Singer/songwriter Marika Hackman first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and taught herself how to play. Born in Hampshire but raised in Selborne, Devon, Hackman's parents were animators, and encouraged her and her brother to be creative by limiting their television time. Both children earned scholarships to Bedales School, which was famed for its celebrity students, including Sophie Dahl and Lily Allen, and was described by Tatler as "a bohemian idyll with bite." During her time there, she met and befriended future model Cara Delevingne. The duo went on to form a band for a brief time, with Hackman on drums and Delevingne on guitar and vocals. Following her time at Bedales, she moved to Brighton to study art, but her yearning to make music won out in the end and led her to move to London's East End after just a year. Folk singer/songwriter Johnny Flynn also attended the same school, and went on to produce Hackman's first single, 2012's "You Come Down." He is also attributed with helping her to secure a record deal with Transgressive. After the single's release, she came to the attention of the fashion brand Burberry, and was chosen for their 2012 ad campaign, appearing in their online acoustic music series. During this time, her brother was also gaining exposure as a house music producer under the name Hackman.