The Mercury Rev
This article is from 2008.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling may be just a young sprat in the music game but, as Doug Johnstone finds out, all acclaim is well deserved
Laura Marling is infuriating. Not her music, which is sublime, heartfelt, folky genius, but rather Marling herself, who’s so bloody talented and still only 18 years old.
She got started early, brought up by a gardener mother and a father who was an amateur singer-songwriter and ran a studio. Her first memory is seeing bits of studio equipment lying around, and she can’t remember a time when Joni Mitchell wasn’t on the stereo.
‘I’ve been playing guitar since I was a nipper, and writing songs since I was 13,’ she says shyly. ‘My dad’s a really good guitarist, and he used to sit and teach me all sorts of things.’
Which certainly paid off. Marling’s bittersweet, intelligent and literate debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, was released earlier this year to widespread acclaim, and has been a word-of-mouth success, culminating in a Mercury nomination last week. Don’t expect to see her tumbling out the Ivy in drunken celebration anytime soon, though, as she refused even to take part in the photoshoot for the awards, so spooked was she by the media interest.
Marling’s Joni Mitchell-meets-Carole King sound has attracted the attention of a number of collaborating indie artists including Jamie T and Mystery Jets, but despite plenty of experience already, she still finds herself a bit rabbit-in-the-headlights when it comes to all the attention.
‘In the future I’d just like to be playing nice sized gigs in a chilled-out way,’ she says. ‘Nothing too big or stressful, just nice and relaxed.'
Good luck with that.
Bannerman’s, 08444 999 990, 12 & 13 Aug, 7pm, £10.