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Marina’s Latest Album Provided a New Sense of Freedom: ‘I Didn’t Have Anything To Lose Artistically’

Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land finds Diamandis, who wrote every song and co-produced five of the 10 tracks, reasserting her position as one of pop’s boldest voices; she’ll get to present her vision of the new project during a livestream event this weekend, complete with a full band and desert setting. Ahead of the release of her latest opus, Diamandis chatted with Billboard about addressing social issues in her songwriting, the influence of fans in the social media age, and an ear-catching lyric about Britney Spears.

When did you start writing these songs?

In August 2019. I wrote “Man’s World” first, and then I think just like a month before the pandemic, I wrote “Pandora’s Box.” And then everything after that was in the middle of the pandemic.

How did that affect your creative process?

I mean, when I look back on “Purge the Poison,” it’s such a frenetic song — and it makes sense, because we were all just trying to catch up with these really extreme life events and social events. A lot of social problems have been unveiled for exactly what they are in the pandemic, and that’s definitely mirrored in some of the songs. “New America” was written after the murder of George Floyd. I started it, I think, around that time, and then didn’t really touch it again for six months.

I just felt like it’s such a sensitive topic — particularly being a non-American, but still commenting on racism, which is a problem everywhere still. I wanted to be sure that I was coming from a place that was hopefully not taken as preachy, but we were just as exploratory. So yeah, in short, it has affected my writing a lot. It’s really hard not to — I’m an artist who’s always gained a lot of inspiration from culture and pop culture since the start.

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