Australia is getting ready to go Totally 80s this month with some of the era’s favourite artists ready to kick off their Australian tour. We recently talked to 80s singer, Martika, who is part of the big line-up of performers and she is very excited about the opportunity to return to our shores after twenty five years. “I was there promoting both my albums but I only got to Melbourne and Sydney both times and I did promotional appearances, interviews, radio and television but I never did my actual live set so this time it will be great to do so many shows and to travel throughout the country. I’m really looking forward to it. I think you have a beautiful, beautiful country and very sweet people. I have very fond memories of the fans that I met there before so I’m really looking forward to coming back.”
Martika says that her musical career began when she was a small child. “I was in dance class from the time I was four and doing recitals and by the time I was eleven, I was already in Hollywood working with an agent and going to auditions. My very first big opportunity in Hollywood was actually in a musical and I got to dance and sang on the soundtrack of the film version of the musical ‘Annie’. From there, I was also part of some children’s musical theatre groups in Hollywood and they put me on a television series called ‘Kids Incorporated’ which was a musical show as well. We sang and danced in every episode. It was all music based so my whole focus was always musical. There was some acting outside of the musical type of stuff but usually it was always something that had to do with music, singing and dancing. My true love is music. I think that my whole career has pretty much been musical and to be able to go into the recording studio to record original material of my own and to start collaborating on material and recording my first album when I was only eighteen, it was a natural progression from one to the next to the next . It’s really all I’ve ever done.”
Those collaborations include songs that were co-written with Prince. As Martika explains, “I had been working on songs for my second album and I really wanted to see if he would be interested in making some musical contribution to the project and he was very receptive. It all happened quite quickly. There was a message sent to him and then my mum and I were on a plane to Paisley Park in like four days or something. We talked and I gave him some of my lyrics and he handed me the lyrics of Martika’s Kitchen; he had written it the night before, knowing that we were going to be arriving to meet with him so it was all quick and then I went home and a few days later the basic track showed up for like the five songs that we had a collaboration on and ‘Martika’s Kitchen’ was one of them and then there was ‘Love Thy Will Be Done’ and ‘Spirit’ and ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ and a song called ‘Open Book’ and they were all from lyrics from my notebook that I had given him. He had put music to some of my lyrics and so that was just amazing. I just loved so much the music that he contributed to the project and feel very honoured that I could have Prince write stuff with me and for me so it’s pretty amazing even to this day. It feels a little bit surreal that these songs are mine and that he wrote on them or wrote for me.”
Like all of us, the singer was shocked by Prince’s recent death. “It was a shock for everybody I think. We were all so sad. It’s starting to sink in finally that he’s on the other side. I guess I always thought he would be around at least until his 80s doing it, right? He was like our generation’s James Brown. And I just thought he would be performing until his old age so obviously that was quite shocking. He was so young.”
Martika says that fans can expect a great night at these Totally 80s shows, full of energy, music we all know and love, and lots of fun. “Once I get on stage I’m like a child in a playground,” she laughs. “I love to just dance around the stage and I love to interact with the audience and the other musicians and really just put on a great show. I think it’s going to be such a wonderful night for the fans because so many of the acts had big hits so I figure it’s probably going to be a big singalong as well. People will recognise so many of these songs throughout the evening, being that it’s kind of a nostalgia/retro/flashback tour and that always feels nice to relive a time in your past when things were easier and not so pressure filled. I know a lot of people will remember being younger like I was when I made those records. I was just a teenager when I recorded my first album so I know there are people who were even younger than I was who remember me from being a little kid so everybody will be grown up and have kids of their own and maybe bring their kids. It should be a lot of fun. I’ll be coming there with a lot of energy and my voice is really strong right now and so I’m just going to sing my heart out!”
The Totally 80s tour kicks off this Tuesday in Brisbane. For more information, tour dates and to book tickets, click here.
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016. All rights reserved