Keeyen Martin Dishes On His Debut EP, Breaking Into The Music Industry & More
Keeyen Martin Steps Into The Forefront With Solo Debut, The Suitcase EP
Citing D’Angelo as his spirit animal, North Carolina, by way of Hotlanta resident, singer-songwriter, Keeyen Martin, is well on his way to super stardom. The seasoned background vocalist has finally stepped out of the wings and directly into the spotlight with his impressive 7-track outing, The Suitcase EP. We caught up with Keeyen Martin to talk about breaking out as a solo artist and much more. Check out the highlights below…
Keeyen Martin Dishes On His…
Musical Inception: I was born in a musical family, so about the age of two I really began singing and, of course, at that age I was just kind of following suit of my family. My dad and my uncle, they’re really involved in Gospel music, they’re big songwriters, (so) it was all I knew as a kid. So on down through high school, that was probably when I started taking it very serious, and I started getting into my first professional recordings and professional opportunities. And, a few years ago when I went off to college in Atlanta, Georgia, that was really where I began to get my feet wet as a solo artist, and I really, really started to make strides as a recording artist – singer – and shortly thereafter when I graduated , 2013, I remained here in Atlanta and I’ve been going full speed ahead.
Favorite Artists: Certainly The Clark Sisters, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Missy Elliott… I love Barbra Streisand and Michael Bublé. Those are some of the key people that I really, really grew up listening to. I not only love their music, but I just love their stories and all their accomplishments as artists. I really, really aspire to have the longevity, as far as the careers that they’ve had.
Experience As A Background Singer: Well when I was in high school, one of the first big opportunities I remember was in Gospel music. I got a lot of experience singing behind Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers, and they were a huge Gospel act that was from the nineties to the early 2000’s… and I believe when I was in high school, about 2007, 2008, that was about my sophomore, junior year, I got the opportunity to sing with them, and Darlene McCoy and Donnie McClurkin. And so, it was a lot of different artists that would come through the city I got the opportunity to sing with them. And when I came to Atlanta, that was when it became more and more frequent as far as not just sacred music, but also on the secular side. From Stevie Wonder to Aretha Franklin to Ruben Studdard and Jennifer Holliday… goodness, quite a few people… Jamie Foxx. Yeah, there was a lot of different artists that came (that) I was privileged to sing background for them. And that was really like a huge open door to get further introduced into being a professional singer.
Musical Flavor: Definitely it’s Pop/Soul Feel Good Music. Stevie Wonder is hands down one of my most favorite artists, and I just love how his music is timeless. His music definitely it has a feel good element to it, and I really, really wanted my music to make the listeners feel the same way. So, yeah, I kind of coined the genre; Pop/Soul Feel Good Music ’cause Pop and Soul I think kinda (are) the different dynamics of my voice and sound, and “Feel Good” because overall I think it has that type of feeling when you listen to my music.
Keeyen Martin Key(s) To Success: I would definitely say being consistent or consistency, as it pertains not only to really, really making strides as a singer, but I think in just being consistent overall with really, really paying attention to the ways of my industry, which is the music industry. It’s really no secret that everyday you have a new singer, or new song. There is a frequent turnover rate just in the music, so it’s pretty hard, but necessary to stay on your toes (and) be in the know of everyone; from radio to blogs to magazines to performers. I think from really staying sharp and staying connected, I’m keeping my music and my name somewhat relevant. That has really aided a lot of different opportunities. Really when you stay involved in the scene, it’s kind of hard for people to forget you, and I think that has been a huge factor in allowing me to really stay in the know, so to speak, by way of people.
Uniqueness As An Artist: I definitely think my work ethic and my tenacity really sets me apart. I was sharing this story a few days ago to a peer about coming to Atlanta. Honestly a variation of the stories of going to like L.A. (or) New York, and you always hear of people going to the ‘Concrete Jungle’ or the ‘Big Apple’ to make their dreams come true, of course, also coupled with its a sea of people wanting to do what you do, and I envisioned coming from Charlotte, which is pretty much a mild city, to Atlanta. Atlanta’s filled with people who have careers in entertainment. I knew when I got here it was gonna take a lot of hard work. I constantly networked, and I constantly remained in the faces of the people that were in my industry, until it got to a point that they became familiar with me. And, I never was a person that took “No” for an answer, it’s pretty much what speaks to the tenacious person I am. I’m very persistent when it comes to sharing my gifts and talents, and, also, really introducing people to who I am.
Admiration For The ‘King Of Pop’: Michael Jackson…I always have admired how he was an artist that really reached almost every demographic of person, and that came by way of a lot of hard work on his performing in an array of venues and making music that really, really catered to all. And, I’ve been learning with the entertainment industry being unafraid to push the envelope and being unafraid [to] enter the territories that are not necessarily so common, that really can play in your favor. [I have to] always stay on my toes, and be unafraid of change and evolution as a singer and as an artist.
Future Aspirations: I am a huge lover of film – movies, television – I’ve always been told, probably since I was a child, that I have a big personality, just infectious, and that could really spill over into different lanes. So, I certainly want to experience acting. I don’t have any parameters as far as, “Hey, I want to be an Oscar Award winner!” I certainly – that’s not my initial pursuit, but I would love to experience acting on a small scale and on a large scale. Also, I do a lot of outreach and work with the youth in the city of Atlanta.
Songwriting Inspirations: Certainly through life experiences and people. I’m very, very observant. I’m naturally a conversationalist. I love meeting new people, going new places, and I think from mixing observation with conversation. They always, always end up as lyrics and turn into songs.
Biggest Career Moments: I would have to say definitely most recently celebrating my EP release in Atlanta at a wonderful EP release concert. In conjunction with that, I also got the privilege to sing for the late, great Dr. Maya Angelou. It was an amazing, amazing celebration, hosted by Oprah Winfrey, so I got to meet her and sing before her. And, I mean, it was just a legion of amazing, amazing iconic celebrities. Those two moments I just cherish because as a singer if Oprah Winfrey tells you you can sing, you’re like, “Okay, I don’t need any other affirmation by anyone!”
Final Thoughts from Keeyen Martin: Well, I mean, perhaps if you don’t already know my EP, The Suitcase is available everywhere, and I would love for people to really check it out and keep in contact with me on my social media outlets.
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