Song of the Day: "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas"

Quirky songstress Anya Marina puts her own spin on the classic “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Originally performed by then-child star Gayla Peevey in 1953, the playful song is sure to bring a spark to the holiday season.

Listen to Marina’s cover of the tune here and read my interview from SXSW where she spoke candidly about being told she’d never make a career singing, recording shirtless and having a breaking feature in Rolling Stone here.

Be sure to check out her forthcoming album, Felony Flats, due out February 14 on Chop Shop/Atlantic Records.

News Videos

Anya Marina Debuts “New Moon” Music Video

Yesterday Anya Marina released the music video for “Satellite Heart,” a new song which will be featured in the upcoming Twilight movie series, New Moon. With her mousy vocals and seductive musical accompaniment, “Satellite Heart” is sure to be a hit.

Already hailed a key track by Rolling Stone, take a listen, I’m curious to know your opinion. For REAL click here. For WIN here. Watch the video below.

‘Satellite Heart’ Anya Marina,t=1,mt=video
Anya Marina | MySpace Video

Related Links:
Q&A; with Anya Marina
Anya Marina Covers T.I.
Anya Marina Heats Things Up At Record Release
Artist You Should Know: Anya Marina


Anya Marina Covers T.I.

Anya Marina‘s latest album, Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II has been garnering praises everywhere and her live show is like none other. I was lucky enough to catch Anya’s album release concert as well as interviewed her while in Austin, Texas, right before her performance at SXSW. At both shows she creatively covered T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” and now it’s available for download on iTunes for only .99 along with her new single, “All The Same To Me.” Give the songs a listen on the streams and watch the video below. For REAL, click here. For WIN, here.

What do you think? Which version do you like best?

If that’s not enough for you, visit Anya’s MySpace and be sure to check out her Daytrotter session where she performs five songs you can download for free.


Anya Marina

Sassy and comical singer-songwriter Anya Marina chatted with me right before her acoustic afternoon performance at Cedar Street in Austin, Texas. With a cup of tea in hand and a pre-show meal of goat yogurt and a bag of mixed nuts, Marina spoke candidly about being told she’d never make a career singing, recording shirtless and having a breaking feature in Rolling Stone: “I was so shocked when I heard. I just got an email one day that said, ‘Rolling Stone wants to do a breaking feature.’ In the words of Rachel Zoe, I died.”

I love your song “Move You” and was curious to the story behind it.
My Dad’s a psychologist so Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and Freud and people like that were always discussed and studied in our house. There’s this Carl Jung quote that I’ve talked about a lot that inspired the idea behind that song. The quote is, “Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” I love that idea. When you can’t wrap your mind around something and you can’t figure it out, whatever Rubik’s Cube issue you’re struggling with, sometimes it’s best just to put it on the shelf and go do something physical. I just like the idea of not over analyzing, which I’m guilty of all the time.

What’s your writing process like?
I don’t really write on a regular basis, especially now that my schedule is so unpredictable. I just write when I can, but I’d like to have a regiment. Wake up, have a cup of tea, sit down and sort of woodshed and tool away at it. But, it becomes so difficult to do that when you’re on tour or you’re playing festivals and you’re in a different city everyday. I just try and do it whenever I can. Usually, I come up with a melody when I’m walking or driving or doing something and then I’ll come home or record it on my phone and try to remember it that way.

I read in an interview that you recorded one of your songs topless in the studio.
Shirtless! I was wearing a bra. [It was] “Afterparty at Jimmy’s.” I did that song with Brian Karscig and Mark Maigaard from Louis XIV. I couldn’t get the right vocal take, so there’s another example of going into your body when you can’t arrive at the right place or the right answer — take your shirt off, sometimes it helps. And that’s the take that we got on the record and I think you can hear the rawness and dirtiness of it.

Would your rather people see you live or hear your album first?
I can’t really be objective of myself. I am so proud of the record that I would love for people to have it and hear it and get into it. I think it has a lot of legs. You can listen to it over and over and over again. I still find things in it that I’m surprised by or I’ve forgot about or even that inspire me. I really love my album; I’m so excited by it! At the same time, I think the live shows are a totally complementary experience. At least for the most part, the shows are not necessarily your typical straight ahead, “Let’s do eight songs in a row show.” I like to engage the audience and connect with people and tell a story or two. So, both.

Your doctor told you that you’d never make a career out of singing.
That was a silly little anecdote, but yeah, I have had a doctor tell me that. “You have a very tiny larynx, you have the larynx of a 14-year-old adolescent boy,” that’s what he told me. Oh well, I guess he was wrong. I think I’ve surpassed that. I’ve had a lot of people in my life urge me not to go into music or radio or acting because I had a very strange, sort of unique voice growing up. Now it’s come into its own. But, I was teased for a lot of years about my voice; that it was scratchy and high and nasally and all that stuff. I don’t know why I pursued it.

