Growing up in Moscow, singer-songwriter Marina V eagerly learned English in part from a mix tape she received with Beatles songs.
She thought she had discovered a whole world of music all her own with The Beatles, Marina told a very full house at the Hamilton Live Tuesday night, and as a child she would listen and learn the words to the songs voraciously.
Later, she discovered other bands that were contemporaries of The Beatles in the ’60s, and harboring a fondness for the period, she wrote a new song “Sunshine Guaranteed,” an ode to what it may have been like to have been alive and making psychedelic music during the period.
The song provides the listener with the “happy mindset of an LSD trip without the drugs,” Marina V quipped when introducing the song. No less than Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash appreciated the song and lent his studio and guitar to her for the making of her 2008 album, Modern Fairytale.
In performance Tuesday, Marina V made a bit of a medley with her song and The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” to the delight of the audience.
Watch Marina V perform “Sunshine Guaranteed” on YouTube for KGRL FPA in 2011:
Having long immigrated to Los Angeles to live with her husband, Nick Baker, a fellow musician who usually writes and performs alongside her, Marina often returns to Moscow to visit her father.
Marina films a video every time she returns to Moscow, she said, with the assistance from video director Katya Tsyganova. She did so recently to produce a video for “Hello” from her new album, Inner Superhero, copies of which are for sale at her performances but not yet widely available.
The setting for the video, Novodevichy Monastery, near Marina’s childhood home is an appropriate one for the forlorn piano ballad, a song more typical of Marina’s recent catalog.
Watch the video for “Hello” on YouTube:
Marina V stopped in DC as the opening act for Howard Jones at the Hamilton, but she’s largely been touring on her own, and her efforts have paid off with some degree of commercial success. Her song “You Make Me Beautiful” from her 2011 album My Star became a top 40 hit in Brazil, and it saw use in the television show “The Good Wife.”
“You Make Me Beautiful” is another sweeping piano ballad about being made strong with someone who believes in you. It’s another lovely, sentimental track that certainly distinguishes Marina V alongside great female pianists like Tori Amos or her fellow Russian Regina Spektor, although Marina is consistently more romantic in attitude than her peers.
To punctuate that point at the end of her show, the audience joined Marina in a singalong for the title track of her new album Inner Superhero after she gave them a quick lesson on the chorus. It was again, a moment for us to reflect on finding our strengths alongside our Russian muse as she serenaded us with her songs.
Marina continues touring tomorrow night, August 22, closer to home in Pasadena, Calif., and then actually from her home in a live webcast concert scheduled for August 30. (Details online!) Check her out when you have the chance, and you’ll likely believe in dreams come true, modern fairytales and inner superheroes yourself.