124: Anya Marina
Anya Marina was the hottest DJ on the hottest radio station in San Diego. She had a natural, direct and conversational way of talking on the mic that made her a perfect fit for FM radio, she was a witty improviser, and she was fearless in the face of celebrity. Plus from an early age, she loved comedy and had even considered a career in comedic acting.
She could see her life laid out ahead of her. The only problem was, it wasn’t the life she wanted. So she walked away from her career in radio for the career she knew she needed: music, what else? She started releasing her songs independently before signing with Chop Shop, a label that specialized in finding high profile syncs for their artists in an era before “sync” was a word people in the business really thought about.
Her music, intelligent, infectious and hooky songwriting delivered with delicious restraint, found its way to popular TV shows and movies including Grey’s Anatomy, Twilight: New Moon, and Gossip Girl.
She moved. From San Diego to LA. Then she moved again. From LA to Portland. Then she moved again. From Portland to New York. She was busy, in writing sessions, pitching songs for her publisher, developing her career as both a singer and a co-writer.
She continued to release music. (I co-wrote and produced a song on her 2016 release Paper Plane). She could see her life laid out ahead of her. Again. And she thought: now’s the time to bring it all together.
Maybe she didn’t think that. How could I know what she thought? But whatever was going on in her head, she created a web series (Anya Marina: Indie-Pendent Woman) in which she stars as a singer songwriter in New York named Anya Marina. The series, a mockumentary style sendup of a self absorbed pop singer, gave Anya the chance to bring all her original loves together, music, acting, improvisational performance, and keeping company with the odd celeb.
So, is this the life Anya imagined for herself?
We got together recently to talk about how her Russian mother never taught her how to say the word “water” correctly, why she’s committed to “experiencing something together with my audience,” what makes her a good storyteller, and that “when a thought becomes an obsession, that’s when you know you’ll make a change”.