Who: 29-year-old songstress Charlotte Martin, a classically trained opera singer from Illinois, is a pianist by trade, and she deftly utilizes both an analog synthesizer and digital percussion to create her dramatically layered sound. The determined singer/songwriter boldly jump-started her career with a move to L.A. in the late ’90s, where she signed to RCA Records in 2000. After two albums with the label — the 2003 EP In Parentheses and 2004’s full-length On Your Shore — Martin sought more creative freedom and left the label in 2005. The same year, she hooked up with Test-Drive Records and released two EPs. Martin departs from her classically orchestrated sound with the self-produced, electronic-heavy Stromata, which was released via Dinosaur Fight Records, a label created by Martin and husband/co-producer Ken Andrews.
What’s the Deal: Although Martin’s melodies can reach ethereal heights, there are tinges of somberness in her voice; experiencing the suicide of two close friends as a college student could be Martin’s emotional marker. Her elegant vocal styling evokes a modern day Kate Bush, especially on songs like “Stromata,” the title track off her new album. She also tends toward a Bjork-inspired sound when using erratically paced electro beats, a similarity most evident in “Little Universe.”
Fun Fact: Working and playing together doesn’t seem to be a problem for Martin and husband Ken Andrews, a co-collaborator on many of his wife’s projects. The pair married while Martin was still recording tracks for Stromata, and Martin told SPIN.com her wedding wasn’t exactly a traditional one. “When I got married last year, instead of walking down the aisle to the wedding march, I walked down the aisle to the Cure’s ‘Plainsong,'” Martin revealed. “It was so dramatic and perfect because the ceremony was on the edge of a cliff.” TIFFANY WAN
Now Hear This: Charlotte Martin – “Stromata” QUICKTIME
On SPIN.com: Charlotte Martin’s Swirling New Video
Talk: Can Charlotte Martin carry Kate Bush’s ethereal torch into this century? COMMENT
On the Web:charlottemartin.com