Marta Marrero (born May 18, 1969), known as Martika, is an American singer-songwriter, who released two internationally successful albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s, selling over four million copies worldwide.
Life and career
Early life and career
Martika was born May 18, 1969 in Whittier, California, United States and is of Cuban ancestry. She entered mainstream show business in an uncredited role as one of the orphan girls in the 1982 motion picture Annie. This led to her being cast as Gloria on the long-running kids show Kids Incorporated as one of a group of neighborhood kids who rise to local fame by singing staged productions at a corner malt shop. Martika and many fellow Kids Incorporated cast members were featured in the musical numbers from the Mr. T motivational video Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool! in 1984. Mr. T would call Martika 'A-Train of fashion' off camera.
Following her role in Kids Incorporated and Be Somebody, Martika was signed by Columbia Records. many called her a potential Madonna-like pop star, but Martika thinks there should be one Madonna and one Martika. Her first solo release, however, was released only in Japan. "We are Music" was recorded to promote Sony cassette tapes in the Japanese market, where the song was released in the 12", 7" and CD formats.
In 1987, Martika recorded a version of the Michael Jay/Gregory Smith song "Bounce Back" which included a music video which was aired on Entertainment '80, although it was not officially available.
Rise to prominence
Her first album, 1988's Martika, spawned the song “Toy Soldiers", which she co-wrote with her producer Michael Jay, and became a top 5 hit in the United Kingdom. In the US, "Toy Soldiers" spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1989 and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Two additional releases also went top 40 in the US: "More Than You Know" (No. 18) and "I Feel the Earth Move" (No. 25), which was a remake of Carole King's song from her album Tapestry. Both of those tracks also hit the top 20 on the US Dance charts and the UK Singles Chart. Further releases from the debut album were "Water", a modest hit in the UK and Australia, and "Alibis". The album was certified gold in the US in 1989, and sold three million copies worldwide.
In 1990, Martika co-wrote the track "Kiss Me Quick" with Michael Jay and Marvin Morrow. The track was given to freestyle/pop singer Alisha for her 1990 album Bounce Back, where Martika also contributed backing vocals on the track.
Martika was encouraged by her agent to combine her love of film and music by scoring soundtracks and, in 1990, she wrote and recorded the song "Blue Eyes Are Sensitive to the Light" for the soundtrack to the film Arachnophobia. The producers of the album did not like her vocals and so the song was re-recorded by Sara Hickman for the film. The song has also been recorded by Brazilian singers Deborah Blando (on her 1991 debut, A Different Story), Elba Ramalho and Frances Ruffelle.
In 1991, Martika approached Prince to do some new tracks. Among these was her second (and last) US Top 10 single, "Love... Thy Will Be Done", which also became a Top 10 hit in the UK and #1 in Australia. Her second album, Martika's Kitchen, peaked at #111 on the Billboard Top Albums chart, and the title track received only minor airplay and reached #93 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, the album was a bigger success abroad, though on a lesser scale than her debut. It peaked at No. 15 in the UK Albums Chart, and spawned further hits with the songs "Coloured Kisses" and the title track, "Martika's Kitchen".On Martika's album Martika's Kitchen, she worked with Prince. He wrote the song "Martika's Kitchen" for her and co-wrote her big hit "Love Thy Will Be Done". "Love Thy Will Be Done" started out as a prayer Martika wrote, and Prince then changed it into a song.
In 1991, she wrote the song "Temptation" for Patti LaBelle's album Burnin'.
Martika played the role of the lounge singer Dahlia Mendez in the early 1990s cop show Wiseguy, opposite Steven Bauer, who took over from Ken Wahl for the fourth and final season, but her return to acting was brief and she eventually faded from the public eye around 1993.
In 1997, a greatest hits compilation album entitled The Best of Martika: More Than You Know was released. It achieved sales figures of over 500,000 copies internationally.
During the 2000 explosion of Latin pop, Martika re-emerged into the music world, singing backing vocals on various projects and contributing lyrics to releases by other artists, although she failed to grab any major-label attention for herself. Instead she built martika.net in 2001, a website for her fans, and released a remix of a newly self-recorded song called "The Journey". She also recorded a track entitled "Monday" for a new solo album which the website stated was on its way. "The Journey" had 5,000 hits as a free download on mp3.com's music service. Eventually, however, her website was shut down, the album never materializing.
In 2003, Martika joined forces with her husband, musician Michael Mozart, to form the band Oppera. Adopting a latin pop sound, she and Mozart released Oppera's debut album Violince in 2004. Rapper Eminem used a sample of her biggest U.S. hit, "Toy Soldiers", for "Like Toy Soldiers", a track on his 2004 album Encore and featured Martika in the chorus of the track. It entered at No. 1 in the United Kingdom. In response, Martika's British greatest hits album was repackaged with its title altered to Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika. A biography was added to the album insert reflecting the new Eminem sample, though it asserted that she had not released any albums since Martika's Kitchen.
Oppera released a self-titled second album in 2005. Martika promoted Oppera's release with a Borders bookstore tour.
In 2010, Martika, now going under the stage name Vida Edit, starred as Lolly Pop and co-produced a web-based television action program J8ded. The low budget show was made available via subscription for four episodes. It was no longer available for viewing as of November 1, 2011.
In October 2011, Martika stopped using the stage name Vida Edit and launched a new personal website. She began uploading video blogs promising an upcoming album. In November 2011, she announced the new album would be released in early 2012, and would be primarily house and dance music titled The Mirror Ball. She then announced the first single, "Flow With the Go". The single's release was delayed for personal reasons; according to her Facebook page, the loss of a family member. The recording of her album was delayed by this, but a second single is expected to be released called "SloMotion".
As of October 1, 2012, Martika's Australian tour was cancelled. However, her official website displayed that the Mirror Ball tour in the United States was due to begin in Chicago on November 19, 2012, with additional dates in Elk Grove and Cincinnati. Martika is now currently touring in 2014 and has performed with Debbie Gibson, Samantha Fox, and Rick Astley at a HitParade Festival in Chile.
- Martika (1988)
- Martika's Kitchen (1991)
- Violince (2004, as Oppera)
- Oppera (2005, as Oppera)
- at the Internet Movie Database
- at Allmusic
- discography at Discogs
- Dennis Hunt (March 5, 1989). . Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
- Diane Telgen; Eva M. Neito and Jim Kamp (March 1993). . Thomson Gale. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-8103-7578-9.