Monday 12th December
Originally hailing from Penarth, Martyn Joseph reached the charts with his 1992 single Dolphins Make Me Cry. But the tale goes deeper than that, for this is a singer-songwriter with more than two decades of performing behind him.
Now releasing music on his own Pipe Records label after spells with Sony and Grapevine, Martyn finally now has the creative control and total artistic freedom to do as he pleases.
Having built a loyal following through tours and earlier releases, he says this is his preferred way of working: “The major advantage is complete control and creative freedom: if I write ten songs next week and like them, I’m not dependent on Robbie William’s diary or Madonna’s film schedule for when it gets released. I can just put them out myself, there is this audience of people who want them.”
Martyn originally won the deal with Sony after building a loyal audience from hard work on the gig circuit. Well used to playing 200 performances a year, his self-financed live album An Aching And A Longing sold 30,000 copies alone.
He found more mainstream acclaim with three chart singles from the early 90s, taken from his Sony album Being There: Dolphins Make Me Cry, Working Mother and Please Sir. But Martyn parted company with Sony in 1995 which freed him from worry about chart success. Later recordings Full Colour Black And White, Tangled Souls and Far From Silent won him critical acclaim and an increased fan base alike.
Having toured and appeared with artists including Suzanne Vega, Joan Armatrading, Jools Holland and Art Garfunkel, Martyn Joseph’s position as a singer-songer of enduring talent seems assured.
Released in November 2003, Martyn’s album Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home continues the styles he’s developed over the years. “Really what I do is try and write songs that might make a difference,” says Martyn of his work. His 2005 LP Deep Blue was in a similar vein, forsaking studio trickery and massed overdubs in favour of a live, intimate sound.
Hailed by occasional writing partner Tom Robinson as “one of the most charismatic and electrifying performers in Britain today”, his songs often use lyrical narrative forms to speak to his audience on subjects ranging from social injustice to the joys and pains of love. In this he follows a line of social commentators in song ranging from Woody Guthrie to Bruce Springsteen.