The best way to describe Mariel is, in the words of Britney Spears, ‘not a girl, not yet a woman’. Mariel is the youngest starlet in Belarusian pop music at just 18. Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez are her role models; she has Britney’s wide eyes and immediate appeal but she most resembles J Lo — tanned and energetic. Add a clear voice and romantic songs to this chemistry and you’ll have some idea of Mariel’s image.
Mariel, your real name is Masha, isn’t it?
Maria Sviridovich; my last name is similar to the popular TV anchor’s (Elena Spiridovich’s — Editorial Board). I decided to take a pseudonym appropriate for a pop singer. Mariel is a derivative of Maria.
How did you find yourself in the music business?
I’ve been in the business since infancy as my parents are musicians. I grew up with the Belarusian Military Area Band — for whom my father sang. My mother teaches music at the University of Culture and I finished music school specialising in piano. I’m now in my third year at music college as a choral conductor. Last year, I was selected for the Grand Prix studio of the State Concert Orchestra. Later, I enrolled at the Vanilla Sky band within this studio. After working there, I realised I wanted a solo career. Now I am collecting songs; I work with composers Sergey Sukhomlin and Leonid Shirin.
These composers write songs for many Belarusian artistes — including
Corriana and Vera Karetnikova. Aren’t you afraid of being alike?
It’s important to define your image and style; if you have a clear idea of who you are, then composers can write for you. I appreciate lively dance rhythms. Speaking of rhythmic structure, it should be called ‘broken’ rhythm. Also, I like hats very much — I have about ten in my wardrobe already.
After a series of concerts in the Mogilev region and at the Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk you are on vacation. What are you doing?
I am relaxing. I watch pop concert videos and learn from them and I am taking dance classes. I improvise on the piano and compose music. I do everything girls of my age do. I don’t collect calendars but I socialise with my friends and go to the disco to dance all night long. Soon I won’t have time for that — I’ll be studying again, shooting and recording.
Mariel, you know, out of a hundred singers only one can be a star. What if this isn’t you?
I’m not afraid of this. I want to be a singer. It’s beyond expression how I feel when I go on stage knowing I can please the audience. The stage is the only place where I am totally happy. At school, chemistry, maths and physics were a catastrophe for me. All our family are the same — we were born for music I think.
All your songs are about love — (You Play Love, My Love) — why is this?
Why love? I don’t know. I’m anticipating something beautiful and exciting. So far I can speak only of platonic relationships.
That’s why I’m asking — it seems your songs are too ‘adult’ for your age. Maybe you shouldn’t become an adult so quickly?
Listen to my lyrics — I think they are good for my age and very romantic: ‘My love does not speak poetry. It’s silent, it’s breathlessly quiet.
My love is a wonderful dream with you and me together.’ Mariel smiles cunningly. She’s like a rose bud — not a girl, not yet a woman. May her childish bloom remain (rather than make-up) and may her wide eyes look in the future with no fear. Adults’ cautionary advice will surely all be in vain.
by Anna Shadrina