Shane Martin is a country music artist from Minneapolis, U.S.A. Although he’s currently completing an extremely grueling live performance schedule, he kindly agreed to complete a feature artist interview for Song Revelation so we could find out a bit more about him and his music. Read the full interview below to find out about who Shane’s musical inspirations are, how he creates his incredible songs and what he does to relax when not performing.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Shane Martin is one of those rare singer/songwriters that writes and sings straight from the heart about real-life conditions and personal experiences.
Q: What is your musical background?
My musical background started at a young age playing piano and sketching out song ideas and crafting lyrics. I recall going to piano lessons and the teacher would ask me to play the song lesson for the day. Most times I would wing the song lesson and then play a song I had written. Soon I picked up the guitar and had a creative connection with playing and singing. I would hear melodies, choruses, and song inspirations in my head. I then felt compelled to create and put my thoughts and sounds into a song format. Learning to play guitar by ear, I had a passion for singing and playing. It wasn’t long before I found myself starting a rock band with friends from school and practicing up to play a few club shows and house parties.
I gained stage experience with different rock bands over the years and eventually found a love for the subtle honesty and soul of the acoustic guitar. I self-released my first solo album”Moody Waters” in 1998 as a six song e.p.
From 2000 – 2003 I fronted the rock group “Faith Nation” and
warmed up for Bands/Artists such as: Peter Frampton, Styx, REO Speedwagon, The Guess Who, and Great White, to name a few. In early 2003 Faith Nation disbanded and I went right to work on my next solo album.
My 2005 sophomore release “Thread” was co-produced and recorded with Levi Seacer from Prince’s The New Power Generation. In early 2010 I recorded the 12 song album “Rewind” in Nashville and was released July, 2010.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was great year for me. I released my 3rd studio album “Rewind” recorded in Nashville with EMMY award winning engineer / producer Kenny Royster. I was a finalist in several different song writing competitions. My music is now on iTunes, Pandora, and a number of other online profiles and radio stations. It was also thrilling that I’ve started to gain fans from around the world through online radio stations.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
I’ve always appreciated Edwin McCain’s soulful vocals and songs and he was a big inspiration in my earlier years. John Mayer – He’s a monster on the guitar and can play almost anything, yet his style and music have a simple flow. Dave Mathews Band – who’s not inspired by this outstanding group of musicians.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Keith Urban & John Mayer – these guys are what you call a triple threat with their exceptional guitar playing, vocals, and songwriting. And they put on a great live show! Zac Brown Band has a unique genuine sound and they’ve paved a market for themselves with relentless touring and hitting home with great songs. Being a Minneapolis native I have to give respects to Prince. He’s beyond a musical genius and show man. I don’t think there’s an artist out there that you can put in the same category. Although his popularity has faded some, he’s still off the charts. And of course there’s Dylan. I’m not a huge fan of his voice, but his lyrics are like beautiful short-stories.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
As a songwriter I would be honored to collaborate with Jeffrey Steele. He’s written so many great songs and hits. It’s truly a gift to be able to craft such poignant songs. It would be an inspiration to sit down with him and see what we come up with. I would also enjoy sharing the stage with Keith Urban or Jason Aldean. The modern country/rock style is where I’m leaning stylistically and the fans and crowds are all looking to have a good time with their music. Pink would be fun to perform with as well. She sings and performs her ass off and her shows are an all out in your face rock show.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
I listen to a wide variety of bands/artist. Being a singer I’ve always been into soulful and expressive vocalists that I enjoy singing along to. Artist like: Marc Broussard, James Morrison and Edwin McCain among others. I also keep my ear to what’s coming out of Nashville: Zack Brown, Eric Church, and Josh Thompson to name a few. I’ve even got some Christian Rock I’ll listen to: Jeremy Camp, Mercy Me and Mathew West. I gravitate to most any style or genre that has a great melody and moving lyric.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Being a guitar player in my songwriting process, I use to start mainly with a guitar lick or chord progression and branch off with whatever mood or emotion it sparked with lyrics. I still use that routine a little, but lately I’ve been starting with an inspired phrase or hook line and then creating the music around it. I’ll then go back and forth with lyric and melody until it’s the strongest it can be. I’ll also come up with unique chorus/verse melodies and see where that brings me. People sing melodies to songs and not chord progressions so I focus quite a bit on ear grabbing melodies that make the lyric stand out. I’ve also started writing more from a story telling aspect. I keep my ears and mind open to anything that grabs me emotionally in day to day real life situations and try to originate a song out of it. I strive to write songs that people can truly relate to. It’s very gratifying to move and inspire people with a song.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
They are both equally important to create an all around good or great song. In the past I’ve leaned more towards melody in writing. Although the last few years I’ve immersed myself in lyrics and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting… Sometimes I think a song is never really finished, but at some point you have to put the pencil down, record it, and set it free for people to hear. It’s a challenge to be original in lyric writing today. Everything has been done and said already. The object is to say something in a fresh new way or a different angle. If I had to choose I would say melody is a bit more important for the simple fact that you could have the greatest and most unique lyrics, but if the melody is lame the song will fall flat and most people won’t listen very long, much less spend money for it.
