Christopher Martin recently breezed into NYC to promote the release of his new EP ‘Stepping Razor’ and I had an opportunity to sit with him in the offices of VP Records in Queens.
SHP: When you hear the words ‘Stepping Razor’- Peter Tosh immediately comes to mind, what made you select that name for the title of the EP and the first single to be released?
CM: I love that song and always wanted to record it with my interpretation being synonymous with my life. For Tosh it was more about being militant – ‘if you’re a bully treat me good’, he was warning folks not to get on his bad side. My interpretation reflects my outward appearance, my interaction with the ladies that’s how I see stepping razor, sharp – especially when it comes to the ladies!
SHP – Who produced that track and do you work with specific producers?
CM – That track was produced by Frankie Music. I’m not one to limit myself since everyone interprets music differently. At the end of the day, I don’t see music as having boundaries or barriers. If I hear something that I like, I’m open to working with that producer.
SHP – I know you write about 98% of your music, do you write for any other artists?
CM – Yeah, I’ve written for artists before, but I’d prefer not mention any names right now.
SHP – Where does your inspiration spring from, I see a lot of your songs are rooted in reality and life experiences?
CM : I call it sugar reggae, that undiluted sweet reggae music. I’m inspired by life in its simplest form. I wrote Big Deal (also on the EP), in recognition of the mere fact that once you are a part of the inhale and exhale process, you have a blessing you are alive, that is already a big deal. You are able to walk, talk do the things you are able to do you are part of a bigger picture. You are a big deal. Some people struggle with confidence issues, self-esteem issues, self-worth, I’m just trying to enlighten, encourage others with my music. We have to remember even the simplest things we may take for granted, is a big deal, a very big deal
SHP – What do you think makes you connect with the listening audience?
CM – The fact that I have nothing to really be over the top about. I feel that everything happening in my life is just the work of the Almighty. I haven’t done anything of my own accord. Having that temperament humbles me, since I understand where I’m coming from. My ‘success’ if that’s what you want to call it – none of it was ordained, none was written in stone or handed down to me, it’s just my belief in myself and trusting in the Almighty that he will lead me where I’m supposed to go. I believe it’s that connection –I’m as easy as the breeze, cool like a Sunday morning! You could never hear me touch on a topic that is not in tune with who Christopher Martin is, I would never sing a song degrading a woman, never sing about guns – that’s not me at all
SHP – Let’s talk about one of your big hits Cheater’s Prayer, where did the inspiration for that song come from?
CM – I just had the concept in my head and I said, it’s gonna be one of those extreme songs, people will either love or hate it – but they will enjoy it at the end of the day. Some people asked ‘how can you involve the Almighty in cheating?’, but it’s a fact of life, people cheat in relationships all the time.
SHP – Your reworking of Passenger’s Let her Go, reflected a completely different type of energy, was that song personal to you?
CM – You mean was the song speaking to me? I just love the song, I was always singing it and said I was gonna interpret it my way. I did the song and Passenger, actually posted my cover on his page. He said he’d heard many covers, but that was the best.
SHP – You were the Digicel rising stars winner in 2005. Did you have any idea you would be at this point in your life and career in 2015?
CM – I’m at exactly the place where I should be right now.
SHP – Let’s talk about your new EP, Stepping Razor, there are 5 tracks, it’s a digital release and the songs, according to the promotional blurb ‘balance sweetness, swagger and sex appeal and showcases versatility and vocal excellence’. Who were some of your musical influences?
CM – Growing up I listened to lots of different people, that was my father’s influence, Country & Western, Don Conley, Kenny Rodgers, Otis Redding, Sam Cook, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Drifters, Temptations. Chilling with him listening with him, I just developed a love for that kind of music. I feel when you are young, the type of music you hear grows with you.
SHP – What do you wish for your music?
CM – Well, I want to leave a legacy, I don’t want to have popular songs, the type that are here today and gone tomorrow. I want my songs to last for decades. A Christopher Martin song must be timeless. I want my music to be associated with memories.
SHP – Are you doing any promotion tour dates?
CM – VP is dealing with that, but I go to Bermuda shortly then back to Roy Wilkins Park in Queens for Oracabessa, then Europe, I’ll soon be touring in the States for the EP and the album which will be released this year too. For the upcoming album there will be some songs which have already been released like Cheaters Prayer, Mama and Paper Loving, but in the main the new album will have more new tracks.
SHP – As someone who resonates with the female fans, is there a special someone in your life right now?
CM -= Right now, I‘m concentrating on my career. I have two daughters and I’m responsible for making their lives 100 times better than mine was.
SHP – How important is your role of father
CM – Being a father is very important, being that constant in your child’s life, instills within them a level of trust and strength to take on this task called life. You being that effective father figure, they will understand that you are not trying to manipulate them, coz you genuinely love them.. I’m raising princesses. I can’t let someone else from outside of the realm dictate their potential in life.
SHP – Final words?
CM – Yes, the EP is available online at Amazon and VP records – go out and buy it now.