When life tosses you down a bumpy path, you readjust and roll with it. At least that’s what Buffalo’s Marina Laurendi did once upon a time when it came to working on ‘Stay Mine.’ Her latest EP wasn’t the only subject on the table as we talked lessons learned, wanderlust, snow days, and much more in this new back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: I always love to know what sparked that initial interest in people. For me and writing, it was movies like ‘Now & Then’ and being enamored with the Scholastic Book Fair. For you though, what made you want to make music – was it an album, song, a music video?
Marina Laurendi: I just always loved singing- as soon as I could talk I was singing. I had this little toy piano as a kid and I used to make up melodies on it and figure out how to play things by ear. I was just a creative kid, I loved performing, I loved art, and writing stories and songs and I had dreams of being on Broadway and being like Judy Garland. When I was living in NY and doing theater, my favorite shows were rock shows and ones where I got to play my guitar onstage. I fell in love with being part of the band. I was like why didn’t I do this sooner?! But I can’t say it was anything specific other than I just came into the world loving music and it was something I did for myself and later in life decided I wanted to try sharing.
Kendra: You’ve got your debut EP, ‘Stay Mine,’ out now. When you approach something for the first time, at least for me, it can feel overwhelming because everything is pretty new. What do you think was the grandest lesson learned writing and recording ‘Stay Mine,’ that’ll definitely be in the back of your mind the next time around?
Marina Laurendi: The biggest thing for me was learning how to be patient. Having only recorded singles in home studios before that I thought the process would be quick and easy but there was so much about this project that was different. It was my first time bringing a band into the studio with me so we were translating a live sound into studio sound and trying to create that studio magic. I also had no idea how time-consuming it would be.
We hit a lot of unexpected bumps in the road that delayed getting the project done and I was so frustrated for a while. But after talking with other artists and friends that shared the same experience I realized I had to readjust my expectations and not rush the process. It took a year to finish but we got there the right way and I couldn’t be happier and more proud of what we made.
Kendra: As for the title track of the album, I just have to say thank you for making a video. It’s an art form that I feel isn’t as appreciated as it once was when videos were played on television. For “Stay Mine” we focus on a couple and you noted their wanderlust. With that, where do you think the best place is for a couple to travel and explore?
Marina Laurendi: Well, to be honest, I haven’t had the chance to do as much traveling as I’d like and that’s why it creeps into my music so much. I think getting in a car and road-tripping around the west coast and through the desert sounds amazing. I can tell you I’ve felt most alive and free when I’m in the mountains.
Whether it’s the Catskills or the Rockies, there’s just something that reminds you there’s something bigger than you and you can surrender to the flow. Humans aren’t meant to be larger than life and we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our dreams-it’s cinematic how we view our own lives. But really we are small parts of a bigger cosmos and seeing that and traveling grounds me in the idea that I don’t need to get so caught up in the “story of my life”.
Kendra: Perhaps Buffalo, NY where you’re based? For those not from there – all we know are the Bills and snow. However, what’s Buffalo mean to you in terms of creative inspiration? Is there a place there that you feel drives you most?
Marina Laurendi: Bills and snow are pretty spot on!
I think it’s home and it always will be. I live about half an hour outside the city and my town is small and quiet and everyone knows each other. This place holds all my childhood memories so, of course, it’s special to me. I can’t walk down the street without passing a spot that has history for me. That’s what “Neighborhood Kids” was really about. This homecoming and the nostalgia of basement parties and the way my street looked at dusk and all these things that are so fleeting and beautiful.
Kendra: Being that it’s a new year, have you set any sort of music resolutions for yourself?
Marina Laurendi: Yeah, work-life balance. I recently took a break from Instagram because I realized how depressed it was making me. And I thought “how much of what I do and want is competitively based and driven?” I am very competitive and it can light a fire under my ass but it can also make me work-obsessed and feel like no matter what I do I’m not where I should be. So I want to make sure that I prioritize my mental health above all else. Even if it means the algorithm starts to hate me then screw it, I’m of no use to anyone operating at fifty percent.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Stay Mine,’ out now, what lies ahead for you?
Marina Laurendi: I just want to keep making music, making videos, and playing my songs for people. I want to be open to every opportunity that comes my way and collaborates with different artists. But also I want to commit to being truly fulfilled and just honoring the things that make me happy.