(22 February 2004) Marina V's Something Of My Own (Crazy Apples Worldwide (ASCAP) / Songcastle Music (ASCAP) (USA) 6 59057 49462 3, 2003) is best classified as alternative American pop mixed with the taste, of
vocal vodka. The album--certain to appeal to Tori Amos fans with her material's amazing similarity--originally released in October 2002 and re-released during 2003 with a new front cover, is comprised of nine main tracks and two bonus tracks. Our review and interview with the singer, Marina Gennadievna Verenikina, follows.
Singer/songwriter, pianist, model, translator, female athlete (a former hockey player), and daughter to a communist nuclear physicist, Marina brings to America the alternative music of voice active Russian physics. It is the quality of voice that sings the quality of meaning into song--an old musical proverb, or at least it should be. And Marina's voice should musically convince any listener, in the legitimacy of the above and recently written proverb.
Opening with the title track "Something Of My Own," Marina sings the beautiful vocal interlingual rendition (from Russian to English) of lyrical melting soul. Sung within the landscape of well-driven piano, Marina dreams and sings about "Feeling strangled for voicing different thoughts." And it is just this voicing that makes this melody, into a very verb intensive, beautiful song. It has to be heard to be appreciated.
"Falling" is driven by the rhythmic touch of percussion within the surround sound, of tasteful passion in Marina's voice. "That's The Way It Goes" features the wonderful punctuation of verbalized vocal humor, which is sung against and with a well-played piano--gone mad! Her best song however is "Taet Sneg," the first bonus track). She sings the vocal interlingual reinterpretation of the first track from English back to Russian--only this time singing with the
original emotion with the Russian interpretation.
Musical Discoveries: What inspired the beginning of your musical career?
Marina: Music has always been a huge part of my life, so you can say that music itself inspired me. But more specifically, it was the first time I played my own song in public. I was a part of a talent show at my college; there was a big crowd so I was really scared. But I got a standing ovation and won first prize. Several people wrote to me afterwards saying how much my song moved them. It was
such an amazing experience that it became a deciding factor. It was also my songwriting partner, Nick Baker, who gave me the confidence to do this professionally and record a CD. It was Let Me Dream, my first CD that is now long out of print.
Would you describe the inherent influences your native country Russia, has had on your music?
I grew up listening to a lot of Russian classical music, a lot of which had been influenced by the Russian traditional songs. I list Tchaikovsky as one of my influences, and he himself was a huge fan of Russian motif. I also knew many Russian folk songs, which are amazingly beautiful. The melodies simply give me goose bumps.
How has America changed or added to this musical influence?
Living in America opened my mind in so many ways, especially in music. I keep watching VH1 programs to catch up on music on which I've missed out, because almost all "Western" music was prohibited in the Soviet Union.
How would you describe your music?
It's very personal and intimate, yet universal. I owe it to my other big influence, the Beatles. I listened to a lot of Beatles music in my early teens and started imitating them in my own songwriting. Before I heard the Beatles, the little songs I wrote were more classical and folk sounding.
As a singer/songwriter what do you consider to be the deeper art: writing the song or singing the song?
I would say writing. But then there are those singers like
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks (or Elvis) who doesn't write a lot of the material she performs, but her vocal delivery is so
mesmerizing, I really don't think she is less deep than the
songwriters who wrote the song.
Would you compare the music industry in Russia to that of the United States?
I really don't know that much about Russian music industry. There are fewer labels and fewer artists in Russia. Most people are concerned with day-by-day survival, not their dreams of becoming a music star.
How has the internet influenced your music?
I love the internet. Having a website is great, having my music in online stores is great, having my
message board (www.MarinaVKomrades.com) is fantastic. I am not too worried about people downloading my music for free. Obviously, I would much rather have someone buy a CD and support the artist. In the 80s people used to make cassette copies, and what's going on today isn't that much different, in my opinion.
And finally, how do you hope the listening audience will describe your music?
Something that really moves them and something they can relate to. I just want to say thank you to all of my incredible fans, friends and komrades for reading this and for all of their support.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from Marina directly
With eleven tracks written and recorded by Marina and Nick Baker, this album is the high value distribution of good Vocal Vodka, it should be taken by the ears and administered to the soul!--Steven Digman (Maryland) and Russ Elliot (New York)