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Calgary LGBTQ+ and A2J activist finds a serendipitous spot of music fame

A recent glitch in Spotify has drawn unlikely international attention to a Calgary “living room, campfire performer” named Marina Giacomin.

This mix-up on Spotify accidentally placed Giacomin’s song, titled “The Girl from the Sex Shop,” under the LA-based artist “MARINA” (Marina Diamandis). The latter has more than 11 million listeners per month.

By chance, “MARINA” had also released a new single of her own last week. Fans eagerly checked her account to find Giacomin’s song there as well. Though confusing to many “MARINA” fans, the response to this song has generally been positive.

Spotify discography of MARINA (SCREENSHOT)

The song on Spotify and YouTube today is an update of a 2004 recording. Giacomin had pulled it out from storage some months ago to record professionally.

Back in 2004, Giacomin penned this folk-country lesbian love song after meeting her then-partner on her first visit to a sex toy shop. At this juncture in Albertan political history, Ralph Klein was attempting to apply the Charter’s not-withstanding clause to evade same-sex marriage, as it was introduced Canada-wide.

Giacomin wrote in protest that “one day soon – even in Alberta – she could be my wife.”

In 2005, Giacomin submitted the original track to the Great Alberta Song Writing Contest. It wrangled a fourth place prize. She hung up her professional musical boots at that time until just recently. She wasn’t expecting her song to see much more fame.

‘Lesbian activity’ in the news

This Spotify mix up, which may take weeks to resolve, has drawn international attention to the track.

“If it means something to people who have been in similar situations – especially gay gals – then I am happy,” Giacomin said.

The content of this song is just as relevant in Alberta’s political climate today as it was 16 years ago. With recent political and social media chatter around “lesbian activity,” Giacomin said she would be thrilled to create a new song for someone like Janis Irwin.

Giacomin is the Executive Director of Calgary Legal Guidance. The group provides Albertans with legal and social services who don’t qualify for Legal Aid but who cannot afford the help.

Interestingly, she notices that people in the legal community tend to have creative aptitude, too.

“In the everyday context of lawyering and the legal profession, a lot of the work tends to be about rules,” she said.

The access to justice community is constantly challenged to find creative ways to apply these rules to help members of society often affected by them.

Even in regular legal practice where these challenges are not present every day, Giacomin notes an underlying love for narrative and a need for creative outlets.

Creative moments

Having built her career in social work, her music has always been a side hobby. The songs she’s drawn to and writes “are always about human rights issues,” Giacomin said.

When asked about plans for future releases, Giacomin said “the stuff I am recording right now is going to be very unplugged and acoustic.”

There is a concept in positive psychology called flow. Giacomin describes it as a moment “when time stands still,” and talents come together naturally.

She jokes that she would love to tap into her musical gift at will. For the time being, she just has to create when the moment strikes her.