Martika

Martika

Marta Marrero (born 18 May 1969), better known as Martika, is an American pop singer and actress.

Biography

Early life and career

Born in Whittier, California, Marrero entered mainstream show business in an uncredited role as one of the orphan girls in the 1982 motion picture Annie. This led to her being cast as Gloria on the long-running kids show Kids Incorporated as one of a group of neighborhood kids who rise to local fame by singing staged productions at a corner malt shop. Martika and many fellow Kids Incorporated cast members were featured in the musical numbers from the Mr. T motivational video Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool! Shanice and future Black Eyed Peas member and solo artist Fergie also had singing parts in the 1984 video.

Following her role in Kids Incorporated and Be Somebody, Martika was signed by CBS Records as a potential Madonna-like pop star. Her first solo release, however, was released only in Japan. "We are Music" was recorded to promote Sony cassette tapes in the Japanese market, where the song was released in the 12", 7" and CD formats.

Rise to prominence

Her first album, 1988's Martika, spawned the anti-drug abuse song “Toy Soldiers”, which was a top 5 hit in the United Kingdom and many other countries. In the U.S., "Toy Soldiers" spent two weeks at #1 and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Two additional releases also went Top 40 in the U.S., "More Than You Know" (#18) and "I Feel the Earth Move" (#25, a remake of Carole King’s #1 from her classic album Tapestry). Both of those tracks also hit the top 20 on the Dance charts in the U.S.

Further releases from the debut album were "Water", a modest hit in the UK and Australia, and "If You're Tarzan I'm Jane". The album was certified Gold in the U.S. in 1989.

Following years

Martika was encouraged by her agent to combine her love of film and music by scoring soundtracks and, in 1990, she wrote and recorded the song “Blue Eyes are Sensitive to the Light” for the soundtrack to the film Arachnophobia. The producers of the album did not like her vocals and so the song was re-recorded by Sara Hickman for the film, though Martika retained her writing credit. The song has also been recorded by Brazilian singers Deborah Blando (on her 1991 debut, A Different Story) and Elba Ramalho.

In 1991 Martika was approached by Prince and became one of the “Prince Protégées”. The collaboration managed to score a U.S. Top 10 single, her second and last to date, with "Love... Thy Will Be Done", despite peaking at #31 on the Hot 100 Airplay charts and at #24 on the Hot Singles Sales charts. Her second album, Martika's Kitchen, peaked at #111, and the title track received only minor airplay. However, the album was a significant success abroad, though on a lesser scale than her debut, spawning hits with the songs “Coloured Kisses” and “Temptation”. However, it faded quickly from the charts and went out of print.

In 1991 she wrote the song "Temptation" for Patti LaBelle's album Burnin'.

Martika played the role of the lounge singer and undercover cop Dahlia Mendez in the early 1990s cop show Wiseguy, opposite Ken Wahl, but the return to acting was brief and she eventually faded from the public eye around 1993.

In 1997 a greatest hits album entitled The Best of Martika: More Than You Know was released. It achieved sales figures of over 500,000 copies internationally.

Re-emergence

During the 2000 explosion of Latin pop music, Martika re-emerged into the music world, singing backing vocals on various projects and contributing lyrics to releases by other artists, although she failed to grab any major-label attention for herself. Instead she built martika.net in 2001, a website for her fans, and released a remix of a newly self-recorded song called "The Journey". She also recorded a track entitled “Monday” for a new solo album which the website stated was on its way. “The Journey” had 5,000 hits as a free download on mp3.com’s music service. Eventually, however, her website was shut down, the album never materializing.

In 2003 Martika joined forces with her husband, musician Michael Mozart, to form the band Oppera. Adopting a goth pop sound, she and Mozart released Oppera’s debut album Violince in 2004. That same year rapper Eminem used a sample of her biggest U.S. hit, “Toy Soldiers”, for “Like Toy Soldiers”, a track on his album Encore which entered the UK singles chart at Number 1. In response, Martika’s UK Greatest Hits album was repackaged with its title altered to Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika. A biography was added to the album insert reflecting the new Eminem sample, though it asserted that she had not released any albums since Martika's Kitchen.

Oppera released a self-titled second album in 2005. Martika promoted Oppera's release with a Borders bookstore tour.

Discography

Singles

Year Title Album UK U.S. IE NL Australia
1988 More Than You KnowMartika 15 18 10 - 32
1989 Toy SoldiersMartika 5 1 3 1 5
1989 I Feel the Earth MoveMartika 7 25 7 17 2
1990 WaterMartika 59 - - - 98
1991 Love... Thy Will Be DoneMartika's Kitchen 9 10 8 19 1
1991 Martika's KitchenMartika's Kitchen 17 92 24 14 29
1992 “Coloured Kisses” Martika's Kitchen 41 - - - 39

External links

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