Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MARINA V @ The Derby

The Derby
January 31, 2008

Marina Verenikina (aka: Marina V) is living the dream. And like any journey, she’s had to deal with personal struggles and heartbreak to obtain those dreams. Her life reads like a fairytale – a modern one at that – which is ironically the name of her latest album “Modern Fairytale.”

Marina V at The Derby

Missing her on a few occasions at the Hotel Cafe, I made a point to catch her show when she played again. Currently on tour for her new album which was released this past January, Marina played last Thursday at the world famous Derby. This night was dubbed, “Don’t Call Us Tori” night. Unfortunately, because of a prior engagement to watch Dengue Fever at the Echoplex, I couldn’t stay for the entire night of great artists which included Andrea Marchant, Julie Newmar and Katrina Parker.

Marina’s long journey began in Moscow. Growing up in communist Russia, Marina began singing and writing simple melodies before she could even talk. She learned English by translating Beatles songs. Unfortunately, as she grew older, Russia at the time proved difficult for aspiring artists with big dreams which eventually led Marina to put her writing on hold. But it all changed at the age of 15 when she won a national competition to study abroad for a year in the United States. During her year stay, Marina’s new found freedom allowed her to blossom personally and creatively. When she returned home to Moscow, she was determined to move back to the States. Flash forward two years later, after saving enough money while going to school, Marina reluctantly left the family she helped support and made her way out west to pursue her dreams. But as she soon found out the first few years were difficult.

"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,” she says. “Writing songs became my drug, therapy and my spiritual healer. It helped me come to terms with many things".

On top of trying to adapt in a place that was unfamiliar and missing her family, she sold her pickup truck to buy a piano, endured living with an abusive host family, worked odd jobs, survived ‘terrible’ relationships and escaped a ceiling cave-in at one of her concerts. Achieving all she could in Illinois, Marina headed to Los Angeles where she gained a dedicated following by playing any gig she could get which included performing in bookstores. And today? Her hard work and determination has, so far, paid off. Marina has recently become an American Citizen and counting her latest release, Marina has released four albums working with the likes of producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon & George Harrison) and manager David Krebs (Aerosmith).

Marina V at The Derby

In “Modern Fairytale,” Marina creates a hauntingly dreamlike storybook filled with a mixture of heartbreak and optimism. Her songs are like a magical music box, when opened, sucks you into a magical world with fields of pastel flowers that grow wild towards the sky. It’s a world that only Marina can create which makes you feel like soaring between heaven and earth.

Her lyrics are deep, often times dark and personal that dance around delicate melodies like “Love Me Back” which is a tender lullaby about a relationship that’s a one-way road. There’s “Sunshine Guaranteed,” a Beatle-esque inspired song about having that special someone in your life. “Alone” looks back at Marina’s struggle to find herself during her first years in America, missing her family, being alone and scared in a far away place. And in a song that could sum up her long journey, Marina’s angelic voice mournfully aches with surrender in “Strength I Need.”
"And when I feel I'm breaking down
When my soul loses feeling
When there's no one else around
and there's no one to heal me
Will I be the strength I need"
It’s hard to imagine what life experiences Marina had to go through to create these emotional and personal lyrics. But listen closely and what you year underneath her sad and lonesome stories are soaring arrangements that breathe hope like a spectrum of light escaping a dark abyss. It’s a storybook filled with therapeutic songs dealing with the harsh realities of life – a mixture of escapism and reality.

Overall, “Modern Fairytale,” Marina’s fourth album is a moving album that puts you on an emotional roller coaster ride complete with full, rich harmonies, complimented by her captivating voice. We look forward to seeing what the future holds in the next chapter of Marina’s “modern fairytale.”

Check out her official website HERE to purchase "MODERN FAIRYTALE" or check out upcoming tour dates in your area. To view the rest of the photos from her performance click HERE! Check out her performance of "FOOL" and "FATE" from The Derby below shot by 405east.




FEBRUARY 26TH @ The Hotel Café
MARCH 6TH @ Cal State Fullerton / TSU Underground Pub
APRIL 6th @ The Hotel Café