Upon the release of her 2010 debut LP, "The Family Jewels," it was immediately apparent to anyone paying attention that Marina Diamandis, aka Marina and the Diamonds, was a bona fide international pop star in the making. She had the acrobatic voice, indelible hooks and a crush-worthy look (more on that in a minute), but there was a knowingness about the idea of pop stardom in general embedded in her lyrics that made her appealing to fans who take their pop with a dash of irony. On her recent release, "Electra Heart," the Welsh singer has doubled-down on reaching for the stars, enlisting the aid of hit-making songwriters like Diplo and Dr. Luke.
It's Dr. Luke's effort on first single, "How to be a Heart-breaker" that has brought on Katy Perry comparisons, albeit with qualifiers like "edgier."
Is that supposed to be taken as a compliment or an insult?
"It's neither," says Diaman-dis. "It's just not true. The thing is, with Dr. Luke, his style is so cemented, I think most people who work with him get his sound. Katy was his first huge success, so it's obvious I'm compared to her. I'm just like, 'Oh whatever.'"
Also getting a big whatever was her label's decision in September to delay the release of the "Heartbreaker" video because, well, they didn't think she looked attractive enough.
She got a call from her manager saying the label didn't like it, she explains: "'They think you need some beauty work,' he said. 'I said, 'I don't care if they think I'm ugly or not, they need to give me a budget if they want me to look botoxed within an inch of my life.'"
Not that she has a problem with that, she says. "I really don't mind. Everything on the album has been in the spirit of that plastic pop element."
A different sort of pop star
“Do you know the funny thing? I really wanted to be one,” says Diamandis of being a pop star. “Now, after this album, even though it’s obviously a pop album, a concerted effort and a very calculated move ... I’m still not one. I’m not like them, not in a horrible way, not like Katy or Rihanna or any of those big pop females.”