It’s a really incredible feeling when you unexpectedly stumble on an artist like Martin Luke Brown. Talented, hardworking and really honest – Martin stands for something that I find quite refreshing. I think that when you find what you love and choose to devote your life to it, you never truly work; and because of your pursuit towards this passion, you (often unknowingly) make the world a little bit brighter for a lot of other people. Whether he’s singing on YouTube, at a festival (he’s got quite the schedule this summer) or in a small venue to a little crowd, Martin’s great because he loves it and you just can’t fake that. I hope you enjoy this little introduction to Martin, but my true hope is that you get lost like I did, exploring his different songs from wherever you are in the world and appreciate both his literal voice and the one that comes from his heart.
Which artists inspire you the most?
People who are uncompromisingly themselves. John Mayer is great for all round artistry. Same with Foy, he’s got this sort of friendly, rebellious attitude that I really like. Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon; anyone that sang songs with a political edge or a higher means than for just selling records. It’s much more about emotion than a perfect performance, you know? Gavin DeGraw has done a couple of ‘stripped’ albums that I love. They’re so raw, he’s actually well out of tune at times, but it’s still great.
You’re headlining the Lotus Play Festival (humor me)- can you pick five other artists/bands you want in the line-up with you?
Kanye West? Haha
Was there a live show, festival or gig in particular that made you realize music was the best and only path for you in life?
Not really, no. I kind of stumbled into music by doing so much of it out of love. It was never really a conscious decision. But I have moments all the time now, where I realize how lucky I am for that having happened.
That’s so great. I feel like people feel pressure to say they had that ‘aha’ moment at a singular gig, but it’s so refreshing hearing that you literally just love music and it’s as simple as that. I’ve seen you perform a song like “Take Out Of Me” in a really bluesy manner while “Nostalgia” is often more upbeat– but, both have so much soul. Is soul your ‘genre’ more than anything else?
I’d say so, yeah. It’s all held together by the fact I really mean what I’m singing about. Soul’s the only genre that’s flexible in that sense, I suppose. I just want everything to sound honest and believable.
What inspired “Take Out Of Me”?
Ha. So, this is a weird one. I’d been reading a lot about rape culture and articles on how the media uses sex so often as a means to sell. The whole song’s essentially about how obsessed we all are with sex and how that can become a bad thing.
Is there one relationship in particular that has inspired your writing or do you find inspiration from a lot of different places?
Not particularly. I try to avoid writing about relationships, especially my ones. That’s not to say I haven’t though. I write about experiences close friends or family members are going through, as if it were me, more so. Or about other things, like Nostalgia I guess, or a sex- obsessed society haha.
You have an absolutely incredible voice – I really believe that it’s rare for an artist with a sound like yours to have a lyrical voice that can make the entire experience transcendental. Has songwriting always come naturally to you?
Wow thank you! Not at all! And singing didn’t either. I had 2 solid years of sitting by a piano screaming through the breaks in my voice. Thank God my parents were patient! As for songwriting, I only feel like now I’m hitting my stride, 7 or 8 years into it, I’m always learning!
Is there anything that rivals performing live and setting that vibe with an audience to you?
Writing, I suppose. The actual creating of a song is magical in a different sort of way. But I love both.
How has YouTube and social media helped you reach people?
Mainly by people being able to stumble across me, I suppose. That’s pretty crazy isn’t it? Like, someone on the other side of the world is only a few clicks away from hearing you. Yeah, it’s been great. I’m still old school though, I’d much rather chat to people after a show. It’s a real art to portray yourself online as you are in real life, and I’m still working on that.
Are there any specific memories from your life that were made more poignant because of a particular song(s)?
Abbbsolutely. Everyone’s got certain songs that trigger memories. Most of mine are songs that I usually wouldn’t like either, but as a result of circumstance, I’m fond of them now. Music’s mad for that.
I actually got to speak with Foy Vance about writing about a month ago. Do you hold him as a sort-of beacon shedding light on honest music and does that rawness he writes and sings with inspire you?
He’s such a dude. And yeah, I’d say so. His whole attitude towards music is so refreshing. He does what he wants, when he wants, and writes whenever he fancies it. It’s a real hippie approach but that all contributes to him creating material he’s 1000% happy with, and it shows doesn’t it? We wrote a song called ‘Sonder’ together which I really like. Hopefully I’ll be putting that out sometime in the future!
What are the top 5 most played songs on your iTunes?
Black Eyed Peas – Where Is the Love (Man I killed that song when I was a kid haha)
C2C – Down The Road (It’s my get hyped song, along with anything Bon Jovi)
Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothing (Ultimate Jam)
Stevie Wonder – Boogie On Reggae Woman (Literally the best walking down the street song ever, Stevie’s great at those)
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (every other Buckley tune isn’t far behind, but his version of this was the first thing he did that I discovered, and it was on repeat for a whiiiile)
Martin is currently touring the UK and playing festivals in Europe throughout the summer. You can get tickets for his July shows here, tickets to the 110 Above Festival here and to see him on the BBC Introducing stage at the Y Not? Festival click here.
Did we mention he’s playing Boardmasters, too?