“I am very excited to be returning to Indiana and to be bringing my new music to you,” gushed rising pop sensation Marina V. in a soft voice flavored by a delicious Russian accent. The Russian-born singer/songwriter/pianist makes her second appearance in as many years Sunday at Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso.
Marina Verenikina and Nick Baker – her songwriting partner, accompanist and husband – had just flown in a few hours earlier from Moscow, having performed at a CD release party for her new album, “Inner Superhero.” “It was so much fun,” said the 26-year-old musician with dual citizenship in the United States and Russia. “I used to perform in Russia about twice a year, but last year I went back four times. This year is not even half over and I’ve already been there twice. It’s so lovely. I get lots of flowers when I come home and they are proud that a Moscow girl is making it in America.”
Marina returns the love by shooting many of her music videos in Moscow, in hopes of dispelling the image Westerners have of Russia as a gray and desolate land. “Moscow is such a truly beautiful place,” she stressed. “I want to show that (though the videos).”
Marina loves America as well. “I spent a year here as a FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) cultural exchange student in the late 1990s when I was 15-years-old. At that age, you are so impressionable,” she said. “Things were quite difficult and unstable in Russia at that time. I saw when I was here that the ‘American Dream’ was a reality. I was impressed by the ‘go for it’ attitude in people. I saw people starting their own businesses. I saw people from poor families making good lives for themselves. I really bloomed during my year in this country and fell in love with American positivity.”
Marina returned to the U.S. less than two years later to stake claim to her own little piece of the ‘American Dream’. Although now living full-time in Los Angles, Marina fondly recalls time spent in America’s heartland. “I attended university in Springfield (Illinois),” she noted. “It was there I met Nick in a Jacuzzi at a fitness club. We started talking about music and he really encouraged me. Our first date turned into a songwriting session and here we are today. If not for Nick, I would still be sitting in my room writing songs no one would hear.”
Armed with the new CD – “Inner Superhero” – Marina plans to showcase all 11 of its songs at Sunday’s concert. “This album is about looking inside and discovering the hero within each of us. It’s written in two chapters,” she said. “Almost like a Side A and Side B. The first part (sub-titled ‘Space Rose’) is a little dark, but things get better in the second half (sub-titled ‘The Happy Ending’).”
The new tunes will be supplemented with favorites from earlier albums; including her treatment of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Don’t Cry” (a huge hit for Marina in Russia) and her international single, “You Make Me Beautiful.”
More about Marina at marinav.com