Twilight fans first fell in love with the music of Anya Marina when her song “Satellite Heart” was prominently featured on the soundtrack to the second installment of the vampire teen film series, New Moon.
But it seems like the rest of the world caught on to this Ann Arbor, MI-born singer-songwriter thanks to her inventive cover of acclaimed rapper T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”, with 6 million views on YouTube and counting.
“I like to make a song kind of stripped down so that you can hear the lyrics—which are so important,” Marina tells American Songwriter. “I’m a lyric person, I guess. But I’m also a melody person. In all the songs that I cover, the melodies are so strong. Like the melody for ‘Whatever You Like’; I remember people dancing and bouncing up and down in the club where I first heard it. That’s because of beat but also melody.”
Now Marina is excited to be here at American Songwriter debuting a new cover in this sultry rendition of the 1963 Jimmy Mitchell ballad “Can’t Nobody Love You” first popularized by Solomon Burke in 1964 but has been interpreted by such prominent British Invasion acts as The Zombies and The Moody Blues.
“When I first heard the song, I had heard the Zombies version of it, and it totally stopped me in my tracks,” Marina tells AmericanSongwriter. “I loved Colin Blunstone’s voice. I didn’t realize they didn’t write it until I decided to cover it and looked up the publishing. James Mitchell (who went by Jimmy Mitchell and Ronnie Mitchell) wrote it, and Solomon Burke first performed it. I just loved the lyrics and how intense they are, how confident and borderline crazy. That’s the same reason I covered ‘Whatever You Like’: that wild confidence that speaks of a certain bravado you don’t find in a lot of my songs.”
Speaking of which, there may soon come a time when Marina’s own luminescent original material gets covered by future generations with the same level of curiosity and passion. Her own songs have been featured as bed music for popular TV shows as 13 Reasons Why, Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl, and her time on the Atlantic Records subsidiary Chop Shop yielded two critically acclaimed albums (Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II and Felony Flats) and an EP (Spirit School).
On September 25, Marina will release her latest LP, Queen of the Night. Working alongside some of her favorite producers including Miles Francis, Jean-Baptiste Bocle and Matt Pond PA guitarist Chris Hansen among others, Marina feels super strong about how utilizing the lessons she’s learned from being put through the major label machine helped her prepare to tackle the preparation of its forthcoming release more clearly.
“Aside from having a great sonic team, I also learned from that there was a method to the madness of releasing albums: There was a system and a schedule to things,” she explains. “Not only would I need ample time to write and record, but then I’d need to hire people well in advance of release to talk about artwork, design, merch, touring, radio play, getting on playlists, pitching songs to film ant tv, etc. I would need at least 3-4 months ahead of release to get a publicity plan together. Hiring a great publicist has been well worth it (shout-out: Clarion Call).”
And ultimately, Marina simply hopes to continue her trajectory of success that’s helped her land spots on some of our favorite shows and hopefully get back out on the road once the COVID-19 crisis eventually subsides, where she’s built a solid fanbase based on supporting such major acts as Spoon, Chris Isaak and comedian Nikki Glaser.
“I’d love as many people to hear it as possible, for the songs to reach far and wide, to end up in great films and tv shows so more people can get turned on to my music,” she admits to American Songwriter. “It always excites me to see people posting about it online, in stories, to hear that a song got a particular person through a particular time. But what are typical aspirations now? To go viral on Tik Tok? I guess I hope someday to be so well known that I’m issuing cease and desists to an incumbent for using my songs without permission. But honestly, it’s been a long time dream to be in American Songwriter, so thank you.”
Photo credit: Shervin Lainez