Having travelled the world with her original sound and enigmatic voice, Christina Martin has just released her new single, 'Always Reminding'. We spoke to this Canadian singer-songwriter about what it’s like to perform around the globe and writing about what’s important to you.
So, tell us a bit about yourself?
The Coles Notes version is that I’m a Singer-Songwriter based in rural Nova Scotia Canada. I’ve been writing my own music for 18 years, and music became my full-time gig around 2007. Since then, I’ve travelled in North America and Europe and made music with my best friend, Dale Murray, for the past 11 years. It’s pretty awesome.
How would you define yourself in three words?
Ambitious, Creative, Curious
What was it like growing up in Canada?
Well, from what I can remember, growing up in Canada was pretty chill. We had good public schooling, and there seemed to be a lot of opportunities to lead a healthy and relatively normal childhood. I grew up in the Province of New Brunswick with French Canadian parents; so many people I grew up with were bilingual. My family moved a few times within New Brunswick, as my father had the itch to relocate from time to time, and eventually, he left us. But despite the problems at home, it seemed there were opportunities for my mother to return to study, work and raise her kids and be supported in tougher times.
What’s got you motivated right now?
My intent is to find my own ‘truths’ with music and words and to communicate this to others. That’s what motivates me.
Who are your biggest influences on your unique sound?
Mostly iconic singers, songwriters and performers like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Tori Amos, Eurythmics, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Crowded House, Tina Turner and David Bowie - there are many others though. Literature influences my writing, Charles Bukowski comes to mind.
How does performing in Canada compare to performing in the UK and Europe?
I really believe that you can find terrific audiences in any market, but you just have to work harder to lock into your niche in some countries. My lyrics are all in English and touring in Europe I’ve heard from a lot of audience members that they enjoy the music and performance regardless of the language barrier. Some markets are a bit easier to build a fan base quicker, because of the population and number of venues that are supportive of live music. For example, in Canada, there are a number of great listening venues, but they can be quite spread out, making it challenging to tour across our country frequently.
In Europe and the UK, the number of venues and potential to play more frequently is greater, however, it is quite expensive to tour overseas. There are places, I have noticed, that are more likely to buy physical CDs and other merchandise, like in Germany. Physical sales have decreased in other markets as more and more people prefer to stream music.
If you could do a gig anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to perform with my band in Hyde Park London. I saw Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks perform in 2017 in Hyde Park, and it was so inspiring.
How did you go from performing in bars in Austin to singing at the winter Olympics?
I was one of the Nova Scotian musicians chosen to represent our Province and perform at Atlantic Canada House in Vancouver 2011.
You got to perform for the Queen in Canada. How did that come about, and did you get to meet her?
A promoter had heard my band perform at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and then contacted my agent to perform on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day celebrations in 2010. I was excited to hear that I would be performing for Her Majesty. All of the artists met the Queen on stage that day.
You have been nominated for, and won numerous awards. Are there any that particularly stand out to you?
Every award is an opportunity to properly thank the musicians I work with, and the people in my life that have supported my journey.
What is the most magical thing that has ever happened to you?
Well, I have a fear of swimming in dark and cold water. I think the most magical thing that has ever happened to me was in 2007, swimming with stingrays and snorkelling for the first time in the Caribbean Sea.
What is your new single, 'Always Reminding', about?
You seem to have a very wide base as to what you write and sing about. How do you choose what to focus on when it comes to songwriting?
I try not to continue working with lyrics or melodies that bore me. I try to write music and produce songs that I think I would like to listen to. I can’t predict what other people will like. Every song has a different seed, and I just try to work with the tiny pieces that appear magically, and chip away at the song (if it feels right) until it’s ready to test in a live setting.
What is the message you try and get across in your music?
I think overall a message I hope to convey is that it is possible to talk about the tough stuff and that stories have great healing power. I’m exercising my right to speak my truth. As a very young girl, I was silenced after speaking out about my abuser, and I remember the crushing feeling of not being protected or believed by the people closest to me. Music allows me the freedom to explore the dark and the light and communicate through music what can be difficult to express otherwise.
There are reoccurring messages of perseverance, love, light, and loss throughout my catalogue. I believe it is my responsibility to pursue truth and meaning, and then share this through performance. I believe that people can have really shitty experiences and live to have incredibly meaningful and healthy relationships despite adversity.
Where can people keep up with what you are doing?