May 21, 2012 11:25AM

Oyster #99: Marika Hackman

"Keep doing what you're doing. Keep having fun."

A few months ago Marika Hackman was a folk songwriter playing support gigs in her hometown of Brighton, UK. On the same day she tweeted that she'd just reached 100 followers, Burberry's Christopher Bailey picked her to become one of the faces of their new eyewear campaign. We expect she'll soon have a few more people to tweet at.

Ariane Halls: How did you start out in music?
Marika Hackman: Well, I would say I'm still starting out! I mean, I've always written lots of stuff, since I was probably about twelve. And I did my first gig when I was 16. I was doing it at school in forms four, five and six, and then I just did kind of one-off gigs here and there. But now I'm concentrating on it and it's kind of taking off, so it's all really exciting.

What was it like getting the call from Burberry?
[Laughs] I kind of already had a slight idea that I might get it … but I never thought it would really happen — and then suddenly I got this email and this phone call and it all got confirmed and I was so excited! Ask my friends — I was jumping around my room! I just never even thought it would happen. I was so excited.

What was it like doing the shoot itself?
It was really nice. It was quite surreal. It was the first time I've ever done anything like that, you know — with proper hair and make-up and stylists. I've never been in that situation before … It was really an incredible experience. The set was kind of white and it had no corners, and I was kind of bandying about with the cameras and it was like I was in some kind of strange Siberian wasteland. It was very strange, but amazing.

If you could go back ten years and give yourself some advice, what do you think it would be?
I think ten years ago I would only have been about ten! [Laughs] But I'd say to myself, "Keep doing what you're doing. Keep having fun. Life's hard but it's all going to be OK. And you're going to feel very excited in ten years' time if you carry on!"

Were you doing music back then? When you were ten?
Oh yeah, I've always been. My parents got me piano lessons when I was about three, and then I started to play the guitar and drums and bass and stuff like that around that time. And I have quite a lot I owe to my grandparents as well. It was always very nurtured in my family.

Burberry is a very British brand. What's the most quintessentially British thing about you?
I think it's probably Earl Grey tea. I just love Earl Grey tea. It's my favourite, so that's probably it [laughs].

Burberry has a reputation for supporting emerging music talent. How do you find out about new bands and new music?
I find that because I'm often doing a support act, it's [through] gigs. When I stay along to watch the other acts, I find out about a lot of music that way. Also my friends — a lot of them are very interested in music so I find out through them. And my brother, as well, things filter down through him. And also just going on the internet and just having a bit of a browse and finding stuff out.

Why do you think people mythologise musicians so much? What makes musicians so fascinating?
I think with music — well, with any art — it's about tracing back to an emotional perception, whether that's hearing or watching or feeling or whatever. And I think that when you hear music it makes you feel like you completely relate to something, whether it's the lyrics or the melody or something — you feel like you immediately have a connection with the person who wrote it … So that's why: it's because people are fascinated by the fact that someone has written something that can relate to them.

Marika wears a selection from Burberry.
Photography: Amina Nolan
Make-up: Ciara McDonald

Ariane Halls

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