THE VERY OFFICIAL LIFE STORY
Born in Soviet Russia to a Communist nuclear physicist father and a child psychologist mother, Marina grew up in Moscow singing and making up her own melodies before she could talk. Noticing her daughter's musical talents, Marina's mom insisted that Marina receive her music education. So, Marina went to a school of music each day right after her regular school. "It was very rigid. Part of me really hated it." - Marina says about her 8 year experience at the school of music.
When she was about ten, Marina decided to play a song of her own for her piano teacher, who scolded Marina saying that it was "simply nonsense". Too young to understand why, Marina didn't realize that the Soviet culture was not the perfect environment for an aspiring young artist with big dreams. She took her teacher's negative comments to heart and put her songwriting on hold. She turned to reading, skateboarding, torn jeans, karate and swimming, went figure skating in winter and often skipped her music classes.
Then Marina discovered the Beatles. The Beatles invaded Marina's mind and she spent hours playing their songs on the piano and even more hours trying to find more Beatles tapes (which was quite difficult as Western music had just started to appear on the Russian markets). Marina did try to write a few more songs but was too self conscious to keep them.
Everything changed when Marina turned 15. She entered a national competition for a scholarship to study in the U.S.A. for a year and won, beating thousands of Russian peers. That year made Marina realize that the American culture was more nurturing to individual creativity and she decided to move by herself to America - whatever it took.
Marina had to return to Moscow at 16 only to find out her mom was moving to Australia and that her year of study abroad wouldn't count academically in Russia. To finance her trip back to the USA Marina took a job at a beverage franchise as a secretary and saved up her money whilst helping support her family and studying hard to finish high school.
At 17, Marina finally found a way back to America, but life was far from easy. "I had a lot on my mind. I felt very guilty about leaving my family and my country, I was very lonely and scared trying to adapt to the new way of life. I was commuting to college and working a few part-time jobs. I've had a number of terrible relationships & life-altering experiences of which I am not quite ready to openly talk about. Writing songs became my drug, therapy and my spiritual healer. It helped me come to terms with many things".
Soon Marina met Nick Baker, who inspired her to seriously pursue a career in music. She sold her pickup truck to buy a piano, and played and sang her songs for hours every day. Neighbors in her apartment building often came to the door to hear her play, which was at first scary but quickly became encouraging. At about the same time Marina entered her college talent competition, sang her original song "Leaving" and won first prize. After receiving dozens of emails and comments from students saying how much her song moved them, Marina finally decided to go into the studio and record her songs. She received so many pre-orders from students & faculty, that she was able to finance the whole recording session and to manufacture the CD (Let Me Dream). Her first show in a little coffeehouse in Jacksonville, IL, was filled to the fire capacity!
Marina & Nick started playing shows in Central Illinois & quickly expanded to surrounding states, but not without obstacles. The January 2001 CD release concert ended up just an inch away from tragedy, when the ceiling caved in, collapsing on top of the stage just a minute before Marina & the band would start the concert.
After exhausting their options in Illinois, Marina & Nick relocated to Los Angeles. "When I first moved to L.A., I didn't know ANYBODY. I couldn't even get a club show because all of the venues expected a certain 'draw'. Then I started playing Borders Books & Music & any other gigs I could get, and made fans one person at a time."
After sending hundreds of demos to the music industry, Marina caught attention of David Krebs, a renowned manager from New York, who's been involved in building the careers of Don McLean, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Aerosmith, among others.
In April 2005, Marina released “Simple Magic”, with two songs on the CD produced by Jack Douglas, a legendary record producer, whose discography ranges from John Lennon & George Harrison to Aerosmith. "As a huge fan of some of the artists Jack's worked with, I was honored to record my songs with him," Marina exclaims.
A self-described ambitious workaholic, Marina continues touring, writing & recording while looking for an artist-friendly record label. "I love writing songs and I really love performing them for my audience. I can't imagine a day without music. I will be doing this forever."
EVEN MORE ABOUT MARINA:
She doesn't like jewelry (especially anything involving real diamonds), ignores the fashion trends and wears whatever's comfortable, loves the esoteric "Kids In The Hall" kind of humor and has had her hair pretty much every color - from blonde to black. Marina is known to wear t-shirts with various messages hand-written by her using a black permanent marker. She doesn't drink or do drugs. She quit smoking a long long time ago. She loves camping & hiking in the wild, traveling, reading, learning Yoga, eating all kinds of international food and going to the opera, theatre & the movies. She used to play ice hockey and get the most penalties. She is very much a minimalist and is saddened by over-consumption/over-production in this world. The deterioration of our environment makes her cry. One of her biggest passions is recycling and protecting nature.
She loves nice, honest people and can't stand big egos or pretense, which is rather ironic, because she lives in Hollywood, the center for these lovely qualities. Although one of her college majors was international politics, she tries really hard not to think too much about any kind of politics, but she does anyway because she knows it's important to be a responsible citizen. Thinking too much in a foreign language gives her a headache so she is learning how to meditate.
She can often be found talking to herself in Russian. Or in Spanish. She doesn't take herself too seriously, or at least tries not to.
Living in Los Angeles, she misses the Russian winters.
P.S. She is very much an agnostic, although she's grew up in an atheistic society being part Jewish and was baptized in a Russian Christian Orthodox church. She sometimes gets teary-eyed when she sees a happy family out together, because she's never really had that. You'd never guess, but her favorite movies are Terminator 2 and Pretty Woman. She is a great cook but resents spending hours every day cooking, so she cooks only for special occasions. She likes monkeys.