Marta Marrero (born May 18, 1969), known as Martika, is an American singer-songwriter and actress, who released two internationally successful albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s, selling over four million copies worldwide. Her biggest hit was "Toy Soldiers" which peaked at number 1 for two weeks in the American charts in mid-1989. She also played Gloria on the long-running musical children's show Kids Incorporated.
|Birth name||Marta Marrero|
May 18, 1969 |
Whittier, California, United States of America
|Genres||Pop, dance-pop, pop rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, record producer, actress|
Dunda Chief Records
|Associated acts||Oppera, Prince|
Life and careerEdit
Early life and careerEdit
Martika was born in Whittier, California, United States, to Cuban parents from Havana. 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 children's show Kids Incorporated as one of a group of neighborhood children who rise to local fame by singing staged productions at a corner malt shop. Martika and many other 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.
Following her role in Kids Incorporated and Be Somebody, Martika was signed by Columbia Records. Her first solo release 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 12", 7" and CD formats.
Rise to prominenceEdit
Her first album, 1988's Martika (No. 15 US) spawned the song "Toy Soldiers", which she co-wrote with her producer Michael Jay, and became a top-5 hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Australia. In the US, "Toy Soldiers" spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1989 and was certified Gold by the RIAA. "Toy Soldiers" also went to No. 1 in New Zealand.
Two additional singles 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. "I Feel the Earth Move" also reached the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. A fourth and final single from the album, "Water", entered the lower regions of the UK and Australian charts.
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 reached #1 in Australia. "Love... Thy Will Be Done" started out as a prayer written by Martika, and Prince then changed it into a song.
Her second album, Martika's Kitchen, peaked at No. 111 on the Billboard Top Albums chart. The title track received only minor airplay in the US, 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 #15 in the UK Albums Chart, No. 9 in Australia, and spawned further hits with the songs "Coloured Kisses" and the title track, "Martika's Kitchen".
She eventually faded from the public eye in 1991/1992 after walking away from the music industry, due to burnout and feeling overwhelmed with the burden of fame.
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 on 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.
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, allegedly for personal reasons; according to her Facebook page, the loss of a family member. She announced the intent to release a second single, "SloMotion", but as of July 2015 (more than three years later) neither the full-length album or the second single has surfaced.
On October 1, 2012, Martika announced an Australian tour, but it was cancelled without explanation. 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. However, between 2012 and 2015 she appeared in a total of five live performances, all at small club venues. The exception was a performance in 2014 alongside Debbie Gibson, Samantha Fox, and Rick Astley at a HitParade Festival in Chile.
In July 2016, she was part of the "Totally 80s Tour" of Australia. The concerts included seven international 1980s acts, including Martika, Berlin, Limahl of Kajagoogoo, Paul Lekakis, Katrina from Katrina and the Waves, Men Without Hats and Stacey Q. For her performance at the tour she received rave reviews from the Australian press.
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- Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
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- "Alisha – Bounce Back (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Paul Cashmere (June 26, 2012). "Martika Explains How Prince Crafted Love Thy Will Be Done | News | Music News". Noise11. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
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- Paul Cashmere (October 1, 2012). "Martika Aussie Tour Cancelled | Live | Music News". Noise11. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "HOME". martikamartika.com. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Dwyer, Michael (July 16, 2016). "Totally 80s! review: Martika steals show with timeless hits". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Official website
- Martika on IMDb
- Martika at AllMusic
- Martika discography at Discogs
- Dennis Hunt (March 5, 1989). "Playing a Sultry Vixen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
- Diane Telgen; Eva M. Neito; Jim Kamp (March 1993). Notable Hispanic American Women. Thomson Gale. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-8103-7578-9.