae NewYork blazer; Saku top, The Great Eros bottoms, and Inch2 boots.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Are there any other songs you feel really connected to?
I would love to collaborate with Active Child. The songs "Hanging On" and "Johnny Belinda" are also otherworldly to me. I've been listening to this band called Walk the Moon a lot. I also love Phoebe Bridgers. I have a crush on her. I generally listen to instrumental music and classical. If you look up 432hz music, it's incredibly healing, and solfeggio frequencies have helped me with a lot.

What does self-love mean to you?
It's been a process for me. It's been quite the journey. Right now, I would say [self-love for me] is about accepting myself, and having love for all the experiences that have led me to where I am. It also means being grateful for growth. It's also been about learning to be in the present moment. It's been learning to trust myself and not listening to what others think I need to be doing. As I learn to do this, I also learn how to love others deeper. All this being said, it's a process.

Chae New York blazer and Saku top.Photo by Jena Cumbo

What advice do you have for someone struggling to find happiness right now?
Spend some time in solitude if you can, or with a really safe person who you feel you can express yourself freely with. Find someone who has no expectations of you and is supportive. In that present moment, ask yourself, What feels good to you? What do you feel like doing? Use your imagination. Daydream. Find what it is you enjoy doing. I promise you can unlock magic inside yourself. It just takes patience.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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