Today’s Feature – October 4-5: Rebecca Martin

October 6, 2008 at 12:03 am (Today's Feature)

Every musician we’ve ever featured on PensEyeView.com has some sort of bio, and as much we may think we already know about the artists we select, we still read that bio. For the most part, these writings are either funny little snippets written by the artist themselves, or a dramatic foreword from a management company or marketing firm. Today’s feature, Rebecca Martin’s bio, stands out. It wasn’t written by a firm or by Rebecca herself, but rather friend and colleague Brian Cullman. And it’s good. Here’s an excerpt:

“No one mentioned that Rebecca was a singer. They didn’t have to. It wasn’t just the soft lilt of her voice, but the way she held onto words for an extra beat and then let them tumble out in a rush of soft exclamations. Even when she was in the background, it was hard not to see her as being center stage.”

From work with Once Blue, to “Thoroughfare” to “Middlehope,” and now onto “The Growing Season,” Martin has used her voice to capture attention and demand respect. The latest album is just the latest to receive honors from the New York Times, a collection she says is “a continuation of my growth and joy in making music, and the sounds of the best band a singer/songwriter could ever hope for.” Martin explains the record, “There is a growing season for everything and everyone. The truth reveals itself and is ready to be spoken in it’s own time. The secret is to be patient in your waiting until that time comes so you don’t miss any part of the hard work and beauty.”

Martin will be recording again soon, so look for more albums from her, and catch a show if you can. You won’t regret it. Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Rebecca Martin

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us, how did you first jump into the music industry? Was music always an instant passion for you? Any hesitations?

Rebecca Martin: I have been singing for people for as long as I can remember. My love and need to communicate in that way is simply who I am.  I will always seek out the opportunity to do it.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

RM: It was when I was a member of the group Once Blue in my early 20’s that I knew I had hit upon something special musically in myself. That experience made my work as a writer and singer become very clear and focused from that point on.

PEV: Now calling upstate New York home, but being from a large family in rural Maine, what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

RM: I came from a family with deep Acadian roots and a big appreciation of the arts, food and community.  I also lived on 200 + acres of Maine woods where I spent most of my days as a child exploring. All of this informed and inspired the work that I do now.

PEV: What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you step on stage?

RM: Being open, subtle and slow. I always remind myself that it’s more important to emote then it is to be loud.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music? Is there a certain “method” or “science” to your writing?

RM: It’s changed since I’ve become a mom. I used to write late at night.  Now, I am more productive in the morning hours – and use the time that I have throughout the day to get things on paper.  It’s ideal to write when the feeling overcomes me, but you can’t count on that to be consistent. So I spend time looking for seductive musical phrases on the guitar – then find words that help to define the shape of those lines.  Ultimately the melody and the words direct me to some place in myself (often tucked away). That feeling is what brings all the pieces that I have together to make a song.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Rebecca Martin performance?

RM: I’ve always felt that live performance was a lot like an arts and crafts project. It is a very human experience with a great deal of mistakes and victories.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

RM: My first performance in New York City was at a Sushi restaurant in the Lower East Side. The only way to describe the difference between then and now is to say – it would be like looking at an old photograph of yourself from your freshman year in high school – at the age of 39. I think we can relate to that.

PEV: What can fans expect from your new album, “The Growing Season”?

RM: A continuation of my growth and joy in making music, and the sounds of the best band a singer/songwriter could ever hope for.

PEV: Was there a certain “growing season” for you?

RM: There is a growing season for everything and everyone. The truth reveals itself and is ready to be spoken in it’s own time. The secret is to be patient in your waiting until that time comes so you don’t miss any part of the hard work and beauty.  Very hard to do.

PEV: How is “The Growing Season” different from other albums out right now?

RM:  It’s different from anything else, because no one else could have made my record.  Other then that – it’s an impossible question for me to answer.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? In a thick and talented industry, how do you expect to stand out?

RM: Another impossible question. It’s like trying to describe a speaking voice or an idea. I also don’t think the industry is overly thick and talented. I just think there is more music now then ever – but I wouldn’t say that that means there’s better music then there has ever been. I think there is more terrible music now, actually, then ever before.  I’m not certain how one ‘stands out’, except that they say the cream rises to the top. A musician with tenacity, patience and support are the ones still in the game long after many are not.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

RM:  Whatever you might think I’m thinking….I’m probably not.

PEV: You are married to a fellow musician who is also your bass player. How does managing a married life in a band and on the road work you both?

RM: It works because we both love making music – and understand one another’s need to do so.  The connection I have to him and with him is more powerful then I can describe. When I met him and we fell in love, it was like experiencing some other dimension.  The weight of that – in finding him – is what makes life’s challenges…manageable. Our relationship supplies me with a great deal of writing material.

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

RM: I love touring. In the best and worst conditions. There is always so much to learn at all times.  The best parts are traveling and meeting new people and making music.  The worst parts are not doing it.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

RM: Greenville, SC

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

RM: It’s been a slow evolution, so it’s all very normal and managable.  My mother has really enjoyed it the most.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

RM: I love our home and I love to cook. I also spend a great deal of time organizing my community. Community work, being civically responsible and understanding how our government works is very important to me.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for?

RM: Amy Correia. She isn’t up and coming, she’s just here and rocking it.

PEV: What’s been the craziest reaction from a fan you’ve ever had?

RM: Nothing crazy. Fans who approach me are lovely, generous and appreciative.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where do you feel your life and career will be?

RM: The things I loved as a child – as I continue to love today – will be the same as I grow older.  It’s hard to really guess, though – what life has in store. That’s the fun.

PEV: So, what is next for Rebecca Martin?

RM: Another recording, more community work, and keeping my son’s routine however that may change!

For more information on Rebecca Martin, check out: www.rebeccamartin.com

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