We're All Alright: Christina Martin Takes The Next Step
Experimentation is the lifeblood of any artist. But occasionally they experience moments when everything comes into focus, and suddenly they have opened a door to a limitless creative future.
Christina Martin has reached that point on her fifth album, It’ll Be Alright, a 10-song collection released on her own label Come Undone Records (distributed through Fontana North) that finds the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based singer-songwriter attaining what her music has always suggested, a place where the ghosts of her musical heroes freely mingle with pop-rock’s modern architects.
The album’s brilliance is its seamless blend of the past and present. The bridge between them is Martin’s voice, an instrument both haunting and immediate, traits that could also best describe It’ll Be Alright’s lyrical content. To say the album is Martin’s most accomplished effort to date is stating the obvious; what is remarkable is how her maturity has translated into her most accessible album to date as well.
“With this album and the development of the live show, I am able to say a lot more with my music than I ever have before,” Martin says. “There is growth because we are all reaching for something bigger for ourselves and the audience.”
Born in Florida and raised on Canada's east coast, Martin’s musical journey since her first release in 2002 has led to extended stays in Austin, Texas, as well as Germany, from where she has cultivated a substantial following among Americana fans across mainland Europe and the U.K. But as she began working on It'll Be Alright with her principle collaborator and lead guitarist Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke, The Guthries), Martin made a conscious effort not to be bound by the expectations of those who have categorized her in the past as an alt-country artist. Although she will never completely shed those influences, It’ll Be Alright utilizes far more sonic textures, allowing Martin to explore the many sides of her musical personality.
“My father and MTV turned me on to many types of music growing up, but I am probably more driven towards pop and classic rock,” she says. “Going into this record, we were clear that we wanted a bigger, anthemic sound overall. Each song needed to say something that would resonate with a larger audience.”
Yet, the element of risk is still appealing to Martin, as evidence by the album's second single, "Take Me Back In A Dream." She's used it to explore one of her other artistic interests, dance, in a mesmerizingly choreographed video, along with handing the track off to a handful of DJs and producers for a remix campaign to accompany her current Canadian tour.
"When I was younger, travelling and living between Halifax, Toronto, Austin, and Germany, I spent my free time searching for clubs that played techno music," Martin says. "Dancing is a great way to laugh and forget about your troubles. Halifax once had a thriving rave scene, which is where I first heard DJ’s mixing live.
"Around the time I started to write my own songs, Sarah McLachlan released her album Remixed in 2001. I loved the idea that you could take an old song and collaborate with someone to give it a new life and reach even more people. The people who listen to dance music are not necessarily the same audience listening to the Top 40 or more commercial releases, especially from Canadian artists. I am someone who loves writing and recording roots rock and pop-inspired music, but I have always craved singing vocals for dance tracks, and so remix collaboration like this is pretty fun."
It’s all been introducing Martin to a new audience, aided in no small part as well by an ambitious live show that will take Martin and her band around the world throughout the coming year. “I’ve wanted to develop the live production for a long time” she says, “with an aim to create special events that build a strong connection between the audience and the music. We also want to represent this album live as accurately as possible, and that means having an incredible band and team involved. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone in doing all of this, but that’s the exhilarating part of it.”
A powerful album, a killer band, and an unforgettable live experience – for Christina Martin, things are shaping up to be a lot more than alright.