Nova Scotia songstress Christina Martin is currently on tour in Europe in support of her latest release, Impossible To Hold. Recently we spoke with her about her past, present and future.
What are your roots?
I’m French Canadian. My French Canadian parents moved to Florida to have me and my brother Alexander, but they spoke English to us when we were very young. We always heard French spoken around us, and most of our extended family is French Canadian. My grandfather’s ancestors (on my mother’s side) are from Normandy France, and that’s about as much as we know for sure. Both of my parents were born and raised in Saint Leonard NB.
Where do you currently reside?
I live in Port Howe, Nova Scotia! It’s a rural community in Cumberland County.
When and why did you start playing music?
I took piano lessons as a child, and at an early age I remember writing my own music (not lyrics), but I kept this to myself. I quit music for many years, and started writing my own songs around the age of 19. After my father passed away, I began travelling to places like Austin Texas and Germany, and wherever I travelled it seemed there was an opportunity to get involved with music. So, I started to sing and play in bands, and work on my own material, until the time came in 2007 that I made music my main focus. At that time I was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
I think so. I love writing, and I love the freedom to express myself with music and lyrics. Thought the music business has its challenges, I find it extremely liberating and exciting, always changing, and I stick with it because it allows me time occasionally to write and create and express myself freely.
How have you evolved as an artist since that time?
My voice is stronger, which just comes from years of touring and singing at thousands of gigs, and I feel more confident in following my instinct. I’m not as afraid to make mistakes, and I make mistakes regularly. I think much more about the performance when I’m writing and recording, and how the music will feel and sound to the audience.
How would you describe your sound today?
I feel like it could be described as a cross between Eurythmics and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. But perhaps that is just wishful thinking.
What are the challenges involved with the vocation?
Sometimes I wish I had a job where the market was predictable and routine familiar every day, like owning a local café making nourishing and delicious baked goods and coffee for people, in a calm and cozy atmosphere. In the music business, after you’ve made the music, there seems to be so much other ‘stuff’ you have to spend your time doing, and the trick is finding out how to earn a living, and find resources to invest in the business. I do find it challenging to keep up with the technology and social media trends. I find it a challenge to stay healthy and positive. I find it challenging to be both the manager AND the creative force. I find it challenging to find resources to execute all my dreams. But I do the best I can, surround myself with great partners, and keep on dreaming and scheming!
What are the rewards?
Making something that might help someone else...freedom of expression...I get to work with my family and friends...travelling and learning about other cultures.
What have been some career highlights?
Sticking around this long....working with my family and friends... and my endorsement with Duesenberg Guitars in Hannover!
Is your creative process more 'inspirational' or 'perspirational'?
Bit of both!
What makes a good song?
I think a ‘good song’ is a song that makes you feel something. It should produce some kind of a response, good or bad, sometimes makes you want to dance.
What are your thoughts on the current state of Atlantic Canada's music scene?
I’m not really up with the ‘scene’. Although I think there are artists doing really well in the world, who are based in Atlantic Canada. I do work with a great company that helps artists realize their dreams and goals, called The Syrup Factory, based in Halifax, NS. It’s great to find a company based in Atlantic Canada that supports musician’s career development. There seems to be more and more support for artists based in Atlantic Canada.
How can this be improved?
I’ve always felt that there was a lot of support for artists based in Atlantic Canada. Compared to the rest of the world, we are really fortunate. I’m not sure how it can be improved, because right now I feel a lot of LOVE and support from my home province and Canada.
What do have on tap for the rest of 2018?
I’m coming home in April after 45 tour dates in Europe. Then I’ll be touring my new album Impossible To Hold across Canada, and will tour Japan for the first time in Fall 2018! I’m excited to be showcasing this spring in Halifax during the ECMAs, and at CMW in Toronto with my band. I’m also promoting the work of CAMH at all of my Canadian tour dates, to raise awareness and engage people in the conversation about mental illness and addiction.
Photos by Scott Munn (www.photomunn.com)