Anya Marina is one of us now, a true San Diegan
It’s 4:30 on a Friday in August, and all the pores in my body are secreting the Propel I had just ingested over 20 minutes ago. The heat wave that is striking San Diego is taking its toll on all who are attending Street Scene. The faces have half-wittingly smiles that are covering for the tortured soul that is screaming inside of them.
Passing through the heat filled air I made my way to the Green Stage and got acquainted with a man who goes by the name “O”. I’m not sure if it’s “O” like the letter, or oh, like she’s going to get the “oh face”, whatever it was, it mattered not. For the man who calls himself “O” was the gateway to the interview I was about to conduct.
Anya Marina, oh sweet Anya, where do I begin, first off let me start with this. Every reporter or journalist has to go through a process I’m deeming as the “suckle your ego” process. Which is a series of interviews or write ups that are so far from your actual perspective or true beliefs, that you get lost in your own bullshit. However, with Anya I didn’t have to do that. She was an amazing girl, who seemed humble and truly genuine in everything she talked about and did.
Once the interview got started, Anya only furthered my resolve in making this article one I truly mean.
Hailing from L.A., Anya Marina is becoming one of the up-and-coming stars in the music industry. With her unique blend of soft and powerful vocals, coupled with her passionate and heartwarming chord progressions, Anya has caught the attention of the public.
Grabbing many spots on hit television shows, her music is making her a shining star in the business. Included in the line-up for this year’s Street Scene I was given the chance of talking to Anya, who is such a beautiful soul.
Quietly tucked behind the Green Stage at Street Scene, Anya was seeking refuge from the heat. Previously finishing up with a recent interview Anya and I met. Cordially introducing myself, we shook hands, sat down, and the interview was on its way.
AC: How was it working for 94.9 and living in San Diego?
Anya: Oh, it was amazing; there is no other radio station like it in the US. I mean who gets to have John Reese from “Rocket from the Crypt” have a specialty show, and have live music all the time. Have everybody from Pete Bjorn, The White Stripes, to Interpol in studio, coming by to say hey, it’s such a great station. Not to mention they have the best DJ’s, some of the most real sounding DJ’s around.
After that rousing response Anya elegantly adjusted her boot and accidentally kicked me. I assumed this was a gesture of some sort giving me the go ahead, and that I was accepted by her in this interview. So like a little school boy I humorously replied with “You trying to kick me or something?”
Anya: No, I’m trying to keep the zipper on my pants straight.
We both enjoyed a chuckle and continued on.
AC: You’ve worked for other radio stations right?
Anya: Yes I have, but my run with 94.9 was the longest one. I’ve also worked with 92.1 for awhile, like a year and a half until it went under. Then I worked for another one in San Diego which was 92.5.
AC: Would you say that the radio stations helped you with your career, or was it just a limbo thing for you before you made it in music?
Anya: I actually did both at the same time. I was always doing radio and music simultaneously. However, I didn’t quit my job until I started touring full-time and working on music full-time. Playing gigs on the weekend like at the Casbah and Lestats, or up in LA. I would schedule little tours for two weeks around my work, but after this record came out Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II.
AC: Wow, that’s a long one.
Anya: Hey! I’m with it. When that came out though, I knew had to quit. The album was such a solid album I really wanted to support it, and tour on it. I’m so glad because it’s full-blown right now.
AC: Can you give me a little background on your new album?
Anya: It was produced by Brian Karscig from Louis the XIV, he’s now in a band called “Nervous Wreckchords”, w-r-e-c-k, records, and they are opening up for The Killers. He produced ten tracks and Brit Daniels from “Spoon” produced two tracks. I just had a great time playing, went to the theater, then went to the studio, it was fun. It sounds so good! I have strings on there, and Brian Karscig plays piano and bass, it’s just a really fun album. Rock songs like “After Party at Jimmy’s” I wrote with Louis the XIV, there’s cover songs on there, an old sixties Bossa Nova “Waters of March”, it’s a good little record I’m proud of it.
AC: Why did you title you new album with that specific name?
