“my brother’s making a techno remix of my folk music.”

by faran krentcil

A first music video is a milestone for any musician, but 20-year-old Marika Hackman got something very special: her YouTube debut was produced by Burberry, who enlisted the Brighton, England native as their latest eyewear model. We caught up with the folk singer-songwriter on her first trip to the US, ever.

Welcome to America! Where are you visiting from?

I'm originally from Hampshire.

Where Alexa Chung is from!

Yeah, I had a friend who lived in her village. But my parents moved to Brighton and we live on a farm now. Not like a real far, we don't have any animals, except some chickens. They're our second try, though, because the first batch of chickens that came with the farm, our cats kind of - I mean, there was a chicken massacre. But we bought new chickens and now it's great. We get a lot of eggs!

When did you start playing guitar?

I've always kind of been quite musical. When I was three, my parents got my piano lessons, which basically gives you this inherent kind of musical knowledge. My older brother is musical as well; he's like a house music mixer/ producer and he's getting quite big! He's doing really well, but since we're both doing very different music, there's no competitiveness.

Do you ever collaborate?

We do! He calls it "funky house." It's where he takes some of my folk stuff, and cuts it with lots of beats.

When did you realize you could sing?

I taught myself guitar and when I started making up my own songs, my singing voice just kind of came out! I never really thought about it, and it's completely natural. I don't put any runs in my voice or any weird vocal tricks, because I think that ruins the emotion of your songs. They're so much easier to believe if you're just natural and real.

Do you remember your first show?

I was sixteen, and it was in London. I wasn't technically allowed to be in the club, and they found out during soundcheck that I was underage. I almost didn't get to play! So that was my first foray into "gigging."

How did you get hooked up with Burberry.

I went to school with Cara [Delevingne, the Burberry model] when I was a teenager. We were friends - we actually had a band together! It was called The Clementines. Cara sang an I played bass and drums. Unfortunately, we never wrote anything very good, but who knows? Maybe now we can do a reunion tour! Wahoo!

So Cara gave your demo to Burberry?

Basically! It was like, "Quick, send me your email, we need you for this fashion campaign!" Like, "What?!"

Tell us about your personal style.

Oh god. I just like to be laid back; honestly, this is a shirt I wore as pajamas. And I forgot my hairbrush in England, and I don't have any conditioner here, so that's why my hair is so tangled.

I think it looks cool.

My mum is always getting on me, like, "Ah, brush your hair!" And I never take a hairbrush with me - I hope she doesn't see me right now! I'll never hear the end of it.