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Laura Marling

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Laura Marling

Laura Marling
Laura Marling performing at Sydney Opera House in Feb, 2012.
Background information
Born (1990-02-01) 1 February 1990
Origin Eversley, Hampshire, England
Genres Folk, folk rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, ukulele
Years active 2006–present
Labels WayOutWest, Virgin, Ribbon
Associated acts Noah and the Whale, The Rakes, Mystery Jets, Johnny Flynn, Mumford & Sons

Laura Beatrice Marling (born 1 February 1990) is a folk musician from Eversley, Hampshire, England. Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim, her second album I Speak Because I Can, and her fourth album Once I Was An Eagle were all nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2008, 2010, and 2013, respectively. She won Best Female Solo Artist at the 2011 Brit Awards, and was nominated for the same award at the 2012 and 2014 BRIT Awards.

Early life

The youngest of three daughters, Marling was born in Berkshire, England, and learned guitar at an early age. Her father, Sir Charles William Somerset Marling, the 5th Marling Baronet ran a recording studio, introduced her to folk music and shaped her musical taste,[1] an experience that Marling later described as "a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse.... I couldn’t slot myself into the age-appropriate genre".[2] Marling received a scholarship to attend Leighton Park School, a private Quaker school in Reading, Berkshire.[3] Marling later revealed that during her secondary school years she felt uneasy around other people and was afraid of death. In 2013, she described her teenage self as "weird".[1][4]

Music career

After completing her GCSEs at 16, she joined her older sisters and moved to the suburbs of London.[5] She soon joined a cluster of intertwined bands that were drawn to acoustic instruments and tradition-tinged melodies—the group formed a musical movement that was labelled "nu-folk" by the British press.[2] Marling joined the original line-up of indie folk band Noah and the Whale[3] and appears as a background vocalist on their debut album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down; however, she left the group before the album's 2008 release due to a dissolved relationship with a fellow band member.[1][6] Marling also appeared on The Rakes track "Suspicious Eyes", from the band's 2007 album Ten New Messages, credited as 'Laura Marlin'. Marling would later collaborate with Mystery Jets and contributed guest vocals to the 2008 single "Young Love".[7][8]

2008 - 2011: Alas, I Cannot Swim, I Speak Because I Can, A Creature I Don't Know

She was personally invited to tour with Jamie T after he attended her second-ever solo gig. She has also toured with a number of other musicians from the UK and beyond, including Adam Green from the anti-folk band The Moldy Peaches. She performed at the 2007 O2 Wireless Festival and also performed at the first Underage Festival in August 2007 at Victoria Park, East London, before releasing her debut EP "London Town" on WayOutWest Records.

Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim was released on 4 February 2008,[9] and later nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize. The album, as well as subsequent singles, were released on Virgin Records. The third and final single from her album, "Night Terror" was released on 27 October 2008, coinciding with a 6-date "Night Terror tour".[10]

Marling's television appearances include The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Later With Jools Holland, performing "Ghosts" and "New Romantic" respectively. In 2008, she appeared on Russell Brand's Radio 2 show alongside her sister. She once chose to perform on the street after being denied entry to one of her own performances for being underage.[11][12]

Laura Marling performing at Glastonbury in 2010.

The follow-up to Alas, I Cannot Swim, titled I Speak Because I Can, was released on 22 March 2010. Produced by Ethan Johns, the album has a more mature sound and lyricism, dealing with "responsibility, particularly the responsibility of womanhood."[13] The album is preceded by the singles "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)", released on iTunes in December 2009[14] and "Devil's Spoke" on 15 March 2010. On 28 March 2010, I Speak Because I Can entered the UK Albums Chart at Number 4. It was also nominated for the 2010 Mercury Music Prize. In 2013, NME listed the album at 263 in their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[15]

Marling's third album, A Creature I Don't Know, was released on 12 September 2011. The album received positive reviews and reached number four on the UK album charts. [16]

2012 to present: Once I Was an Eagle

During October 2012, Marling completed the 'Working Holiday Tour' of the US as a solo performer. At the time, she announced that the fourth album, later named Once I Was an Eagle, was finished and was scheduled for a February 2013 release;[17] however, this was later delayed until May 2013. On 8 March 2013, Marling confirmed that the album would be released on 27 May 2013, and would be released in the US one day later.[18]

The fourth album's first single "Master Hunter" was released on 17 April 2013,[19] while Once I Was An Eagle entered the UK charts at number 3.[20]

Following the release of the album, Marling revealed that she only listened to "music made between 1969 and 1972" during the songwriting process for the album, and described it as an era when "guitar was becoming a kind of masculine extension". Marling also explained during the post-release promotional period that she sought a minimalist approach for the fourth album and, in contrast to the previous two albums, recorded all of the songs without a band.[21][22]

Once I Was an Eagle is Marling's third album to be nominated for the Mercury Prize. The list of artists for the Prize's 2013 shortlist also included David Bowie and Savages.[23] The 2013 award was eventually won by James Blake.[24]

Marling revealed in a September 2013 interview that she had enough songs for a fifth album at the time, and she will "maybe make this record and then have a big, long, hard think about what I’ve done." During a February 2014 performance for National Public Radio (NPR)'s "eTown" series, Marling played one of the new songs, titled "Born To Love."[22][25]

During a European tour for her fourth album, Marling expressed doubts about her long-term commitment to the music industry during an interview with Neil McCormick of the Telegraph newspaper. Published in September 2013, the Telegraph article included the following statement showing Marling's uncertainty:

