Lewiston native Brittany Martin decided she wanted to pursue her love of singing after belting out Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster” on stage in middle school.
Today, Martin talks early inspiration (thanks Mom and Dad!), how 2018 is bringing new songs and a new band, and what’s on her play list.
Name: Brittany Martin
Was the fact that your parents were in a band while you were growing up an early influence? Definitely. Probably the biggest influence. They were members of a classic rock band called the Travelers, and would perform almost every weekend when we (my sister and I) were younger. They were total rock stars in our eyes and had this electric stage presence. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue music, and having such a musical household was a huge inspiration.
Your first memory of performing on a stage? First grade, I think. My sister and her friends were doing a little performance of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from “Annie” for the school talent show and I tagged along. I can remember being on stage, beneath the lights, and absolutely loving it. The first time I ever sang in front of people on my own was when I auditioned for my first musical in middle school. I sang “Beautiful Disaster” by Kelly Clarkson, and I was terrified, but it was exhilarating. I loved the feeling, and knew this is what I wanted to pursue.
Once you decided you wanted to sing, what was your next step? Most of my early musical experience was in theater, and originally I’d planned on becoming a theater actor. But around my junior year of high school I realized I mainly loved the singing part of theater, so I decided to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a solo act. I started listening to the greats (Celine, Whitney, Mariah) and trying to learn their technique. At the time, the singing shows were really popular — “American Idol,” “The Voice,” etc. — and several people encouraged me to pursue that route. But I always knew I wanted to do it the long, hard way: writing my own material, gaining experience performing in clubs and small gigs, etc. In my junior and senior years of college, I started writing and producing, and have been creating ever since.
In the past two years, I’ve been concentrating a lot on recording and all that entails, and performing. I work at Maine College of Art, and in 2015 they had just installed a professional-grade music studio provided by a very generous endowment by the Crewe Foundation. I was lucky enough to be able to take classes with the program’s coordinator, Steve Drown, including audio recording and digital recording. With those skills, I was able to record/mix an album for my previous band, the Early Mornings, and learn the ins and outs of producing digital music.
Please describe your sound: My personal sound is along the lines of pop/R&B with a darker twist. I love really intense, orchestral productions that are epic and cinematic. So kind of like a movie soundtrack meets pop/R&B. The Early Mornings, my first band, had more of a classic rock meets pop/soul sound.
What was the biggest challenge in pulling together the Early Morning’s debut album? The Early Mornings was a band I was in that formed in 2016. At the time I had been working at MECA for about a year, and was in the midst of auditing their audio recording class. The band was just starting to finish some original songs, so I thought it would be a good idea to record them for my assignments. The program was very new, and a lot of students weren’t taking advantage of studio time, so it was suggested to me that I utilize the time that others weren’t using, as I was openly very eager to learn and practice what we were learning. So we ended up recording the rest of the album! Ten songs in all.
With that said, I think the biggest challenge was accomplishing so much in a small time frame. I was very new to mixing and recording, so I was learning as I went, and the fact that everything was moving so fast forced me to stay on my toes and learn a lot in a semester’s time.
What was the biggest “woot!” in doing it? So many things! All the firsts. Getting the final masters, hearing our songs on the radio, getting the hard copy album! It made it feel so real! All of our creative energy had gone into this album, and it was so worth it. We had it printed at Crooked Cove in Eliot, Maine, so we listened to it all the way back to Portland. And getting the chance to share it with our friends and family at our album release party was such a thrill, along with seeing it on the shelves at Bull Moose.
You have a few new projects going now? Yes! The Early Mornings unfortunately ended, but it’s allowed me to finally focus on my solo work, which is extremely exciting, and something I haven’t had the time to do in a very long time. I’m hoping to have a single out within the next month or two, a song called “Storm” that was actually one of the three songs I presented (in draft form) at my thesis in 2015, so I’m extremely excited for people to finally hear it. This year will definitely be about learning the ins and outs of producing, and hopefully finishing, my debut project (fingers crossed!).
I also recently joined a band called Stems that was started by the Early Morning’s former bass player, Nick Clark, so it will be exciting to see how that project unfolds as well. That will have more of a groovy soul funk feel, and I’m excited to be joining another collaboration.
Flash forward to 2025: Where do you hope to be, musically? I like to be realistic, because there are so many talented musicians out there, but it’s been my dream since I was very little to be performing on big stages, making really interesting music, and maybe even performing at the Grammys. I’d love to be really successful in music, but my ultimate goal, regardless of success I may or may not have, is to make music I love and enjoy doing it. That’s the ultimate goal. The feeling I get from singing is indescribable, and if I get to do that for the rest of my life, and make a living at it, I will be very happy.
Who’s on your current top five play list? Beyonce: Specifically “Lemonade,” because it is SUCH an amazing album. I’ve always loved Beyonce (when I went to her concert I cried at every song I knew, which was all of them), but she really made a masterpiece with this one.
Christina Aguilera: Christina is always one that I go back to. Her voice is probably one of my favorites, and she has such a varied collection of music, from the throwback style of “Back to Basics,” to the edgier “Stripped” album.
Amy Winehouse: What a talent. She had such an incredible style, and was so connected to her music, her soul came through her words.
Marvin Gaye: A classic. I recently got more into his music and he had it all. He could sing the ballads, he could sing the upbeat fun songs and he used his songs to spread his message and beliefs, in such powerful ways.
Celine Dion: Celine Dion has always been a staple in our house. In a Franco-American household, Celine was the QUEEN. She’s so talented, and has some of the most beautiful songs ever written in her arsenal. She’s amazing.
Lewiston native Brittany Martin (Photo courtesy Matthew J. Congdon)