We had the good fortune of connecting with Martika E. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Martika, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
For most of my life, I hated where I’m from. When I was asked, I generally responded with, “The Town of NO hopes and Dreams, USA”. I mean, that really summed it up for me. It was small. It was southern. It felt like no place for a dreamer. We had a couple of dance studios, our schools had chorus & good music teachers; plus we had a good football team and a race track to be proud of. My mom put me in dance class at one of those studios in 1992. That is also the same year “The BodyGuard” was released and Whitney Houston was everywhere. 1992 is the year I learned 4 things: I love the stage, I could dance, I could sing & everybody else agreed. I began singing Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” all over the place. My life became audition after audition, pageant after pageant, show after show & also no after no. We didn’t have much money and my parents worked hard to do what they could for my brother and I, so for that, I’ll always be grateful. They taught us all about hard work and what it takes to make a good dollar. We never wanted for anything like food or clothes, but we did want more out of life than to just pay bills and die. I certainly wished that my hometown, Rockingham, NC, would have presented more opportunity for kids like me. Now that I am older, I realize it wasn’t the town I hated; I was just hating on my process, my personal journey. Growing up without big named talent agencies or auditions that could change my life happening down the street taught me that sometimes you have to create your own lane. So, that’s exactly what I did. I’m my own artist. I’m my own star. I made my own way. I made it to my forever home, LA. It’s hard but it’s more interesting that way right? My hometown owes me nothing, if anything, I owe it. I owe the kids who also feel like it’s no place for a dreamer.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Each of my projects, up until this point, reference pivotal entertainment moments in my life and probably always will. For example, The movie “The Fifth Element” left such an impression on me as a teenager and I always admired that film’s message, as strangely as it may have been delivered. LOL It was a masterpiece in my eyes. You see, the Fifth Element is LOVE. LOVE is the one thing that saved the world in that movie. LOVE is also one of the greatest detriments to mankind and the human psyche. It is just as ugly as it is beautiful; and that is what my art expresses. Hence, my first project title, The Fifth Element. It just perfectly encapsulated my answer to a question I get all the time, “What do you write about?” – LOVE & Heartbreak & Heartache. I refer to myself as a Dark Poet. I love infusing the Dark & the Light within my Lyrics. Heartbreak isn’t exclusive to human interaction, but you can also be broken down by the universe, by your journey, by being in Love with your passion and getting nothin in return from all that you pour in to that passion. You love what you love, you love what you do, but it might not love you back. So, I talk a lot about that in my music as well. I feel like not many artists are saying much these days, and that’s ok sometimes, but I want to say something. My deepness can be overwhelming, so it ain’t for everybody and that’s ok too.

Getting here wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. I’ve just always been the type to keep working towards my bigger picture even if I have to keep starting over. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve lived 5 of my 9 lives already in just this 1 lifetime. I’ve had to start over almost every 4-5 years it seems, but I never lost sight of the vision. Just 1 year ago, my apartment back in North Carolina burned down and I lost everything I owned aside from my car and the clothes I had on me and with me. I was on the way to a gig a few hours outside of town when it happened and I found out before I went on stage about the fire. I performed and came back to nothing. I wasn’t upset, I didn’t cry, I was just glad I wasn’t there. Music and having a stage that day saved my life. I took my little bag of things I had, stayed with a close friend for a month, and then drove across the country to Los Angeles. Life has a funny way of directing and redirecting you. I’ve been trying to get here since I knew what Hollywood was, and here I am.

I’m proud that my music isn’t like anything on the charts right now. Sometimes I’m asked, “What artist are you like?”. The answer is none of them. I’m like me. A Deep, Dark, Glamour Beauty Queen who likes to write and sing about love & heartbreak and appreciates a hard bass line.