Don’t you find that when somebody tells you that you can’t do something you either sink or swim? You either get angry, which is a great motivator, or you get even, or you don’t and you just cower and shrink in the corner and not do anything. The secret is — just do it. Everybody talks about, “How do you break into blah blah blah? How do you do this?” Just do it! You make no money for a while and you just do it. You just get a gig doing open mics.

Is that how you started?
I was in a band back in college. My friend was like, “Will you sing for us?” That’s how I started. I was like, “You’re crazy, I can’t sing.” Pretty soon I’m writing their songs, which was really fun.

Where do you find inspiration for your music? Do you carry a notebook everywhere you go?
No, I have napkins and pieces of paper. I get really inspired by everything from fashion to comedians to; I just listened to this Patton Oswalt CD the other day on tour and that was really inspiring. For the content of my songs, it could be anything. It could be a friend telling me a story of some drama that happened in their life. I really do get inspired by anything. It’s really important for me to travel and go see films and constantly be reading and connecting. I really need to get a good book, I’ve been slacking.

How do you stand apart from all the bands out there?
I’m way taller. I’m 5’3”. I’m prettier and taller; my voice is louder. I have stripes on my face, that sets me apart and I’m funnier than 90 percent of these assholes. Also, I have a bag of nuts and I don’t think anybody else here has that so they can go suck it [laughs]. I’m just happy to be here.

For more on Anya, be sure to visit her on MySpace and catch a show when she’s in town! She’ll be touring with Jason Mraz and The Virgins this spring.

You can read this interview originally posted on here.


Stay Tuned: Interview with Anya Marina

I’m in the process of transcribing my interview with Anya Marina so I will definitely have that in it’s entirety for you tomorrow! I met up with Anya right before one of her SXSW showcases where we talked about breaking into the music industry, her music and how she felt when her voice doctor told her she’d never make a career out of singing.

Below is her new EPK video with snippets of an interview and some performances, so feel free to watch that in the meantime and check back tomorrow for the exclusive interview!


SXSW: Day Three Recap

I woke up early Friday to head to Cedar Street Courtyard for my interview with Anya Marina. Before her set, Anya talked to me about the inspiration behind some of her songs, her recording process (which involved recording one song topless to get the right vocals for the song) and overcoming people’s expectations of her not making it in the music scene. I’ll be posting the full Q&A; in the upcoming days, so check back for that.

Anya’s performance was nothing short of enjoyable. The California native had all in attendance laughing along to her stories about eating goat milk yogurt for breakfast, quitting her job to be a musician, and visits to her therapist. Highlight of the set was stand-out single “Move You” and her acoustic cover of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.”

Next band up for Filter Magazine‘s showcase was the phenomenal Idle Warship. Truly a must-see the band, consisting of Talib Kweli, Res, and Graph Nobel among others, Idle Warship had every hand in the courtyard raised in the air during their energetic set. The Brooklyn/Philly/Toronto members had the crowd rocking so hard at one in the afternoon, you would have thought it was 1 a.m. on a Saturday night. Highly recommend catching them if you get the chance as their impeccable blend of rock, R&B; and rap is impressive.

While Idle Warship was a hard act to follow, New Hampshire-based Wild Light held their own introducing some indie music to the crowd. Wild Light definitely had the indie diehards support in the audience while performing in the scorching Austin sun.

Next band I caught at the Filter showcase was Manchester band The Whips and boy did they have the crowd’s attention. From the energetic fans surrounding me (most likely from Manchester), I felt like I was at a dance party with their computer generated electronica and strong bass and drum beats. Everyone around me was jumping with their fists pumping in the air. I headed out after their set, but still have their single, “Trash” stuck in my head.

Headed to catch Fanfarlo with the roomies after some much desired (and delicious) ice cream on 6th Street. Every indie music lover’s band, Fanfarlo switched up the typical expected showcase with a variety of instruments — from clarinet to violin — they represented indie music at it’s best at Emo’s Annex Friday afternoon.

My favorite performance of the night goes to Jason Reeves. Playing at Live.Create. Lounge as part of VH1’s Save the Music showcase, he impressed the audience with his heartfelt stories and adamant view on the importance of music in schools. Playing tracks off his most recent album, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and other frightening tales), it is evident that he is a hopeful romantic as many of his tracks deal with relationships.

Before introducing “Someone, Somewhere” Reeves told the crowd the song is about “being in love and being hopeful when everyone is telling you it’s not going to happen. We have to fight and stand up for that.” With his hushed singing style towards the fade out of the track, you could sense the emotion in every song played throughout his set.

About VH1’s Save the Music campaign, Reeves said, “What’s happening in this building is so powerful. I believe music changes lives. It’s one of the only truly beautiful things we have left as human beings. This is not letting music die. Please do everything you can to save music, otherwise we’re all going to die.”