Q: Where are you based?
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Minneapolis is a good breeding ground to work on your craft as a performing artist/band. There are plenty of venues where you can get out and perform live and actually generate revenue to help support your career. The winters here can be brutal so you spend a lot of time indoors working on your music. No better time to write songs then when it’s 30+ degrees below zero outside.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on getting songs licensed through several different companies for background music in television, commercials, and cinema etc…
In today’s competitive music market, you have to get your music out there and heard anyway you can. It would expose my music to new listeners and be another stream of income. I continue to perform over 150 shows a year and I’m looking to expand my touring to new markets and colleges. I’m always writing new material and now looking to start compiling songs for my fourth studio album.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I would say recording and releasing my latest album “Rewind” is one of my career highlights. I self financed the whole project with savings and credit cards, made several trips out to Nashville, and worked with a great producer/engineer to put it together. I finally found my sound and writing style and “Rewind” is the best group of songs I’ve written to date. I really started to dig deep in my songs and got back to my small town roots and experiences I’ve had through out my life. It felt natural for me to write more from a story telling aspect that leans more to the country genre and incorporating my rock/groove influences. To me it doesn’t matter how many albums/downloads you sell, where you are on the charts, who you’ve played with, or any other accolade you get if your not confident, comfortable, and content with your sound and style. Still as an artist you always have to look ahead to what’s next. It’s the adage “What else have you got?”
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
I’m looking to get several songs licensed. Start planning on my next album. Broaden my touring and reach a bigger fan base performing more national showcases and festivals. Work with a record label and/or put a team of people together to assist in the business side. Sign a publishing deal. Getting regular rotation on commercial radio. And all around getting my music out there to new listeners.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
“Moondance Jammin’ Country Fest” June 25th, 2011 in Walker, MN
Artist include: Big & Rich, Dierks Bentley, Gretchen Wilson, Sara Evens, Dwight Yoakam, Craig Morgan, and more
“Moondance Jam” July 16th, 2011 both are in Walker, MN
Artist include: Kiss, 3 Doors Down, Stone Temple Pilots, Paul Rogers, Eddie Money, an more
Q: What do you do to relax?
I enjoy the outdoors any time of season. I like to exercise (jog, bike, roller blade, and lift weights) to clear my head. I enjoy unwinding at a coffee shop and reading a good book.
Summers I kick back lake side and enjoy fishing and golf. The summers in Minnesota are pretty short so you take advantage of the warm weather and get outside as much as you can. It’s nice just to hang out with friends or family and enjoy the company listening to good music. As much performing as I do I still relax just free flow playing on my acoustic guitar. An open jam around a camp fire is always a good time.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
People call me the “One Man Band” As a solo act I simultaneously play acoustic guitar, bass pedals and tambourine with my feet, all while singing. I also add in a guitar loop, harmonica and other percussion instruments that all create a unique full sound. That all grew out of starting to play solo acoustic shows after a few bands I played in fell apart. I wanted to add to my sound as a solo performer so I started adding in my feet to play instruments and it just grew from there. I still have a full band that rocks and we showcase whenever we can.
Editor’s Note: Shane Martin is an extremely talented singer-songwriter, as anyone that’s heard his latest album “Rewind” will testify. We predict that 2011 will be a breakout year for Shane. We’re sure that many more people will enjoy his unique and commercial signature sound over the coming months and beyond.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Shane Martin, just follow the links below:
twitter link: http://twitter.com/_shanemartin
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shane-Martin/52992824131
myspace link: http://www.myspace.com/shanemartinmusic
web page link: http://www.shanemartin.com
reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/shanemartinmusic
Digital Rodeo: http://www.digitalrodeo.com/shanecompany#fbid=GIGmSWFswrR