Portuguese alt-folk-rock artist Filipa Marinho, who performs eponymously under her last name, was raised on American cartoons and the sap-fest that was ’90s rom-coms. Against this colorful backdrop, her delicate brand of snark was born. Marinho’s new single “I Give Up and It’s Ok” takes the expectations of childhood and throws them out the window.
“It came to me while trying to climb a volcano in the Azores and failing to finish due to harsh weather,” Marinho explains. “As I sat there alone and tired, 80 feet from the mountain top, I suddenly realize that sometimes you can’t fight against obvious obstacles — whether harsh island winds or someone else not willing to meet you halfway. It’s best to let go of what you’ve idealized. Sometimes it’s ok to give up.” It’s an all-too-familiar feeling, the sense of panic when you’re forced to quit; whether it’s a personal goal, career or a relationship, it can be a long journey of acceptance to get yourself to that Jerry Maguire “Free Fallin'” level of okay.
On a first listen, Marinho’s music has the instant relief of Xanax: there’s an unaffected, straightforward quality to her voice that soothes and relaxes. The video for “I Give Up and It’s Ok” follows Marinho as she wanders by foot off the road, through the woods, and towards a distant building on the top of a hill. When she reaches a stream, she stops, seemingly to unwind, and is confronted with a blue-faced version of herself hiding in the woods. The ensuing dance sequence summarizes Marinho’s vibe pretty well: upbeat, quirky, surprising.
Watch AudioFemme’s exclusive premiere of “I Give Up and It’s Ok” and read our full interview with Marinho below.
AF: “Born in Lisbon and raised in front of the tv” – I absolutely love that line from your bio. As an artist, what did you take from your childhood and what did you throw away?
FM: Thanks, I like it too. Could maybe turn it into a song.
As a child I quickly learnt to live with dichotomy. My dad had a strong character that was both the pain causer and joy sparkler in our household. He would either be a source of music, laughter, and bring us into contact with some of the most interesting people (musicians, artists, politicians, football players, filmmakers…), or on the other hand, turn into the authoritarian and emotionally violent figure that made us hide away in our bedrooms and survive on solitude and imagination.
As an artist, and as a person really, I still carry that with me. The capacity to feel and live in between opposites. Even musically I am drawn to that, to join elements that wouldn’t normally go well together. For example, some guitar and bass lines on the record are kind of fighting against each other but that’s what makes the final songs so interesting to me. Just like my favorite people are the ones that can live with their own inner conflicts.
AF: At what age did you start taking an interest in music?
FM: I was born into it really. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in music. It was kind of a mandatory thing around my family. Some older members already played piano and guitar. And my father was, and still is, the biggest melomaniac person I know.
AF: What musicians / bands have most influenced your sound?
FM: That’s a tough one. In terms of production I often went back to Big Thief for references on how the instruments take up space and respect the storytelling at the same time. Some folks have told me the tracks feel reminiscent of Black Belt Eagle Scout, Mac DeMarco, The Smashing Pumpkins, and even Alanis Morissette. So I don’t really know… I guess it all sounds like me.
AF: You’ve been touring like a wild woman this year. How’s the road been?
FM: Indeed, I was lucky enough to play a lot of shows in different formats. Some small intimate gigs and some bigger festival venues. It’s all been humbling and reassuring that I’m on the right track. And the stage feels like home.
AF: Tell us about “I Give Up and It’s OK” – what was the genesis of this song?
FM: It came to me while trying to climb a volcano in the Azores and failing to finish due to harsh weather. As I sat there alone and tired, 80 feet from the mountain top, I suddenly realize that sometimes you can’t fight against obvious obstacles — whether harsh island winds or someone else not willing to meet you halfway — it’s best to let go of what you’ve idealized. Sometimes it’s ok to give up to avoid becoming something you’re not. The video is about that too. The blue character that lives on the top of the mountain is the fool that one can become if they don’t give up on their idea of self.
AF: If you could open for any act, living or dead, who would you open for?
FM: Joni Mitchell.
AF: Where is your favorite place on earth?
FM: The beach. Or the studio. Or the stage. Hard to choose…
AF: What brings you peace?
FM: Walking my dog on an empty beach.
AF: What brings you chaos?
FM: People with lack of empathy.
AF: Current song on repeat?
FM: Molly Sarlé – “Human”
AF: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
FM: “Go for it.”
Marinho’s debut album ~ (read as “tilde”) drops October 18th.