Erich Rüthers: Marina, your newest single Lovebugs is a light, beautiful summer tune – but it has a few dark undertones. Where do they come from and what do they mean?
Marina Matiss: It’s true, I love Lovebugs for this reason: It’s light and happy and easy – just like the summer, just like me. My fans know that I am exactly like that.
But it also has a dark side I haven’t really talked about so far. Or in other words: There was a dark time in my life and somehow this darkness finds its way into my music – even into such a happy tune like Lovebugs.
Q: What happened? Is it connected to why you started your musical career just recently?
A: It’s definitely connected. I always knew I wanted to sing since I was 4 but my parents were extremely strict with me making sure I’d do nothing but study. I couldn’t talk to them seriously that I would love to become a singer, this possibility was discarded by default.
Q: That’s very rough. Got it easier or harder after you left your country?
A: Somehow both. I felt free for a moment but I also came very close to living on the street. No income, no money to pay rent, no money for food and 10 days before being evicted. Facing the abyss does something to you.
Q: How did you get out of this?
A: I’d love to tell you that a fine university degree, being fluent in 7 languages and a hundred-something CVs in circulation did the trick. But it didn’t. What saved me was putting my best dress on and being spotted by a model scout on the street. After days with no food I was so thin that I stood out from the crowd – it’s ironic. I cried when I got my first paycheck.
Q: After an experience like this: Were you not afraid to start something as unstable as a music career?
A: I was terrified. In fact, I was so afraid that I spent the little money I made on financing yet another university degree, this time in business, just to boost my chances for whatever work opportunity. Naturally, I clinged to the first job I landed and had no intention to ever let it go again.
Q: So what made you decide to finally take the risk and go into music?
A: Working 9 to 5 is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the stability, the curse is the comfort that it brings. Comfort feels great but it secretly makes you afraid of change. It gets to a point where you don’t want to change anything anymore because change brings a lot of uncertainty – and that is scary. I was hiding in the cosines of comfort and it slowly made me forget my dreams. Once again I was completely controlled – just in a different way.
But when I watched “Bohemian Rhapsody” it was like a wake-up call. It was as if Freddie himself would yell at me “What the hell are you wasting your life with? You are free, damned – go for it!”
I couldn’t lie to myself any longer. I knew what I wanted, I knew it since I was 4, and I promised myself that nothing and no one would ever put me in a cage again. I promised myself to start doing the right thing: creating amazing music! Because if Freddy could do it against all odds, then I could do it as well.
So I bought a piano I couldn’t afford, started composing and it felt as if I got my life back. It felt great.
Q: Where are you now and what is your next project?
A: I’m spending my days between Madrid and Barcelona and the happy summer vibe in Lovebugs is certainly influenced by living next to the beach right now. My next project will be in Spanish, we shot the music video entirely by the sea and it has a burning piano in it. But that’s a story for another time.