“I’ve just been crying about a boy,” says singer Maria Minerva by way of explaining her smudged eye makeup. “I’m from Eastern Europe and England, and we’re not happy. I’m very needy and powerful—not a good combination.” Perhaps, but those who hear Minerva’s mesmerizing new album, Will Happiness Find Me? (Not Not Fun), will likely beg to differ. The 24-year-old Londoner, who was born in the former Soviet republic of Estonia, makes music that is a spectral blur of lo-fi shoegaze and handmade dance beats. Most alluring, however, is the postmodern siren call of Minerva herself. Indeed, she makes for an iconoclastic club diva. Her singing evokes the alienated soul of Nico, but as if it were filtered through a primitive software program. “I have a constant crisis,” says Minerva, who is currently finishing a master’s degree in aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths College in England. (Her other life as an academic at least in part explains why she named her last album Cabaret Cixous, in tribute to groundbreaking literary theorist Hélène Cixous.) “I was really listening to Drake while making this album, but it sounds like psychedelic hippie music, not R&B,” Minerva offers. In fact, Will Happiness Find Me? sees her adding a layer of real feeling to her high-low sonic clashes and willful paradoxes of persona, particularly on tracks such as “Heart Like A Microphone.” “I don’t enjoy borders,” she explains. “My inferiority complex and narcissism go hand in hand. I have ambition, but also feel like a loser all the time! It’s original in the way I put it together . . . It’s more interesting if you send out confusing messages.”
PHOTO: MARIA MINERVA IN LONDON, JULY 2012. ALL CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES: MIU MIU. COSMETICS: NARS COSMETICS, INCLUDING POWDER FOUNDATION IN SIBERIA AND BLUSH IN DOUCEUR. HAIR PRODUCTS: BUMBLE AND BUMBLE, INCLUDING STYLING LOTION. STYLING: ZOE JAMES/JULIAN WATSON AGENCY. HAIR: CHI WONG/JULIAN WATSON AGENCY. MAKEUP: HIROMI UEDA FOR NARS COSMETICS/JULIAN WATSON AGENCY. SPECIAL THANKS: KRISTINA RECORDS.
Listen to music from Maria Minerva here.