QUOTES FROM LAURA

Barefoot Marling in bed with her guitar

FREUD

"Salomé believed Freud’s idea of penis envy was incorrect. Women do not feel they lack a penis. It's more that they are like hermaphrodites, and entirely self-contained sexually. Freud acknowledged to Salomé that he might have been wrong, so can you imagine what would have happened if our entire western psyche wasn’t based on this idea that women lack a penis? I believe my predominant energy is masculine, even though I'm definitely feminine too."

THE NOTION OF THE 'TRAGIC WOMAN'

"I’m interested in people’s perception of the characters I’ve written and played with on my records, because in my mind they’re characters that can’t be made tragedies of...Our culture loves female tragedy. It’s been so ingrained, over and over again, and there haven’t been enough written alternatives to tragic, solitary women. So that’s my main focus now: rewriting that idea of the tragic woman.”

LEONARD COHEN

"He was a poet of extraordinary elegance and class, one of the rare realist-romantics, a genre from which I have drawn a (so far) short life and career’s worth of inspiration. His lyrical world is so vivid, melancholy, solitary but not, crucially, isolated. Modern story telling, grown up romantic turmoil. In my mind he was always in his late thirties, always wearing a suit, always looking on gently to the world wondering how to move through it, always pondering his last love affair, always making space in his heart for the next."

GENDER ROLES

"I’m interested in morality and the origins of morality, and how confining the idea of masculinity and femininity is. I spent a lot of time thinking about that with this record, because I’m at an age where that becomes an interesting question (what you have defined yourself as at this point)...I think there are aspects of masculinity and femininity in all things, and I see a lot of frustrating confinement in men and in women, in very different ways, about the restrictions of these particular roles."

GUITARS

"I tour with Mason guitars but they're built to be bashed around. They're new ones, you know, so they don't have a character yet...the one I've got with me now is a Martin D-45 or something, a Dreadnought. And I've got a couple of those, which makes me sound very privileged, but I have a touring collection of guitars. My precious one that I don't take anywhere - in fact I've moved to Los Angeles and I refuse to take it with me on the plane so it's still in London - is a Martin M-38 from the '80s, the year that they stopped allowing guitars to be made in Brazilian rosewood, so it's the last Brazilian rosewood guitar."

GENDER AND CREATIVITY

"I would say that feminine creativity is inherently different from the masculine, I had a lot of chats with Blake [Mills, Semper Femina’s producer], when we were making the record, about how we started playing guitar, and he was like: ‘I started playing because I wanted to impress girls.’ And that was obviously so different from why I started playing guitar – that was never in my brain, to impress boys. So even that crucial difference makes for a different musician. For me, playing guitar has always been tied up with my identity rather than enticing people in, it’s always been involved in myself."

LAST GIG IN CALCUTTA

"I've never experienced anything like that last gig in Calcutta. I don't write songs that people can dance to, but I wouldn't write songs if I didn't want people to listen to them. Apart from the 5 expats at the front, nobody else wanted us to be there. But, like, it was out last gig, and I just felt like I wasn't going to be defeated by this. So I only played four songs, but I screamed them. If you put it in that horrible way, an entertainer, that's basically what I am; and that's what I had to be in India. I just had to just play the songs and try and make people like them or make sure the people were having a good time. And I'd never really thought of the craft of being an entertainer before."

THE IDEA OF BEING

"With a fear of death comes a fear of insignificance, and I thought well, whatever happens I'm going to be ok because I've done some things. It's not about being something as in being famous; it's being something as in being something to someone. And for me, the idea of being something is actively doing something with your life that positively impacts other people. If you can make people's day a bit better. You don't have to fix their problems, but you just have to make them feel a little more secure."

ON JANE AUSTEN

"When I was growing up...I always thought that I would really like life in Jane Austen-era England; but that's because I'd read that in books and gone, 'That's brilliant.' Her female characters are just so cutting and witty and subtle. But then, you know, it was probably a pretty horrible life, being a woman in a house for ever. But I liked the idea of the way things were done then."

LOGICAL SONGS

"I'm not religious; I'm not romantic and I live purely by logic. I make every decision by logic and sometimes that leads me to the right and sometimes to the wrong decision. But if I don't think about things logically, I can't do it. Things will stress me out."

ON JONI MITCHELL

"Court and Spark was the first album I owned that I listened to over and over. Its actually quite easy listening, the lyrics are simple but striking and the craftsmanship of the entire album is really special. She bridges a few gaps between genres she later went into with more depth, so it's the one I always come back to, but it's closely followed by Blue and Hejira.

"I remember my father playing me Same Situation when I was a nipper, and saying how nobody since has done melodies as well as Joni Mitchell. I concur. The thing that most affected me was just her resonance, and that is something she must have been born with."

VINYL MADNESS

"When I finished touring 'I Speak Because I Can,' I moved into a flat with an old friend who has an amazing Macintosh pre-amp and Tannoy speakers and I just went mad on vinyl. All my money now goes to vinyl. I found this one record by a guy called Jim Sullivan and this label Light in the Attic Records who put out these forgotten gems. Most of the stuff they put out happens to be from 1969 so I got obsessed with records made in 1969. Quite random stuff like Nancy and Lee and Steppenwolf"

(From a short interview with Theo Speilberg of Spinner. Jim Sullivan, who is mentioned above, released his debut album, U.F.O., in 1969 and became quite popular in Malibu, CA in the ensuing few years. In 1975, he and his family set out on a trip from Los Angeles to Nashville looking for a record deal. They disappeared near Santa Rosa, New Mexico and were never heard from again.)

ON SINGING CONTESTS

Marling told BBC 4 Radio's Today Programme on 24 April that singing contests teach the wrong values when it comes to teaching what it is to be a musician. "It's teaching the wrong thing, I think, teaching that you want fame." said Marling. "It's not fame that you want, it's satisfaction, which is a very different thing, but they sometimes go hand in hand. It makes me sad."