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur as plans kept changing once realizing I couldn’t catch a few bands I hoped to see (Lights Resolve, Tinted Windows, Lady Sovereign) but all wasn’t lost. I caught part of Solange‘s set at the Convention Center. Dressed to the nine, seeing Solange and her band perform had that New York City lounge feel as the lighting and dance contribution by her and her backup singers was stellar. How she dances in those heels I’ll never know, but she wowed the crowd with songs off her recent release. You can catch her set live on Direct TV so be sure to check your cable listings to be part of SXSW.

I was dying to catch Luna Halo‘s showcase after seeing them open for Switchfoot over a year ago. By far the best opening band I have ever witnessed, their blend of indie rock is impressive and their performance last night was nothing less than stellar.

Perhaps the most interesting venue to catch a show had to be Lisa Hannigan‘s set at 11 p.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th Street. While she’s no doubt an impressive talent, the dimmed lighting and laid-back vibe definitely was soporific and after catching a few songs I headed back to 6th Street to catch Nashville-based band Shirock (see below).

What Shirock has been doing in relation to promoting their debut album, Everything Burns is inspiring. The band has launched a non-profit organization called Everything Burns as a way to encourage and enable people to help those in need by providing awareness of various charities throughout their tours. The idea behind Everything Burns is “not to get stuck in the mundane,” said frontman Chuck. “Engaging in culture and getting involved [is what’s important]” he continued. Truly a stand-up example to all musicians, I’m interested to see where Shirock will be in a few years.

Wow, totally didn’t realize I caught 10 shows until I finished writing this post! Definitely the place to be for the music addict, SXSW obviously has the most versatile line-up you’ll see anywhere. Didn’t catch Metallica or The Decemberists unfortunately but the rest of the festival looks promising as I’ll be seeing Third Eye Blind‘s performance tonight at Stubb’s! Keep reading for updates throughout the rest of the weekend and into next week!

P.S. Hopefully I won’t be losing all respect from you readers, but one of the highlights of the night had to be running into Chris Kirkpatrick from ‘N Sync right off 6th Street. My inner 13-year-old obsessed boy band fan came out and I’m still regretting not taking a picture with him. I know, I’m a music journalist and gotta be professional but ‘N Sync! Takes me back. Cue “Tearin’ Up My Heart” . . .

Concert Reviews

Anya Marina Heats Things Up At Record Release

Playing nearly an hour set last Tuesday, California-based singer-songwriter Anya Marina showcased songs from her newly released album, Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II. Receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike, Marina’s New York headline performance at Mercury Lounge demonstrated just what the fuss is all about, proving that the buzz is only beginning.

Having toured with fellow San Diego native Jason Mraz last year, it is clear what makes Marina so distinct — her sultry and seductively mousy vocals. With her quirky, yet intriguing stories she didn’t beg for the audience’s attention, they gave themselves to her wholeheartedly.

Taking the stage solo playing “Not a Through Street” on acoustic guitar, Marina’s softer vocals fit the ballad well. One song later the band joined her onstage to which she enthusiastically told the audience, “Let’s hear it for our new President!” A record release and headline show on inauguration day couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate.

“I just had a record come out today. I’m so excited!” she exclaimed to the packed room. “Come out after the show and buy 17 for your friends and we’ll get acquainted,” she joked. The rest of the night was filled with tracks from Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II and Marina’s never ending comical onstage banter (ie. “It was weird growing up Russian. Did you have people call you Commie and throw things at you?”)

Stand-out track, “Waters of March (Aguas de Marco)” was sung in Portuguese and English, which Marina dedicated to a friend in the audience. With stellar vocals and strong electric guitar accompaniment, the song’s Latin groove switched gears a bit as Marina continued to liven up the audience by jumping around the stage while singing.

Marina’s dancing wasn’t the only thing that affixed concertgoers’ attention. Catchy “Afterparty at Jimmy’s” grabbed the listener’s attention with intriguing lyrics, “So you say you got a band?/Three parts Kinks, one part the Jam/You got soul on stage, boy/How ’bout soul in the sack, huh?” The electric guitar feature throughout the song only complimented the edginess of the song.

Ending the night with hit single “Move You(SSSPII)” (yes, you’ve heard it on “Grey’s Anatomy”) Marina exclaimed, “This is a dream come true! Thanks for being here and celebrating 1/20/09 with me.” I have a feeling this is only the beginning for Anya Marina.

For more on Anya, be sure to check out her MySpace and watch her video for “Move You” below!



Artist You Should Know: Anya Marina

With her soft vocals and quirky lyrics, at times recalling Australian songstress Sia with a bit of Duffy‘s jazzy vibe, Anya Marina is definitely making a name for herself. Having received rave reviews on her upcoming January release, Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II (stay tuned for a full review) as well as recently toured with Jason Mraz, Marina has been keeping busy.

Watch below as she performs with Jason Mraz during his song “Lucky” and if you like what you hear, be sure to check her out on MySpace and download first single off the album, “Move You (SSSPII)” currently available on iTunes here.