First Look Friday: Chloe Martini Is A Must-Hear, Must-See Talent
Photo of Chloe Martini taken by Edward Cooke of WMA.
Warsaw's own Chloe Martini is one of the hottest up-and-coming acts in the game. Don't believe us, well, don't say we didn't hip you first. As one of the music industry's most exciting talents, this artist, songwriter and producer has kept heads on a swivel with her brand of unique, soulful vocals. Self-taught, Chloe Martini built her reputation through her insanely popular remixes of tracks from Sia, Janelle Monaé, Pusha T and Destiny's Child on Soundcloud.
With sounds and moves like that, she quickly bubbled onto the radar of established acts and DJs such as Snakehips and Annie Mac, even joining the former on the road at some of Europe's largest festivals including Bestival, Open'er and Way Out. Her second effort, Never Twice The Same, which is due out in March, has already become a mainstay on people's must-hear, must-watch lists, as the single, "Change of Heart," is a dance floor groove ripe to knock away the Donald Drumpf sadness.
Eager to join her friends like Anne-Marie, Chiara Hunter, Vanessa White and BB Diamond on that throne of great up-and-cominng talents, this week's First Look Friday subject makes huge waves in our chat. Discussing her influences, how it was to develop as an independent artist and how she sees the future of the industry, Chloe Martini is certainly a highly sought-after star-in-the-making.
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?
Chloe Martini: Oh, wow! Thank you! I hope that they can see a uniqueness in my music and hear my passion for working with strong and interesting vocalists. I am not really part of a "scene" and a huge part of that is because I am based in Poland. Although, most of my collaborations have happened in London, Paris, Montreal, et cetera. At first, I was worried about that, but I have come to realize that this gives me space to be inspired by the sounds and art that others don't necessarily have access to and I have come to see it as a positive.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
CM: The late Prince influenced so many people, including myself, and continues to do so. He taught me that labels don't really exist. Either you're talking about music or sexuality. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are my all-time favorite producers. I thought I have listed to everything they've ever produced, but they are such a prolific duo and have worked since the early '80s that I'm guessing I've only heard about 50% of their productions.
They can never, ever do wrong. To me, they defined the sound of mainstream pop / R&B music of the '80s, but also a bit of the '90s. And when I say mainstream, I mean that in such a positive way. That is the beauty of it... their songs were widely popular but also had a deep, rich + beautiful soul. They defined an era, but they are timeless at the same time.
OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?
CM: I feel like deep down I have always had it in me that I wanted to become an artist, in some form. I couldn't get excited about anything in school. I was raised in a family where academia was valued the most, well, it was the only thing that was valued really. So, at the point when I was graduating from high school, I soon after started studying pharmacy. I still couldn't imagine that being a musician could be a profession for me. I had no one around me to be a living proof of a happy and successful musician.
I just knew that pharmacy studies weren't for me, so I dropped it and my only escape was music. Soundcloud was the platform that really helped me reach people out there who started to appreciate my early creations. It was all very new to me and extremely motivating. I'm grateful to this day to everyone who's ever wrote a note about my music on their blog, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform.
OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?
Photo of Chloe Martini taken by Edward Cooke of WMA.
CM: To me, one of the purposes of art is to take our minds and souls away from what's happening around us every day. Everyone experiences sounds and music differently. It is a place to escape, but I also feel like great art, music and visuals are things that people can relate to somehow or connect with. It can really help to foster positivity. And good music, whatever it is you're into, can most definitely be healing whether that means listening to your favorite artist on repeat or discovering new music that somehow touches you. I do believe it is a responsibility of any artist to put their everything into what they create for that very reason. We artists may not think of that during creating our art but it's so important for the listeners.
OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?
CM: As I mentioned, one of them was not having anyone in my own circles for me to identify with in terms of music and taking that up as a career. That definitely taught me that developing self belief in whatever you do is so important. Growing up in a small city in Poland has had its benefits, like for example perceiving the world slightly different than someone who grew up in Los Angeles, but also some of it had its obstacles for sure.
I've learned to embrace the positive and use that to inform the music I make. Luckily, I am able to travel quite a bit so I can mix my experiences in Warsaw, where I currently live, with other experiences and cultures when I travel. I have a bunch of great artists I work with in the UK such as Vanessa White who I've worked with on her solo material and actually features on my forthcoming EP alongside Chiara Hunter, Anne-Marie and BB Diamond. Towards the end of last year, I was in Montreal as part of the Red Bull Music Academy, which was out of this world, and I got to collaborate with so many other musicians, including Kaytranada—a dream come true.
