Interview with Steven Harris 

San Gabriel Valley Press Syndicated 
by Steven Harris Correspondent 

"Taking an artistic risk with one's career takes dedication and courage, and Martin seems loyal to the last blue note."

Born in Iowa and raised in California, Martin moved to Los Angeles in 2003. She is a writer who studied theater, and since her arrival she has acted and directed. "L.A. is more inclusive and eclectic, music-wise, she said. "There's less of a separation than other areas that I could mention that are more exclusive and elite." 

Martin admits to discovering jazz music fairly late in her career, some time after her initial encounter at 16 when she first heard a Billie Holiday recording. 

"I've sung all my life: folk, pop, and even Latin, but I didn't try straight-ahead jazz until 1995, she said. "The odd thing is that I never had any intention of focusing on jazz, but once I started to study and learn, it's just what opened up for me naturally." 

She sang with several groups, and they encouraged her to record her own album. Martin's first CD sampler titled "Softly" was self-produced in 2003. 

She called her debut disc "a really beautiful project that went well." Her next CD, now in the production stages, will be a fusion of jazz and soul tunes with classic standards culled from the past. It will include some strong Brazilian rhythms, something Martin has long loved. 

Taking an artistic risk with one's career takes dedication and courage, and Martin seems loyal to the last blue note. 

"I believe that commitment is everything, especially in this field," she said. "Most jazz artists who strictly earn their living that way can't really expect the success that a rock artist might. Because I didn't have much expectation or conscious intention of pursuing jazz as a career, it's been more like a gift for me. I'm still learning how to interpret it. 

"But I'm trying to shift the hype approach to what the music is all about: connecting with people, and sharing an understanding that encompasses an emotional, sensual and visceral encounter." Martin added a coda that the music industry should heed. 

"I personally don't care for genre divisions," she said. "When these distinctions and the old systems start disintegrating — that includes the recording business — that's when new things and new collaborations can be built. 

"This is a very exciting time in music. More artists now are skipping right across genres: folk, bluegrass, jazz and pop. All the richness of music that America has offered over the past 100 years seems to be coming together."