When I play, I am very much in the space where I was when I wrote the music. You could slay me quite easily, I’m at my most vulnerable. I am very private, in all aspects of my life, to everybody, so why is it that I get up on stage every night and open myself in front of strangers? I’m not sure if I’ve got the bottle for it, any more.[22]

Marling added that she sometimes thinks, "oh, I exist in this industry" when listening to the radio and said to McCormick that she is unsure if she wants to remain in such a position.[22]

Personal life

Marling's former relationships include Noah and the Whale singer/guitarist Charlie Fink, from whom she separated in 2008,[26] and Mumford and Sons singer/guitarist Marcus Mumford, from whom she separated in late 2010.[27]

Marling moved to the Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles, California in 2013.[28] In an interview with The Guardian, Marling explained that she believes that Americans are "a lot more poetic" and also provided an insight into her perspective on relationships:

I sound awful saying it but I think it can be like that. I see a lot of people in unstimulating relationships. And not just boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. They find themselves in stagnant friendships. If people were a little less scared [of ending things] they'd get more out of life… You meet the right person at the right time and they fulfill a certain something in your life. You fulfill something in theirs. But there's a time limit to that. Unless you choose to be bloody good company for the rest of your life, do you know what I mean?[1]

In September 2013, Marling explained: "I am a solitary person but I love people, I’m not a misanthrope. I like the idea of speaking only when it’s strictly necessary. The closest I ever feel to people is in shared experience. I’m still exploring that, I don’t know where it’s going to lead me."[22]


Awards and nominations

Year Organisation Nominated work Award Result
2008 Mercury Prize 2008 Alas, I Cannot Swim Mercury Prize Nominated
2010 Mercury Prize 2010 I Speak Because I Can Nominated
RTÉ Radio 1 Album of the Year Nominated[29]
2011 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards "Rambling Man" Best Original Song Nominated
Brit Awards Best British Female Won
NME Awards Best Solo Artist Won
Q Awards Best female Nominated
2012 Brit Awards Best British Female Nominated
NME Awards Best Solo Artist Nominated
2013 Mercury Prize 2013 Once I Was an Eagle Mercury Prize Nominated
2014 Brit Awards Best British Female Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d Tom Lamont (28 April 2013). "'"Laura Marling: 'Americans – they're just a lot more poetic. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (4 September 2011). "Goddesses and Beasts in a Dusky, Lilting Roar". New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Fisher, Alice (26 October 2008). "Little gal with a full-grown talent". London:  
  4. ^ Cairns, Dan (14 February 2010). "Laura Marling is cut from different cloth". (London). Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Mudgway, Sarah (2 February 2012). "Interview: LAURA MARLING on 'A Creature I Don’t Know'.". London: Coup de Main magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Lusk, Jon (8 August 2008). )"Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down"Fans of Belle & Sebastian, Arcade Fire and Bill Callahan may well enjoy this disc (review, . BBC. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Amrit Singh (14 February 2008). """New Mystery Jets (Feat. Laura Marling) Video – "Young Love. Stereogum. SpinMedia. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Young Love (feat. Laura Marling)". iTunes Preview. Apple Inc. 24 March 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Laura Marling - Discography". Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  10. ^ The George Lamb Show on BBC 6 Music
  11. ^ Jude Rogers (13 February 2008). "Observer interview". London: Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "YouTube - laura marling busking part 1". 2 October 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "I Speak Because I Can, First Listen". NME. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Laura Marling - News". Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  15. ^ "Pictures of The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 300-201 - Photos". Nme.Com. 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  16. ^ "Laura Marling To Release New Album 'A Creature I Don't Know' In September". Gigwise. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  17. ^ Richard Johnson (9 October 2012). "Laura Marling unveils new material on US solo tour". NME. IPC Media Entertainment Network. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Laura Marling announces new album 'Once I Was An Eagle' - Music News". Digital Spy. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  19. ^ Paste Staff (17 April 2013). "Listen to Laura Marling's New Single, "Master Hunter". Paste Magazine. Paste Media Group. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Musicscene (23 June 2013). "Laura Marling Olympia Theatre Dublin 2013 live concert date confirmed for Sunday September 29th!". Music Scene – Access All Ages. Music Scene. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Frank Valish (23 October 2013). "Laura Marling The Master". Under The Radar Magazine. Under The Radar Magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e Neil McCormick (25 September 2013). "Mercury Music Prize 2013: Laura Marling, interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Katie Hasty (11 September 2013). "David Bowie, Disclosure, Laura Marling make Mercury Prize shortlist". HitFix Music. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  24. ^ Josh Halliday (31 October 2013). "James Blake wins Mercury music prize for album Overgrown". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "WATCH: LAURA MARLING PERFORMS NEW TRACK Performs ‘Born To Love’". Hot Press. Hot Press. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  26. ^ Fisher, Alice (23 August 2009). "Tell Laura I love her – at least I used to". London:  
  27. ^ "Marcus Mumford dated Laura Marling - Celebrity Break Ups". Zimbio. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  28. ^ Andy Gill (2013-05-24). "Little bird flies to LA: If you've been wondering where Laura Marling has been pondering... - Features - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  29. ^ "RTÉ MUSIC: Tune in before midnight strikes on New Year’s Eve, when RTÉ Radio 1’s Album of the Year will be revealed.". RTÉ Press Centre. 25 December 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 

External links

  • Official Website
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