Christina Martin – Getting To Grips

JLTT had the chance to run some questions past Canadian songstress Christina Martin, whose promoting her latest release ‘Impossible To Hold’. She is something of an original within her field…as you will see from her responses, which we can present now…

Scott Munn/www.photomunn.com

How does the new album Impossible To Hold differ from your previous releases?

I turned to Dale (producer/guitarist) in the car between Prague and the Polish border, since I don’t know how to answer this one. He said ‘It’s more eclectic!’.

The impression I have is that a lot of your compositions are triggered by the news and what you see around you…am I right on this?

Yeah sure. I mean, there are times I’m completely shut down from writing, I just have too many emails or paperwork to deal with, but when I have time to write, I’m writing about my life, what’s happening to my friends, or things that pull at my heart strings.

What’s Lungs Are Burning about please?

It’s a song about reaching to fill a void, like a loss or a deep hole which is really hard to fill. The lyrics and music were triggered after I had read about the Fentanyl overdose crisis that continues to rise in Canada, but this is not only in Canada. I lost my older brother Stephane to an overdose in 2013, so reading about the overdose epidemic brought up some hard feelings, and it made me sad to think about all the people affected by this, their pain. We all have our different reasons for ‘reaching’ for a distraction, be it a healthy one like company of others, or reaching for drugs, food or excessive work or exercise.

One Canadian singer I like is Amanda Marshall – do you know her? Have you seen her perform?

I don’t know her personally, I mean, she was popular when I was in elementary school I think…. and I have not seen her perform.

What instruments do you play? Which might you try to add?

I play rhythm guitar, and I have no plans to try and add any other instrument to my list. I struggle with finding time to improve my voice and my guitar skills.

A favourite composition / recording by a/ Brian Wilson b/ Kate Bush c/ Joni Mitchell
and why?

I don’t have a favourite composition by any of these artists. Sorry!

How did your Deep Dark Red come together?

During my morning writing ‘time’ I was trying to imagine what it would be like to have to leave my home because it was no longer safe. I can only imagine this scenario, I’ve never had this experience, but I know there are many people who have to leave their homes and rely on strangers to save their lives.

You get to duet with Michael McDonald – which song of yours do you suggest and who – dream time! – is in the band for the recording?

I have no idea who Michael McDonald is! I’m not really a fan of duets though, so I’m going to have to pass on this one. I love recording with my friends and the great bunch of musicians we have in Nova Scotia, so I’d just want to hire them.

Which album – by any artist, any genre – has the best running order? Any favourite cuts?

I’m going to have to go with Off The Wall – Michael Jackson, I still remember this from my childhood.

Performing – what two things should an artist NEVER do on stage?

1. Never wear shorts on stage.
2. Never pick yours or someone else’s bum on stage. NOT wearing shorts on stage helps keep the chances of bum-picking to a minimum.

Is there a novel that you would like to create the score or soundtrack for? What styles would you go for?

I’m reading ‘The Heart Goes Last’ by Margaret Atwood, so I would take a stab at a soundtrack for that. I think it would a combination of organic and electronic, dark and cinematic music, focusing on the most prominent themes of this dystopia.

Describe your place / town of residence in five adjectives please

Quiet, friendly, rural, salty, peaceful

What‘s the Martin Road Diet?

I try to eat hearty salads as often as possible, avoid bread, sweets and alcohol… but I’m human… sometimes I’ll eat whatever anyone puts in front of me.

How do you look after your voice? If you do

I try to eat healthy, exercise daily, and get enough sleep and avoid alcohol on tour. Sometimes I do vocal warm-ups, but not all the time. On tour I try to avoid hanging out in loud crowded places where I have to scream to have a conversation. I also try to avoid people who are sick in case I catch a flue or cold.

Best drum introduction to a recording ever?

I have no idea. Sorry!

Do you ever double-track or layer your vocals? is there a good example

Rarely do we double my main vocal, but we do double harmonies sometimes. For a good example of layering my vocals, listen to my new single Always Reminding. I normally do my own harmonies in the studio.

To what extent does Roots Music (blues, country, folk…) influence your songs?

I think rock and pop had a larger impact on my music when I was younger, and still today. In my early 20’s while I was living in Austin Texas, Americana music had an influence on my songwriting. But nowadays the influence probably comes from a mix of life experiences and the music I listened to growing up.

Any favourite venues in a/ Canada and b/ elsewhere? Any reasons for the choices?

Well I love The Carleton in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I think so many musicians have had fantastic experiences playing at this special venue. There are small venues we play almost every year in Europe, just because the audiences and the hospitality are so terrific. We love playing at Café Nix in Blaubeuren, and Schaukelpferd in Baiersbronn, and then there is Café Gramsci in Dachau. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity to play at these special venues.

Which of your own songs do you find yourself explaining the most? And why might this be?

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about ‘Lungs Are Burning’, I think because ‘loss’ and ‘reaching for something’ is something so we all can relate to. Listen on Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2BdI9NV

What’s the ideal music to drive to? And what’s your best ‘driving’ track?

I like to listen to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in the car, or music I loved growing up (when I’m alone in the car). I really love ‘Room at the Top’ and I was listening to this song a lot just before Tom passed. But honestly, often while on tour when I’m with other people, we don’t listen to a lot of music, it’s a bit of an ear break for us since the day to day of being on tour is so full of noise.

Pete Sargeant

Christina Martin


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(Thanks to Christina and Steve Rose at Emms Publicity)

All Photos credited to Scott Munn/www.photomunn.com

You can watch the official music video for ‘Lungs Are Burning’ in this article.

You can listen to her music on Spotify here:

Christina Martin’s new single ‘Always Reminding’ is released on Friday 23rd February 2018.

Her new studio album ‘Impossible To Hold’ is released on Friday 23rd March 2018 on Come Undone Records.

For more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2BSx2gU

Christina Martin