This industry is hard to navigate. This city is hard to navigate. It’s easy to get lost. I think my life prepared me for this though. I’ve always worked hard to accomplish my goals and I learned very early on that I was going to have to be tough. After the success I had with auditions and pageants in my childhood, I was expecting stardom earlier on in my career. That childhood success all just kind of went away in high school and college and that strange time after college. I would beat myself up because I wasn’t “winning” anymore. I was being told no, try again next time. American Idol, X – Factor & The Voice producers didn’t see what everybody saw when I was younger. So, after a few years of being confused about my purpose in life, I went back to the drawing board. I realized I had spent my whole life trying to become a “famous singer” instead focusing on becoming Martika, The Vocalist, better yet…Martika, THE ARTIST. Once I had this epiphany, I changed my narrative. I got in the studio. I started writing. I put out singles and projects that I am proud of. They represent me and those dark times. I found the cover band circuit during one of those dark periods in my life and now I get to perform in front of hundreds, sometimes, thousands of people almost every weekend. Had I of given up, I would have never found that stage and learned how to really SANGGGG and perform. lol I’m so grateful for the cover band industry. I recommend every singer experiences it at some point in life.

I’ve only just begun and I’ve still got a few lives left if I need to start over. (haha) I’m excited about the future and I’m excited about my new music dropping soon. I think I used to NEED for the world to know who I am, now I just want the people in MY WORLD to know me truly. To know my love, To know my support. We put too much pressure on ourselves out here. I’m just going to continue to live in my passion, even if it breaks my heart sometimes.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is a feeling. It’s a vibe. The first time I flew in to the city, the plane landed and I cried. haha! It’s the perfect place to kind of just get lost and see what happens.

***My cousin, Actor, Kevin Walker, is the best person in the world. He’s also the best tour guide. So I call him anytime I want to check more of the city out! He knows where everything is and where to get the best views of the city. I’ve been to most of my favorite places with him and his new fiance, Kelly!

1. First off, my friends and I just love Harry Potter, so we’ll pop by Nimbus Coffee Shop on Hope Street in DTLA
2. Then, I love Hiking Runyon if I’m feeling like and over – achiever.
-If I want to take it a little easy, we’ll do Griffith. I love hiking up there and walking through the observatory. I love Space and so that’s definitely a must see. Now that Adele has christened that spot, I know my girl’s would want to see it for that reason alone. LOL
3. Then, I’d take a peek and see if there are any cool restaurants we can visit by looking on the @discoverLA or @secret.losangeles instagram pages. They’re always posting cool spots to check out and plan a lot of my days with friends for me.
4. Love going to Santa Monica and Venice Beach too. I actually talk about Venice in my new song that’s coming out, so definitely gotta shout that place out.
5. My buddy Bas Janssen always knows of cool shows to check out. He’s an awesome musician. He runs sound for these Awesome candlelight concerts at The Hollywood Roosevelt! Love the Amy Winehouse one.
6. Yamashiro is one of my favorite restaurants.
7.Love Theia for really cool drinks
8.Gracias Madres for the best Cauliflower Tacos, EVA.
9. FIXINS DTLA has some goood southern food. You can trust me on that, because I’m from the south, so I should know.
10. Had some really fun experiences at this place called the Beehive, they have great
11. American Horror Story Murder House – Rosenheim Mansion on Westchester Place in LA – As a huge fan of the series, loved visiting the house in person!
12. Spellbound Sky Crystal Shop – Awesome Selection and great energy

I could go on for days, I’ll stop here. LOL!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First & Foremost, My Mom – an unrequited dreamer. She deserves the world. If I gained nothing out of this life, I can 100% say that God gave me the perfect mother. She supports my dreams like no other.

My Dad – For his quiet, calm love. Also, for making me sing in that tiny hallway of our first family apartment before every little show. I think he gave me my voice. It’s strong and proud, like him.

My Brother – For dreaming with me and never giving up. If no one else thinks I’m special, I just care that he does.

Britani Ninice – Sometimes new friends feel like old ones – I thank her for shouting me out because most days I feel like an imposter. 😉 Thank God for women who support other women. Thankful for her friendship and her art, her new song is a banger…OKKKKK!!!

The Soul Psychedelique & Legacy Band – Thank you for giving me a stage when I needed one the most. I am the performer and singer of my dreams because of the things I have learned from these two groups. I’ve performed in front of thousands of people and I’m so appreciative of those experiences. I can go head to head with the best now and I’m not scared.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themartika_e/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp_WJ26GSCIIuE2W9SZ8SuA/videos

Other: Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/22nziYQFGbbLA9yxRAYSQ9 Itunes: itunes: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/martika-e/1450928546 Insta: @themartika_e

Image Credits
JRAMARLEY @know_jrama – Studio Photos/ LA BASED Focus Media Carter Studios

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