Anya: There is a thread of seduction and romance throughout every song, like a thematic sort of common thread. I’ve always liked any title that sounds like a term paper. Both my parents are professors and it’s sort of like a ridiculous title and I liked it. It sounded sort of official in a way, so I went with it.
AC: You say that you have weird songs pop in your head all the time, what’s the weirdest song that has ever popped in your head?
Anya: By saying that I meant that I get melodies stuck in my head, not actual songs. That’s how I write, I just hear melodies and I write them down.
AC: You’ve gotten some of your songs on some hit television shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Grey’s Anatomy“, how did that feel?
Anya: I’ve really only seen one, I think, I’ve seen it on “Grey’s Anatomy” twice and this show…I can’t believe I’m forgetting the name of it. Oh yeah, the one about your mother, “How I met your Mother”, but I’ve really only seen Grey’s Anatomy, it was weird and a little strange. Of course it’s flattering and exciting and it’s is kind of like a new angle to your art. I would have never thought of doing that, and you have no control over how your song is used. You just know it is going to be used on the show in some scene, so it’s always a little scary. As long as you stand behind your work and you like the song, and you hopefully like the show then it’s a new way of looking at something and hearing it. Also it is a great way of reaching fans.
AC: Did you see a big boost in the number of fans you had after it aired on the shows?
Anya: People ask me that a lot, and the true answer, the more accurate answer is, A: I don’t know because I don’t check my album sales every second. B: I think there is never a big boost in anything. You’re working consistently hard and keeping your nose to the grindstone; which I try to do. You do see over the long term at shows, people will come to you at shows and say “I’ve heard of you, I’ve never heard of you before, but I was watching this commercial and I heard this song,” or “I was watching this T.V. show and I googled you and I found you.” I notice that happening, like I would have never reached this certain demographic if it wasn’t for the show.
AC: How was your first mic performance in San Diego and where was it at? How receptive were the people at the performance to your music?
Anya: Java Joe’s in OB (Ocean Beach). Dude, I wouldn’t know how the people were feeling it. I was so nervous and all I could think about was not fainting and collapsing on stage. My fingers were shaking, my voice was quivering; I think the crowd kind of tolerated me and they were nice, and they clapped. It certainly wasn’t a rousing applause, I must have played for like twenty people my first time…thank god! I just barely got through the song; it really was a night that I will never ever forget. A lot of gigs come and go, but I will never forget that first open mic. Just the terror, fear, and the excitement and all of those feelings, hormones and juices combined in your body. So often your body is saying “this is amazing!” Then right after that, “this is the most incredible feeling I’ve ever felt!” Then you get hit by “this is the scariest thing,” like right before you go on stage your body is saying (she lowers her voice)”why the fuck would you choose this as a profession! Why did you decide to do this? This is the dumbest…why can’t you be home watching TiVo, and ya know, watching Izzy Sleeps with George, or I see dead people, or whatever it is!”
AC: Do you still find yourself getting those jitters?
Anya: No, I don’t have them right now. I certainly do get them, I’ll probably get them right before I play, sometimes during, but I don’t anymore so much. I did have them the other day for something… oh what was it… I was on KCRW two days ago. That’s a radio station in the L.A. that I would listen to when I was growing up in the Bay area, I would listen to their online podcasts and stuff, I was terrified but it was really fun. Doing Jimmy Kimmel was so scary. I get nervous when I’m doing a duet with people on stage, because I am singing their lyrics. I was touring with this kid, kid, I mean guy, Eric Hutchinson. He is so awesome check him out!
AC: Any last things you want to add?
Anya: Rock on San Diego! Thanks so much for the support and it’s so nice to hear somebody say you’re from San Diego, because I feel proud of that.
Closing out the interview I took a final picture for the article. I was left in complete awe by Anya. She was so down to earth, easy to talk to, and overall a real fun individual. The ease I had with her in the interview rivaled that of the greatest bar conversations. I for one am an Anya fan and I hope she makes it to wherever she is going. Check out her new Album, and show her your love and support she is one that deserves it.