Martika – Across The Ocean



Marta Marrero better known as Martika is touring Australia as part of the awesome Totally 80’s line up. Martika had some massive chart singles including the likes of Toy Soldiers, More Than You Know and I Feel The Earth Move in the eighties and early nineties which all will no doubt feature in her set here in Australia. It was a real privilege and treat talking to Martika about all things music including the teaming up with Prince and touring Australia for the first time in a long time.


Are you excited about coming back to Australia to tour with the Totally 80’s line up?

Thank you so much, I’m so excited, I really am.

Do you remember the last time you toured here, I know there was a tour scheduled that got cancelled?

I think it was in the nineties some time but it has been a long time since I have visited your country. I do remember and have great memories of being in Australia. I had such a wonderful time and the people are so nice, I had a lot of fun meeting different people and I remember there were lots of photo shoots. I remember this one photo shoot on the beach and meeting some really cool surfers, which was nice because it reminded me of home because I’m from California and was very comfortable and familiar to be there, I can’t wait to go back.

And to be part of this line up is great?

I know right, there are some really fun and cool acts on this bill. I think it will be a good time and I’m sure everyone who comes along will have a good time. It sounds like a great party vibe and I remember growing up with some of those acts and singing along to them. I’m really happy to be meeting and hanging out with them as well, meeting the fans and seeing as much of the country as I can. I’ve travelled there before so I’m really looking forward to it.

Some people say it’s the coffee but what are you looking forward to the most about touring Australia?

Well, now that you mentioned coffee, I love coffee. What kind of coffee am I supposed to have? Well you and I should have a cup of coffee when I get there [oh yes please!!!!]. Is there a famous coffee or one that is considered to be the best? I think I need a wish list for when I get there. I think I definitely need something nice to wind down with after a great show.

Are you proud of the fact that you’re a survivor in a tough music business with a career that is still going strong?

I’ve always been connected to music since I was a little girl and I remember my earliest memories as a little girl by myself making up songs and dance moves and stuff like that. I was really fortunate to have been in Los Angeles, California originally for a career in television and film so I started quite young in my career as a child. I haven’t really known another life other than performing arts and making music. I can never get away from it no matter how many experiences I have, music is my ultimate passion in life so I always find myself in musical settings creating something. I always so fortunate to have opportunities come up in my life, it has almost been like a good friend to have an outlet. I’m still amazed that people still support my work and what I have done has been sound tracked to people’s lives. That’s what music is, it is really touching to me to have these unique experiences.

When you look back on your career what do you think some of your biggest achievements have been?

Just being able to do music I’m so proud and being fortunate to be able to work with so many talented people. The thing that I’m so proud of when you get together with other creative individuals, then you collaborate and something comes out of that creative process is what I love so much. It is such a blessing all of the time, to even be able to come out of the studio with something that you’re proud of that in itself is a huge achievement. Then to be able to have it go out to the world and get out to people, then receive the feedback from people, obviously the positive feedback I like is always fulfilling and goes back around. I’ve done something positive with my life and I’m still happy to be able to still sing and dance and the fact that people still want to see me do it is pretty amazing to me. I’m very excited about being able to get out on stage in Australia and perform. I hope people come out and have a great time.

Are you surprised with how tough the music industry has become and how hard it is for artists to make a living from it?

It is pretty unbelievable, it is difficult for a lot of people who make music not that it has ever been an easy task to be able to make a living out of music. It always has been difficult in certain genres more so than others but the fact in the pop and rock world the way that it is now artists need to get out there. It is the whole aspect of being able to monetise your work and it is completely different now from when I started in the music business. I think artists will continue to find it more difficult and a lot of people who have been in the business their whole lives have had to leave it because it is difficult to make a living and pay your bills. The thing that makes it so sad is that you can only get so great at your craft as much as you practice it but then having to monetise your life in other ways from your artistry, it is no different whether you’re blues, jazz and folk there are so many genres of music that are more difficult for people to make money than in the pop world. I think a lot of us are still shock a little bit, it’s unbelievable! It is a new era and times are always changing. It is what it is now, people need to be more creative and work harder if they want to be in the business. The days of the big bling bling is not like what it was, it is not going to be that kind of ride any more. It is interesting, it is not great for the industry but people in the arts are going to struggle a lot more.

What was it like working with Prince with songs for Martika’s Kitchen?

I always tell people if you saw Purple Rain you kind of get the vibe. The thing about it is that I didn’t work directly with him in the studio. We worked separately on music and I wasn’t set up in there or anything. I did most of my recordings in LA and New York with different musicians working on different elements. Working with the music with him he really took my lyrics, and a couple of weeks later and can you believe cassette at the time, I’m really dating myself now, and in the mail were the basic tracks on cassette tape of these songs I gave him the lyrics to. From there I didn’t go back in to the studio with him, I just went ahead and ran with it. I did sit in the studio and watch them record keyboard parts on Thunder from the New Generation era. It was interesting getting to watch him work in the studio but unfortunately I cannot give a lot of great stories about the session. I think you’ll have to ask him about what it was like in Minneapolis laying the basic tracks for my album.

Has there always been the pressure there to come up with bigger chart singles and albums?

I think you always feel that pressure and I’m not the sort of person who functions under pressure. I don’t really choose to so I think I really ran away from those pressures. I didn’t really make deadlines and things of that nature and I got easily distracted by things so that’s why there wasn’t a follow up album. There was three years between my debut and Martika’s Kitchen and I was so exhausted from the shock of being jet-setted out to the world on that level. I was super young and I think when I got back from promoting the first album I just wanted to move out from my parents house and hang out with my friends. At that age I felt like I was already ignoring the pressure between albums at that time. After Martika’s Kitchen which was a long process I went through all kinds of painful experiences to contemplate getting another one out I just avoided it for a long time. When I went back in to the studio I felt the pressure and I thought maybe I should just leave it at that for now and get on with my life.

Do you think you’ll make another album?

Like I said I can’t get away from music and somehow I always find my way in it. I’m always creating things and it is a matter of when things get out of my head and workspace on a level to the classics that I have done. I did do a single Flow With The Go in 2014 and I was fortunate to be able to do that and get it out to people. Going back to the conversation about the record industry the people that I’m used to working with on that level, to call in the producer the musicians and the studio time and all of this is not something you pull out of thin air, you never know though! There are always these opportunities that pop up for me and I can never resist the music, you never know, anything is possible. It is easy to make something now and get it straight out and in terms of the immediacy of the internet that is fantastic.

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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