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Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006 11:36 pm

The continuing chronicles of Marina V

Our Russian-born songbird takes flight

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The name Marina V should be familiar to regular readers of this column. We’ve been checking in with her periodically, watching as her career develops. It’s been an interesting ride for the Russian-born singer/songwriter, who arrived in our area about a decade ago as a student at Illinois College in Jacksonville.

To recap: Marina Verenikina (that’s what the “V” stands for) and her music partner, Nick Baker, moved to Los Angeles in 2003 — a decision that opened doors for them. They got attention from an established rock manager and the opportunity to work with a well-known producer. As a result, 2006 was one of the most productive years for our pop star in progress. Here’s a summary, gleaned from the official Marina V Web site (www.marinav.com):

It started in January with a performance at the NAMM Show, the international gathering sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants. There she did her thing as a guest of her sponsors: Audix microphones, Yamaha pianos, and Peavey guitars and speakers. In February, Verenikina became a U.S. citizen. In March, Baker and Verenikina visited Slovakia and the Czech Republic, performing six concerts in a whirlwind seven-day tour. The next few months included mostly West Coast touring, plus planning for a unique recording project.

“We wanted to do a live performance CD but still have a quality sound recording,” Verenikina says, “so we took our audience into the studio with us.”

With 50 fans, friends, and curious bystanders buying advance tickets to the recording session, the extra income allowed the duo to purchase recording time at SoundMoves, a respected studio in LA.

“The owner was talking about doing a house concert with us in his studio, so I suggested we do the recording at the same time,” says the singer/songwriter. “ It was really fun for the fans, the owner of the studio, and me.”

In November, Verenikina signed a distribution deal with WEA (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic), putting Marina V CDs into retail outlets all over California and making it possible to order the recordings from record stores anywhere in the United States.

Tune in next year for another update on the adventures of Marina V.

Marina V and Nick Baker perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 745 Woodside Rd. (217-585-9550). Proceeds from the $10 tickets will be split between the ALUUC and the performers.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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