In anticipation of Laura Marling’s sixth studio album, Semper Femina, freshly released on 10th March, a student press conference was held at Goldsmith’s University in February.
The event was hosted by Jen Long and the event was opened with an acoustic performance of one of Marling’s new singles ‘Wildfire’. Marling’s voice is distinct and her vocal ability is not truly appreciated until a live performance, here she showed off her amazing vocal tone.
Marling explained that the album title, which she also had tattooed at 21 (she’s now 27), came from a Virgil poem that reads ‘fickle and changeable, always woman’, it’s a small cultural reference but one that is a small reminder of her privileged background. Regardless, she reads ‘a lot of poetry, fictional fantasy poetry’ which influences her song-writing. The album originally began unconsciously writing about women through a man’s eyes until Marling realised it was more powerful to look at women through a woman’s eyes. Considering that Semper Femina addresses questions towards society’s views of sexuality and gender, and is very open to continue to question rather than seek definitive answers, it was impertinent that Marling re-assessed her perspective.
For the new single ‘Soothing’, Marling worked as the director for the music video. This was a role that Marling finds more comfortable to talk about as opposed to music, and described the process as ‘one of the more creative things I’ve done’ and that she looks forward to doing more in the future. This is an exciting development from her previous album’s title Short Movie which she described as an album describing something she was about to experience rather than having already experienced.
Semper Femina is an album based more on thought rather than landscape as the previous album had been. Marling’s podcast series ‘Reversal of the Muse’ influenced the album as much as the album influenced the series, it’s a conversation that she would like to continue having with as many people as she can; it helped her become more aware that the issue of femininity ‘is so much more complex and biological than I realised’. She wants to encourage people to look into the presentations that are conveyed by visual art, film, and television amongst other similar industries as these are the mediums we use to interpret the world, so perhaps they should be under a little more scrutiny. Marling’s recent living and recording in America brought to her attention these ideas. She loves America but also found it infuriating because America loves artists and musicians so much that they are given a lot of value, which Marling believes is a reverence to self-indulgence. America gave her a compulsion to indulge even though she had gone there to avoid exactly that. Out of choice Marling did a lot of travelling and touring on her own, as a female in the music industry she found it a mental and physical exertion and at times a little scary. The restrictions of women travelling and her great fear of travelling alone, she wondered might be more of an infliction to women than men.
The conference was punctuated by performances of songs from the album ‘Nothing, Not Nearly’ and ‘Next Time’. A full review of the album can be read here.
Semper Femina is available to listen to here: