Lots of events are happening this weekend including the Taste of Downtown with the American Music Show, plus plenty of regular rigmarole at area bars, but whenever Marina V comes to town we stop the presses and see what our favorite Russian-born singer/pianist/songwriter has been up to lately.
As usual with Marina, as you are reading this all kinds of things are going on in her very busy world of self-induced music business excitement. With numerous activities – including songwriting, touring, song releases, press releases, CD sales, digital downloads, bookings, emailings and more – since her last visit to her adopted hometown of Springfield, the girl stays busy. For a brief rundown of recent accomplishments, here we go.
On July 11, her new song “I Never Knew” pops up during a video montage on NBC’s long-running soap opera, I mean, daytime drama, Days of Our Lives. Her tune “Every Breath” aired in a previous episode. Delta Airlines now features her song “You Make Me Beautiful” in a music rotation on all flights worldwide. Her latest record My Star, produced by big time record guy Guy Erez and financed entirely by fan support, was officially released on Jan. 18, 2011, on iTunes worldwide and continues to sell at a nice clip. In the last several years she’s toured much of the U.S. and parts of Europe, worked with famed producer Jack Douglas and lofty manager David Krebs, played esteemed Southern California venues like the Kodak Theatre and Hard Rock Café and had numerous songs used in films and on TV. But most important of all, she’s had a good time during the experience.
“I love doing what I do and work hard at it. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing at night,” she says during a phone interview while visiting the Sonoma Valley wine country. “We played some gigs in San Francisco and decided to stay in the wilderness of the Sequoia forest for the rest of the week. We’ve always tried from day one to take time to explore things while traveling.”
Indeed the life of Marina Verenikina includes lots of exploring and traveling. From a childhood of classical piano studies in Moscow as a young citizen of the Soviet Union to her fortuitous visit to the U.S. through winning a national scholarship competition at age 15, her willingness to reach out for adventure and strive for the dream permeates and defines the personality of Marina V.
“I’ve really made my version of the American Dream come true for me,” she says. “We’ve bought a house in California, I play my songs wherever I go and we’re constantly doing what we love to do.”
After winning the scholarship and living in Springfield for a time, she was determined to return to America and did so right after high school in Moscow. After meeting her music partner, multi-instrumentalist Nick Baker, while attending Illinois College in Jacksonville, Marina made the move to full-time music after completing her bachelor’s degree in international studies. From successful performances and recordings in central Illinois the happily ambitious couple moved to Los Angeles and began the long and tedious process of making it in the music business. Defining success is as important as doing the work to achieve it and there sits the gift of contentment for Marina V.
“I’m happy where I am. Of course I’d always like to reach more people, but I’m happy doing what we’re doing,” she says. “As a writer and performer, the biggest joy is reaching people. It’s an amazing thing.”
Marina V (www.MarinaV.com) performs with Nick Baker at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation (www.aluuc.org), 745 Woodside Rd, Springfield, Ill., 217-585-9550. All ages welcome, tickets $10, children under 12, $5.