Being a woman in the music industry is interesting as well, particularly because there aren't that many female producers in the business. People often have their own perceptions of what a music producer should be and a woman isn't usually one of the first things that comes to mind, but I've never let that deter me from going for things or staying focused. I am keen to see even more women doing behind the scenes stuff. My new EP is kind of a celebration of girl power which is why I collaborated with four other strong women, as I don't think there is anything wrong with making sure we remind everyone how awesome women are.
OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?
CM: My entry into the music scene was through Soundcloud, especially with my remixes. I can see that streaming has become increasing powerful for independent artists trying to break through. Whether that is the brand new artist trying to get their music heard or even more established artists who want to experiment with their sounds or collaborate with other artists. The web is such a great place for discovery, so I can't see the likes of Soundcloud or Spotify or blogs going anywhere. They're definitely here to stay.
OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?
CM: I've learned that even though I am a rather laid back person, deep down I am a perfectionist. I can sit and work on one time sound for weeks until I get it to sound just like I envisioned. I also don't like compromises when it comes to my art. That is why collaborations can be tricky sometimes. It's all about finding the right musical soul that clicks with your musical soul.
OKP: What were some moments from your recent travels that will forever stick with you? Why?
CM: My trip to South Korea and Taiwan. I have never felt so welcomed as I felt there. The hospitality and genuine gratefulness that I have experienced there, whenever I think about it, I can't help but smile. I truly cannot wait to go back there.
OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?
CM: I wrote my first ever song on a piano when I was 14. It was called "Voyage," and I never thought anyone would ask me about my first song [laughs]. But now, remembering it and its title brings some new meaning to where I am right now [in my life] and how long the journey [has been] from that first song to where I am today. Perhaps I subconsciously knew that it was going to be a long "voyage" [laughs].
OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?
Photo of Chloe Martini taken by Edward Cooke of WMA.
CM: I don't try to copy anyone or sound like anyone. Even at times when I did try that, I was just incapable of doing it. I think that timelessness is something that lots of musicians are forgetting about nowadays. I focus more on expressing rather than impressing. Even if I am doing it subconsciously or consciously, I am always trying to turn an idea into a sound. In the words of Madonna, "Express yourself, don't repress yourself."
OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with this year going into the next and why?
CM: I have always dreamed of working with Missy Elliott because she has been changing the game since day one. Just have a listen to her songs from the '90s or her music videos. They are still very much relevant right now and you wouldn't even notice they are 20 years old. To me, she's beyond our times, but at the same time, she still feels very current. I have no idea how she does it, but I want to be able to do that as well.
OKP: What is the overall message that Chloe Martini is trying to present in her music?
CM: My musical inspirations and ideas are constantly changing. In each track, I try to express something different. I sometimes find it hard to talk about my own music, so I tend to let the music tell its own story.
OKP: Can you break down the inspiration behind a song that you created but never put out?
CM: There is this one track that was inspired by Bollywood music. I was always interested in combining some folk elements with my own sound. I definitely am looking forward to doing that more often.
OKP: How do you see yourself changing the music industry for the better versus all of the bad stuff that goes on within it?
CM: I do strongly hope that the industry will start supporting real talents who at the end of the day can make an impact rather than focusing on artists that within a few months will be just a forgotten memory. There are so many amazing musicians out there we haven't heard of and probably won't hear of some because of the fact that the current music industry still seems to be afraid of uniqueness or something different. I am not in the position to change that but hopefully with time I'll be able to do something about it. Although, there are already people trying to change the music industry, for example Pharrell Williams with i am OTHER or Chance The Rapper who both collectively support "tiny-big" artists.
OKP: How do you get over any anxiety before hitting the stage to perform live? What are some lessons or tips that you’ve learned from others about doing a stage show?
CM: The best lesson is: practice, practice, practice. I think there is nothing more to it. If you master your live performance so that if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and asks you to perform and you nail it even then then you're ready to go on stage without any anxiety, but only immense excitement.
OKP: If the reader’s learned one thing from this First Look Friday chat with Chloe Martini — what would it be?
CM: I am always in search of great talent to collaborate with. Please hit me up if you consider yourself unique. That is what drives me and keeps me inspired!