Singer/songwriter Marika Hackman first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and taught herself how to play. Born in Hampshire but raised in Selborne, Devon, Hackman's parents were animators, and encouraged her and her brother to be creative by limiting their television time. Both children earned scholarships to Bedales School, which was famed for its celebrity students, including Sophie Dahl and Lily Allen, and was described by Tatler as "a bohemian idyll with bite." During her time there, she met and befriended future model Cara Delevingne. The duo went on to form a band for a brief time, with Hackman on drums and Delevingne on guitar and vocals. Following her time at Bedales, she moved to Brighton to study art, but her yearning to make music won out in the end and led her to move to London's East End after just a year. Folk singer/songwriter Johnny Flynn also attended the same school, and went on to produce Hackman's first single, 2012's "You Come Down." He is also attributed with helping her to secure a record deal with Transgressive. After the single's release, she came to the attention of the fashion brand Burberry, and was chosen for their 2012 ad campaign, appearing in their online acoustic music series. During this time, her brother was also gaining exposure as a house music producer under the name Hackman. By 2013, Marika had released her first EP, Free Covers, a collection of non-original material. In the same year she also put out two further EPs, That Iron Taste and Sugar Blind, which consisted entirely of her own compositions and was produced by Alt-J's Charlie Andrew. She spent the rest of the year touring with Laura Marling as her support act. By 2015 she was all set to release her debut long-player. We Slept at Last received a warm critical reception, and once again, Marling invited her on tour for what would be her first North American performances. The follow-up to her debut came in 2017, preceded by the lead single "Boyfriend." Both the single and the album I'm Not Your Man featured London group the Big Moon as backing vocalists and instrumentalists. ~ Bekki Bemrose
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 9, 2019 | Sub Pop Records
Ever since Bob Dylan picked up a Stratocaster and discovered he liked things loud and chaotic in 1965, there has been a long, rich tradition of acoustic-oriented artists deciding a bigger and bolder sound might better serve their message, and Marika Hackman confirms this phenomenon isn't dead by a long shot. Hackman was a breathy-voiced nu-folkie on her first two albums (2013's That Iron Taste and 2015's We Slept at Last), but she picked up a band, beefed up the arrangements, and started speaking up on 2017's I'm Not Your Man. She moves even further away from her starting point with 2019's Any Human Friend. While I'm Not Your Man suggested Hackman had belatedly discovered indie rock, Any Human Friend plays like her hip pop move, with plenty of keyboards and drum machines holding down the backing tracks and Hackman layering glossy harmonies around her vocals. There are guitars here, but they mostly serve as texture while the warm but clean electronic textures carry Hackman's melodies and make room for the lyrics. Any Human Friend sounds sleeker and more polished than Hackman's previous releases, but at the same time it takes the playfully libidinous tone of I'm Not Your Man and cranks it up a few levels. These songs leave no doubt that Hackman is a big fan of sex and pleasure, even if they can turn out to be problematic, and there's something quietly disarming in the unguarded way she sings about her needs (and the degrees to which they're being met, with "Hand Solo" revealing she's willing to take responsibility for her own orgasm if push comes to shove). In 2019 it isn't especially novel that Hackman prefers women to men, but her willingness to explain just what she wants and why she wants it on tunes like "All Night" and "The One" still feels refreshing, witty, and honest, not shocking for their own sake but compelling in her willingness to share without grandstanding. Which may have a lot to do with why Hackman chose to match these lyrics with a more passionate and engaging sound on Any Human Friend -- if you want to get what you want, you have to be sure that you're heard. ~ Mark Deming
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Marika Hackman in the magazine