Considering how much time Nova Scotian songwriter Christina Martin has spent touring Europe over the last few years, one has to wonder if she has contemplated making a permanent move overseas.
“Every time we start talking about moving and leaving Nova Scotia, it never fails to turn into a conversation about how much we love living where we do,” Martin explains. “I grew up in the Maritimes and have family here, which also helps keep us in the region. It’s a long way to travel when we do have to make the trip overseas, but we’ve actually found a good balance between going back and forth.”
Martin knows things could always be worse. With near universal acclaim and a spate of awards that she has earned in the years since her 2002 debut, Martin has had little difficulty winning over audiences at home and abroad.
She acknowledges that not all songwriters are so lucky.
“It has just so happened that it is easier for me to be busy as a musician in Germany. Would I love to be busier at home in Canada? Of course. Our country is home to so many great artists trying to make a living. We just don’t necessarily have the population to support it. It can be extremely challenging for artists in Canada to be able to focus solely on their art without holding down other jobs.”
Asked why she feels her music has connected so well with audiences overseas, something that has helped her land features in Germany’s Rolling Stone, among other media outlets, Martin chalks up her success to the authenticity that audiences feel she brings to the table.
“In Germany, there seems to be a really positive response afforded to North American singers and songwriters. They seem to have this innate craving to listen to authentic, story-telling musicians. In the bigger picture, however, Germany is very supportive of the arts; they see the value in investing in the arts and have been remarkably welcoming for artists coming to their country. The population there believes it’s important to support artists in a manner that makes it possible for them to maybe eek out a living. I’m just lucky enough to have tapped into that in Germany,” she says.
Although Martin is unfortunately not yet a household name here in Canada, it is not for a lack of effort. Born in Florida, Martin was raised in the Maritimes. Her musical journey has led her to all corners of North America, including extended stays in Austin, Texas among other locales.
With a handful of releases to her credit, her newest effort, It’ll Be Alright, sees the singer-songwriter spread her wings the widest yet. The 10-song collection sees Martin’s continued and gradual evolution from alt.country singer-songwriter to embracing additional sonic textures, allowing her to explore different sides of her musical personality.
Looking back on the 17 months since the release of It’ll Be Alright, Martin acknowledges that, given the opportunity, there are a number of things that she would do differently. In the end, however, she admits to having gained insight and experience that she can leverage in the future.
“I’ve learned so much over the last couple of years. There are a couple of instances where I didn’t follow my gut where I really should have, but I don’t have any regrets because there have also been a number of positive things happening as well. In fact, I feel a little more clear-headed around certain things, particularly around aspects of the business side of things that I can use moving forward.”
If there is one thing that Martin has taken away from almost 15 years of making music, it is that she has learned to appreciate both the small and large victories.
On a recent tour through Ontario, she admitted feeling burned out and defeated on more than one occasion. It wasn’t long before a sense of gratitude pierced those dark clouds, however, ultimately resulting in a run of well-received shows as well as a collection of potential songs for her next studio effort.
“I’ve learned expectations can be a double-edged sword. If you’re really reaching for something, you need to find a way to enjoy what you’re doing and just be your best. Life is too short to spend time mired in negativity,” Martin offers.
What: Christina Martin
When: Wednesday July 20, 7 p.m.
Where: Caseley Park, located beside Riverview Town Hall, 34 Honour House Ct.
This show is free and open to all ages. In the event of inclement weather, the show moves to Riverview Community Centre, 145A Lakeside Dr.