Canadian singer-songwriter, Christina Martin, discusses sixth album, writing for it and music video, more

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Photo by Sarah Jamer
Christina Martin chats about her new and sixth album, songwriting, and more - Photo by Sarah Jamer

Award-winning Canadian singer and songwriter, Christina Martin, has recently released her sixth album, Impossible To Hold, which was also released as a single. Martin shares in a general press release that “I had written 80% of “Impossible To Hold” with my head stuck in the clouds, and then took a break from the song. While touring in the UK, I attended a Carole King performance in Hyde Park in London. At the age of 75, she performed her most cherished songs with an undeniable passion and excellence. The experience reminded me of the power that music has to affect people so profoundly.” 

Impossible To Hold is Martin’s follow-up album to her previous album, It’ll Be Alright, which received much critical praise. For the album she received five Music Nova Scotia nominations, four ECMA nominations, and an ECMA for Pop Recording of The Year. Christina talked about her new music video with us, what it was like filming it, and working with filmmaker, Jason Levanige, how the #MeToo movement has affected her and much more. 

You recently released your new music video for “Impossible To Hold,” the title track from your 6th album. What was the collaboration, including the creative process like for the video?

Christina Martin: I worked with Canadian filmmaker Jason Levanige on this video. He directed and edited the piece. He’s worked on many of my previous videos, and this one was perhaps one of the most simplified we’ve collaborated on. I asked him for a simple black and white performance piece, and that is exactly what you see. The setting was my hair stylists Jay Wells in Halifax, NS, and we had a very small crew helping with makeup and food and making sure everyone was happy and hydrated. My mom Cecile was on-site taking care of food, and it was her first time participating in something like that.

Can you tell us about some of the writing and recording process of Impossible To Hold?

Christina: The sonic vision was influenced by the Pretenders song ‘I’ll Stand By You’. I always loved the delivery of the vocals and the simple-yet-big feeling arrangements. I wrote the lyrics and skeleton of the song quite quickly, but the song needed a second verse. I waiting months, sort of just sitting on the song patiently. Finally, I wrote verse two after attending a Carole King concert in Hyde Park London in July 2016, moved by Carole’s powerful performance of her iconic album ‘Tapestry’, and reminded of the power that music has to inspire masses of people around the world.


Women in music and film have more of a voice now than in many recent years due to the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement…how has this impacted your music and career, if at all?

Christina: The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement certainly triggered my own experience with sexual abuse as a child, and forced me to confront a lot of hurt and discomfort. It’s important for people to understand how trauma messes with a person’s life. I feel now, more than ever in my lifetime, women all over the world have a better chance at re-shaping what the experience of sexual abuse has had on them by sharing their stories and getting support. For me it was another reminder that you can grow if you can navigate through the tough stuff. The women’s movement has also made me think more about my role, and responsibility as a woman within my own industry, and not to shy away from opportunities to be a good role model for young people and women.

How did growing up in Canada influence your writing and music?

Christina: Growing up in Canada in a middle class family, it was a fairly laid-back upbringing, and my parents had the ability to put me in music classes at a young age. I don’t remember there being too much pressure to excel at any one thing in particular.

I only started writing songs when I lived abroad in Austin TX and Germany at the age of 19-21. During that time – being surrounded by singer-songwriters in Austin, combined with a desire to explore my own relationships – had the most impact on my writing. I had to travel and live in different places to write songs that were inspired by events in specific places, like ‘Take My Body Home’ and ‘Marina’ and ‘Somewhere With You’. But I would say I’m more influenced by the interactions I have with individuals along my travels.

You’ve toured with a variety of musicians in the span of your career; what have been some of your most memorable experiences?

Christina: Actually, I tour mainly on my own, with my guitarist and husband Dale Murray. Occasionally we tour with a band, and they are always close friends, and it’s a blast. We meet musicians at Festivals and Conferences, and occasionally get to share the stage on tour with another acts, but to be honest; touring is very hectic and exhausting, and the interactions I remember are usually with the fans after the show. People will come up and share stories and we’ve met a lot of interesting people that way. When I started performing my own songs in Austin, TX I can remember being asked to open for Wilco at Mercury Club on 6th Street. They were doing a surprise show kicking off the 2002 Austin City Limits Festival, and I got to sit in the stairwell with Glenn Kotche (who was relatively new member at the time) and warm up my tunes with him. That was pretty cool.

Fun Questions

Who was your first concert and who has been your overall favorite so far?

Christina: First Concert – Tina Turner – Montreal ‘What’s Love Got To Do With it’ Tour 1993

Favourite so far – Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Hyde Park London – July 2017

What was your first album on vinyl, cassette and/or CD?

Christina: Probably a Bryan Adams and/or Tina Turner cassette!

Which five albums or artists would you not want to live without?

Christina: Growing Up Wouldn’t Want To Live Without These Artists:

Tina Turner

Annie Lennox/Eurythmics

Tom Petty

Madonna

Michael Jackson

Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?

Christina: Netflix Series – “Nashville”

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