Singer-Songwriter ANDREA MARTIN Discusses Her Recent Signing With VEL RECORDS, Making Music For The Great Gatsby and The New Netflix Show The Get Down!
Posted On 15 Nov 2016
New York based independent music company Vel Records recently announced that it has signed a publishing deal with singer, songwriter, and producer Andrea Martin. One of the most sought after songwriters today, Martin’s massive body of work speaks for itself. Having penned timeless No. 1 hit songs for artists like Monica (“Before You Walk Out of My Life”), SWV (“You’re the One”), En Vogue (“Don’t Let Go (Love)”), Leona Lewis (“Better In Time”), and Melanie Fiona (“It Kills Me”), Martin has proven herself not just a formidable songwriter, but also an architect of modern pop and R&B.
A performing artist herself, Martin’s mentor Clive Davis released her debut album Best Of Me which featured guest stars Lauryn Hill, Organized Noize, and Queen Latifah. She has since written and been featured on releases by SHIFTK3Y, Aprés, Switch, Flux Pavilion, Pusha T, and the hook on the hit “The Morning” from Kanye West’s album Cruel Summer.
Martin was tapped by Baz Luhrmann to pen two tracks for 2013’s The Great Gatsby and has reunited with the filmmaker for the score of his highly anticipated upcoming Netflix hip-hop drama The Get Down, which premieres this summer. The series focuses on 1970s New York City and is Luhrmann’s first musical endeavor since Moulin Rouge.
Additional songwriting credits include hit singles by Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Toni Braxton, as well as songs for UK artist Naughty Boy featuring Wiz Khalifa and Ella Eyre, Paloma Faith, and Jennifer Hudson.
“When I’m at my best I feel like I’m channeling something greater than me, and that’s how being part of the Vel family makes me feel,” said Martin of the signing.
“We have followed Andreas’ illustrious career for years,” said Vel Records’ Co-Founder Camus Celli. “We are truly honored to have her on the roster!”
Vel Records is an independent music company established in 2007 by songwriter and producer Camus Celli and a collective of music industry veterans to provide an incubator for emerging and established artists and writers. Vel emphasizes a fluid and nimble approach to artist development that is tailored to each artist’s unique needs – offering a full range of services from branding and marketing, to production, management and more. Vel Records’ roster includes: Craven J (Shawn Mendes, Samm Henshaw, Jasmine Thompson, Arrow Benjamin), Cady Groves, and Deluka. Vel is administered by Kobalt worldwide.
Learn more about Andrea in the following All Access interview:
Growing up, did you all always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I first remember knowing that I wanted to be a singer growing up in Brooklyn and watching a cartoon of the Jackson Five. Nothing was going to stop me.
My earliest musical memory I can remember is cleaning the house with my mother on the weekends she would always play Bob Marley. It would help us get through the day.
Can you talk about signing with Vel Records recently? Why do you think this is the right place for you and your music right now?
Vel Records is like family. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to breathe again in the music industry thanks to them. I’m creating and challenging my mind which is exciting for me and it’s awesome to be loved and appreciated. It really gives me the strength to continue doing what I love to do. I knew deep down in my heart that I had to try something a little different so when I reconnected with Camus Celli and Rani Hancock (who I have know for years), we had so much to talk about! They were the perfect missing pieces to my puzzle at this point in my career. It’s also a plus that they have a small staff of writers so they truly care about my well being!
I’m a big fan of Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby film. What was it like being chosen to write a couple songs for it? What was the process like of writing those?
The process was amazing and scarrryyy at the same time. I remember seeing a preview for the film and thinking about how great it would be to be involved and late that night… around 4:00 AM in the morning… Darren Higman from Warner Bros. (who is a great friend) called me with people from Baz’s camp. I almost didn’t pick up the phone but I’m glad I did. The music in the film was missing a couple crucial pieces and asked if I could come up with some ideas. I was given just a few hours which was both exciting and challenging. Baz loved the songs and we have since become great friends. He is very hands on and a total perfectionist. He’s not afraid to give someone new an opportunity.
I’m excited to watch The Get Down on Netflix soon. Can you describe what it was like working on the score for it?
Working on The Get Down was amazing. My good friend Elliot Wheeler is the musical director on the show and it was great to work with Baz again. You can catch me singing at the end of episode one!
You are very well known in the music world for writing songs for a ton of talented artists. What songs are you particularly proud of? Can you recall a song that a part of you wanted to save for yourself?
I was extremely proud of the song “Don’t Let Go” because at the time Sylvia Rhone, the president of Elektra, really believed it was a hit. If I had it my way I would keep every single song for myself because 99% of the time I’m telling my own naked story.
When do you hope to release more of your own music? Are you constantly working on new material?
I’m always working on something new and I’m very grateful for the success I’ve had, not only in the US but also in the UK. Since the Toddla T and SHIFTK3Y releases were featured on earlier this year I’ve been collaborating with various artists and producers I love like Clean Bandit, Diplo, Naughty Boy, Grades, Mac & Phil, YOUTHONIX, and a ton of others.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Some of my favorite artist are Michael Jackson, Prince, Terence Trent Darby, Miley Cyrus, Adele, 21 Pilots, Coldplay, Melanie Fiona , The Foo Fighters , Pink and Sia. I would love to work with Miley Cyrus I would love to do a duet with Adele and Sia. I would also love to work with Chris Martin of Coldplay, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, and Drake.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I want listeners to know that my songs always have a beginning and an end and a solution. There is always a resolution… an answer to the cries. At the end of the day all I want listeners to walk away feeling like they connected with my music. We can laugh and we can surely cry when we listen to an Andrea Martin song — no matter who you are. I strive to make that connection.