Meet Marina and the Diamonds. This pretty, Welsh-Greek “Primadonna” has spent the past six weeks stateside touring with Coldplay, and she’s rounding out the trip out with a handful of New York dates to celebrate the release of her new record Electra Heart, including a special acoustic set on the roof of the Mondrian SoHo on Monday night. Marina arrived looking angelic in a beige crop top and glittery pencil skirt, and was awash in the twilight of the city sunset. Staked out in a corner of the roof where Brooklyn and Queens glowed behind her, she performed a five song set with only a keyboard and guitar to back her.
“I’d rather walk alone than play a supporting role, if I can’t get a starring role” she began, opening the night as she should with “Starring Role.” The crowd was made mostly of writers and record execs –” industry people” — and this first song sounded her empowered prerogative. She played four more songs — “Primadonna,” “Lies,” “Teen Idle” and “How To Be A Heartbreaker” — and she really performed them all, twirling and vamping and throwing looks because she’s a careful study of glitz and glamor and show business. But she’s also funny and a good singer, and by night’s end it seemed crazy that she would even have to ask for lead. She’s just so good at it.
First we heard of Marina Diamandis, she was opening for Katy Perry on the “California Dreams” tour. Her 2010 debut release, The Family Jewels, had landed in the Top 10 in Britain, and Perry, it seemed, had a thing for the “Primadonna.” Like Perry, Diamandis sings about coming of age (“I want back my virginity/ so I can feel infinity,” she sings in “Teen Idle”) and to the fringes (“Heartbreaker” offers to teach you how to be a heartbreaker); she has an affinity for sweets (“blood, guts and angel cake,” in particular, because, “I’m gonna puke it up anyway”) and she keeps her Diamonds — her fans — close. Both work with the same producers (Dr. Luke, Stargate) and appeal to fans of pop, but both wish to be something more than just a run of the mill pop star. Diamandis has gutted her “pop star” mold and rebuilt it to her suiting with wit and daring. And star power, too, because that role will be hers.