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Archive for the ‘Martika’ Category

Step by Step, Heart By Heart: Martika’s Debut Expanded by Cherry Pop

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MartikaFor decades, The Disney Channel has served as a launching pad for the pop stars of tomorrow, from Justin Timberlake to Britney Spears to Selena Gomez and many more.  One of the earliest shows to have stars emerge was Kids Incorporated which aired on The Disney Channel from 1986-1994 (after having moved there from syndication).  Kids introduced audiences to, among others, Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt.   But it was another cast member from the show who had early success stemming from her time on the program:  Marta Marrero, or as she was billed on her self-titled debut album, Martika.  This album has recently been reissued by Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop in an expanded edition.

After having gotten her big break playing an orphan in 1982’s movie musical Annie, Martika played Gloria on Kids Incorporated for the show’s first three seasons from 1983-1987.  During that time, she met producer/songwriter Michael Jay (Five Star).  He recognized her talent and approached her about collaborating.  Martika signed a record deal with Columbia in 1987 with Jay inked as the producer.   Her debut recording for the label was the song “We Are Music,” issued only in Japan as a promotional release.

Martika and Michael Jay began work on what would become Martika.  Jay wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 10 songs on the album.  He was joined as a co-writer on two of the songs by Martika herself, who Jay had encouraged to begin writing. (She also co-wrote two other songs on the album.)   The album was released in October of 1988 with the lead-off single “More Than You Know” coming in November.  It hit No. 18 in the U.S. and No. 21 in the U.K.   The next single would prove to be an even bigger success and become the song most associated with Martika:  “Toy Soldiers.”   Released in 1989, the single climbed to No. 5 in the U.K. but reached pole position in the U.S., going gold.  The album itself also went gold, peaking at No. 15 in the U.S. and No. 11 in the U.K.  Two other singles were released: the Carole King cover “I Feel the Earth Move” (No. 7 U.K.) and “Water” (No. 59 U.K.).

After the jump, we have more on Martika including the complete track listing with discography and order links!

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Written by Joe Marchese

November 21, 2014 at 09:29

Posted in Martika, News, Reissues

Reissue Theory: Martika

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The recent realization that Cherry Pop has been remastering and expanding the Kim Wilde catalogue to considerable reaction (enough to warrant two waves of reissues, at least), it makes you wonder what other female pop acts might get the same treatment someday. If you’re an ’80s fan and you’re wondering the same thing, there’s little doubt that Martika is probably near the top of your list of must-haves.

To many, Martika is at best a footnote in pop history. Her simple yet powerful “Toy Soldiers,” a No. 1 hit in the U.S., shot her to international fame, but after two albums in 1988 and 1991, she faded mostly into obscurity until her signature song was sampled for Eminem’s “Like Toy Soldiers” in 2004.

But that glossy history overlooks a few important factors. For one, her bubblegum pop was quite catchy in a Latin-Madonna sort of way (“Toy Soldiers” in fact kept “Express Yourself” from topping the charts). And although her vocal range didn’t expand much past Madonna’s herself, Martika could carry a tune quite well.

Then there are her other pop hits; despite being considered a one-hit wonder, she had a few other hits to her name, including the peppy “More Than You Know,” a house-ready cover of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” and – perhaps best of all – the gorgeous “Love…Thy Will Be Done,” a Top 10 hit from her second LP, Martika’s Kitchen, and one of the tracks on that album written and produced by none other than Prince.

With just those two LPs on Columbia, it’s quite a surprise that no label has sought them out for reissue. Granted, Legacy put out quite a nice compilation – Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika – after Eminem sampled her, and it actually included a few 12″ mixes and non-LP tracks (including a rare version of “Toy Soldiers” in Japanese!). But if a label took on the original records, Reissue Theory-style, they might look like what you’ll see after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 3, 2010 at 08:00

Posted in Features, Martika, Reissues

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