KARA MARNI

After her R&B hit single Golden the british newcomer Kara Marni presents her debut EP. Her songs sound like a fusion between the sound of the 70s and contemporary soul and pop electro productions. Currently she is on a european tour with Rita Ora. We met her shortly before the soundcheck for the show in Hamburg.

Foto: Iakovos Kalaitzakis

TAHIR CHAUDHRY: How long will you stay here?

KARA MARNI: In Hamburg? Literally just for the night. Tomorrow morning we are going to Denmark because we are on the Rita Ora Tour right now. Everything is really quick.

TC: So you will not be able to enjoy the city?

KM: No, but I wish there were time to explore. Where are you from?

TC: From Berlin.

KM: I came to Berlin a couple months ago, actually. For a different tour. I love Berlin.

TC: Today you took a long journey. You came here from Munich by train.

KM: Oh my goodness! I can’t lie: it was five and a half hours. I nearly balled my eyes out. My whole body just… „When do we get there?“. I didn’t realize Germany was that big.

TC: How do you kill time on long journeys?

KM: Listen to a lot of music. Then try and fail to sleep, try but never ever succeed. And I eat. But I listen to music mainly.

TC: What are you currently listening to?

KM: Daniel Ceasar, his album “Freudian”. There are so many amazing new artists. Khalid, RAY BLK, Kehlani and SZA.

TC: You’re just 20 years old.

KM: No, it was my birthday. I’m 21 (haha).

TC: I’m 28. When I was at your age I was a disoriented and insecure guy at high school. How come that you know so early what you want to do in life?

KM: I think it has always been in me. I know that sounds like… But it was always a part of my being. A voice inside me said: You are a performer, singer, songwriter and entertainer! I’m not one of those artists who started it later in life. Music was always played around my house – a very musical household. And there was music in the car on the way to school. I have always been singing. I don’t know the exact moment but on the school run with my mom she played me Minnie Riperton’s album “Perfect Angel”. When I heard her voice I just knew that’s what I want to be doing one day. I want to be able to inspire by other girls like I was inspired listening to her.

TC: Did your mother discovered your singing voice?

KM: My grandma. When I was like really young. I have two siblings. When we were crying I would’ve always gone the longest. My mom asked: „Why can’t she stop crying?“. And my grandma said: “She’s not crying, she’s singing”. She recently told how exactly I would „cry“. I would do a sound, hold a note, and stop, and then do it again, and then do it higher and lower.

TC: A very promising career lies ahead of you. Being young and female are not the easiest starting conditions in the music industry.

KM: My personal experience has been really positive. My management company is predominantly run by females. My manager is female. I just had such an amazing co-signing by females like Ray BLK. I have so much support as a female. And I think it is more than ever a time of support by other women in the industry as opposed to a couple of years ago. It was maybe more competitive. Today women are a 100 percent uniting and building each other up. I’m so lucky that I was welcomed in this industry by so many amazing female artists.

TC: Nevertheless, I imagine it as being difficult as a musician – especially starting off – that you are shaped by too many opinions and wishes, by market rules, labels, promoters, managers and other artists. How much of you what becomes visible at the end is you?

KM: Right. It is easy to get lost in the madness. I think as a young female in this industry the most important thing is a sense of self, of who you are as a person and an artist. If you don’t have that you will end up lost. There are a lot of factors that can distract you but if you know who you are that will guide you and answer most of the questions for you. And the most important thing for me is my family which completely grounds me, keeps me strong, centers me and keeps me sane. 

TC: There is a law in physics: Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. So to move forward, we have to leave something behind. What do you had to leave behind?

KM: I definitely think, it’s the case in any walk of life. If you want to be a doctor or the best gardener in the world you have to sacrifice things. For me personally I sacrificed… I haven’t been to uni and had that extra social aspect that my sister has. But I know ultimately that this is going to pay off. You have to sacrifice in order to be the best in what you do. In the end it’s gonna be worth it.

 

TC: But how would it be for you if no one would care about your music no matter how hard you try?

The reason I’m here today is because I care about my music and that is the most important thing. If I stop caring that is where the issues start to arise. I put so much into myself as a songwriter, musician and performer in developing myself. I’m not too much bothered about what other people think. It’s about me and I need to be caring about the standards of my music. Nobody puts that much pressure on me as myself. I try to remain calm. I face things head on and try not hype things up in my head otherwise I get really stressed.

Kara Marni: “In the stories we hear we're told about the happily-ever-after-walking into the sunset. In reality life isn’t like that. ”
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TC: Out of writing, singing and touring which part do you love the most?

KM: That’s really hard. Performing… but I love being in the studio as well… I cannot choose. It depends on how I’m feeling. I cannot answer it. It is a hard question like saying: do you like Pizza or Pasta? (laughs)

TC: How would you describe your music?

KM: It’s soul with sprinkles of pop.

TC: You have just released your debut EP with this catchy single called „Love Just Ain’t Enough“. What is the background of it?

KM: It is basically about when I was in a relationship I realized that as much as you may love a person it’s not always enough to see us through and there needs to be deeper factors like sacrifice and humility. Unless you have those as well I don’t think love is enough to see us through.

TC: What do you see as the biggest obstacle for loving in a relationship?

KM: We’re all flawed. And also letting your guard down. Ones you open yourself up to somebody you’re vulnerable. This position can be amazing but it can leave you exposed to being hurt. That’s obviously not great.

TC: The lyrics go like: we’re “intoxicated by the love they say we find”.

KM: Yes. “We were made fools by grade school stories and nursery rhymes”.

TC: How did they affect you?

KM: I wrote this lyric because in the books that we read, the movies that we see and the stories we hear we’re told about the happily-ever-after-walking into the sunset. In reality life isn’t like that. Nothing is like that. Luckily I have a really incredible mom who is so wise and a realist. She taught me about avoiding unrealistic expectations. It’s just interesting that everyone says that if you meet the right man it will all be rosy for the rest of your life. Life isn’t perfect but that is something beautiful about life as well. You got ups and downs and that makes life interesting otherwise you would just be standing still.

TC: What is the key message that you are trying to deliver in your music?

KM: If I can strike up a thought by any individual, like: oh that was a cool lyric and that means something to me in my own way. I want people to reflect. Whether that be on the good times in “Golden” when you feel like you are walking on water in a certain period of a relationship and you think that nothing can go wrong to a kind of gullibility in “Gullible”. It is a feeling like you know a bit too much about the whole thing and you’re just wishing that sometime you were a little bit oblivious and that ignorance is bliss. The main thing for me is that I want to provoke thought. When I listen to artists that I love like Amy Winehouse, her lyrics make me think about things that are personal to me.

TC: A press release that introduces your music states: “Kara Marni is set to make her mark on the world”. If you could actually leave a mark on the world, how would it look like?

KM: Heart shape. That sounds so cringy (laughs). But love and spreading positive energy, as cheesy that might sound. It genuinely makes other people want to spread it too. It has a domino effect. The same is when the sun is shining and you may be in a slightly bad mood but the sun will want to make you happy.

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