Marika Hackman

Captivating young singer-songwriter Marika Hackman makes spare, brooding folk music suffused with delicate melodies which recall Beth Orton or Laura Marling. The 22-year-old grew up in Hampshire and Devon, and began piano lessons from age three. By 14 she was learning the bass and guitar, and briefly played drums in a rock covers duo with childhood friend, supermodel Cara Delevigne. At 18, Hackman moved to Brighton to study art, but after completing her foundation year decided instead to pursue music. Her debut mini-album, That Iron Taste, was recorded with Alt-J producer Charlie Andrew and came out in February 2013. And then her debut full album, We Slept At Last" was released a few weeks ago in February 2015.

Hackman is clear that her main focus is music rather than modelling. “I’ve never been interested in fashion,” she admitted. “I’m very lazy and can’t be bothered to wear uncomfortable clothes, so I find that whole industry quite foreign to me. I want to be taken seriously as a songwriter.”

Hackman’s influences include the music her parents loved – Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder – and musicians she discovered as a budding teen songwriter. “[Portland-based folk singer] Laura Veirs got me into songwriting when I was about 13,” she says. “There was something about her stuff that made me feel a bit sad and weird, which was really addictive. But if I could bring back one songwriter it would be Kurt Cobain.”

Beyond her crystalline vocals and clean-toned, undulating guitar figures, there’s something spectral and unsettling about Hackman’s music which sets her apart from more twee British folk contemporaries. The abstract lyrics on That Iron Taste give her songs an inscrutable, beguiling aura. “I was a fan of the nu-folk scene when I was younger,” she says. “But I’m trying to take it somewhere different – I’m drawn to the darker, melancholic side of things.”