|Hello Martin, how are you doing in Obama land, do people over there believe in a bright future?
Martin: There is most definitely a feeling of optimism in the country; a sense of dignity and respect seems to permeate the air at this time. Let us hope it continues.
Your long awaited new album "In The Temple of the Muse" is fantastic, but why did it take 13 years for you to release another record?
Martin: I am a strong believer that until you have something of consequence to say - keep quiet. I feel no pressure or demand to release solo material just for the sake of it, which I think is a disease of the music industry in general. The songs on “In The Temple of The Muse” came to me over a long period of time, and I was lucky enough to have the time to give them the necessary attention and respect they demanded – to be sympathetic to the songs in order to develop them properly into a project I totally believed in.
I can hear Sting and Peter Gabriel influences in your albums, are they musical heroes for you?
Martin: Both Peter Gabriel and Sting grew up, as I did, in England during a musical era that affected us all – the 60’s and 70’s. I believe we have many of the same influences – namely, the Beatles, Motown Soul, World Music and Folk. So, it’s not a stretch to hear similarities in our music, our style and our approach.
Not many songwriters can put up a list of such great hit songs like you, just to name a few for our readers:
King of wishful thinking - Go West, We built this city, It´s not enough & Good heart - Starship, These dreams - Heart, Magnetic - Earth Wind and Fire, Ghost in your heart - Bad English, Deal for life - John Waite etc.
Is your wall filled with platinum records?
Martin: Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have a few on my wall, and it certainly helps to view them now and again when I need to be reminded to strive harder for that special, unique song that communicates to a wide audience.
I have a tape with your first solo album "In The House of Stone and Light" on the a-side when it came out and Mark Williamson (from Manchester, England) "Time slipping by" (1994) on the b-side of the tape which I thought was a perfect combination. I listened a lot to both albums back then.
Have you heard that album?
Martin: I’m afraid I haven’t heard Mark Williamson’s album – but I must thank you for investing in my first solo album – you have good ears!!!
What do you think of the music climate of today where artists like Rihanna, Britney Spears and Coldplay rule the charts?
Martin: The digital revolution has greatly influenced the musical climate of today – both for good and bad. There is definitely a lack of interest today in the album-oriented artists, because single-song MP3’s are so readily available, and I think that is sad, as ultimately art suffers. On the good side, the digital revolution has taken the power out of the hands of the major "corporate" record companies and presented it to the individual, independent artist, and that is a very positive thing. The danger today is that we accept and become anesthetized by cheaper, quicker, unimaginative, soulless music that doesn’t rise to the standards of the past.
I have always wondered what your main instrument is, the piano?
Martin: My main instrument is bass guitar. I started my career as a bassist in funk and soul bands back in England in the late 70’s. When the revelation hit me that songs were more important than instrument prowess, I taught myself keyboards and guitar so that I could write songs and produce my own demos. I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, and I enjoy to dabble on as many instruments as I can get my hands on.
You have written quite a few songs with Bernie Taupin ( who´s known for his work with Elton John), have you ever met Sir.Elton John?
Martin: Yes, I have met Sir Elton John on numerous occasions. I was very privileged to work with him when I produced his vocals for Bernie Taupin’s solo album, “Tribe”. I’ve always been a huge fan of his, and he proved to be the consummate professional to work with.
You have written hits for popular Soundtracks like "Pretty woman" and "Days of thunder", do you still get any offers on writing songs for soundtrack scores?
Martin: I do still receive offers to work on movie soundtracks. I find it a joy and a challenge to match music with visuals. I have always felt that somehow my music lends itself – and is emotionally suited – to visuals. I would ultimately like to do more work for movies in the future; it remains an ambition of mine.
Who is the most gifted artist you have written a song for/ or worked with? (I guess this one is difficult to answer but you can name more than one if you want)
Martin: This is a very difficult question for me to answer, as I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have worked and collaborated with a host of extremely talented writers and artists. But, I will mention a few who inspired me and expanded my musical horizons. Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; Robbie Robertson of The Band; Peter Cox and Richard Drummie of Go West; Jack Hues of Wang Chung; Hal David; Paul Young, and of course, Bernie Taupin. I learned from all of these artists and their very different talents left a lasting impression on me.
Which 5 albums would you bring along to a deserted island?
Martin: Well, providing that the deserted island has electricity and a system on which to play these albums, these would be my top 5: Abbey Road – The Beatles; Selling England by The Pound – Genesis; Talking Book – Stevie Wonder; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John; A Hard Days Night – The Beatles.
One last question, I think lots of your fans are wondering if you will make a 3rd solo album. Any plans?
Martin: I am actually, at this moment, finishing songs for my 3rd solo album. I have recently been in a prolific creative period. This new album that I am presently working on feels like a natural extension of my previous two solo works. I’m extremely excited about the new songs and the direction they’re taking. I hope to release it sometime next year.