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Christopher Martin: Jamaican Idol

RISING STAR: Christopher Martin

REGGAE’S RISING star Christopher Martin has both music and flirtation down to a fine art. Let the record show, he is as smooth in person as the lyrics in his songs suggest.

“Let me just tell you that both sides are lovely, I must say,” he retorts when I ask the photographer to capture my ‘good side’ during our interview.

“I just want to clear that up,” he adds.

But far be it for me to start planning a wedding and setting my sights on a dream house in the Jamaican hills. This is, at the end of the day, the man behind hit song Cheaters Prayer.

In the singer’s 2011 smash, he croons: “Don’t let me cheat on my girlfriend… But Lord, if you can’t stop me from cheating, don’t let me get caught”.

He laughs when I recite his lyrics back to him: “There’s the Christopher Martin on stage and the Christopher Martin here with you. They are two very different people,” is his silky smooth retaliation.

It’s easy to see why the Jamaican public, who voted the 25-year-old the winner of the country’s version of American Idol, fell in love with him. His charisma, charm and talent are undeniable.

Martin beat thousands of hopefuls to secure the Digicel Rising Stars title in 2005 and is the first contestant in the competition’s nine-year history to score a hit single in the charts with debut Love Is All We Need.

“I can tell you that never in my wildest dreams did I see all of this happening,” he says. “And if my friends said to me when I was younger, ‘you know they’re going to know you around the world?’ I would’ve laughed, honestly. Coming from [the Jamaican parish of] St Catherine to here is a big movement.”

Martin discovered his love of performance in high school, graduating just two years before entering the popular TV talent show with countless awards and accolades.

Recently performing to over 10,000 people at the St Kitts Music Festival, Martin has gone on to become one of Jamaica’s most sought after performers, signing with Big Yard Music Group, one of the most prolific musical entities in the country.

Yet, despite his overwhelming success across the pond with songs Take My Wings, Gallis’, which features fellow dancehall star Busy Signal, and chart-smashing single Jamaican Girls, Martin has joined his studies (a degree in business management and accounting) with his flourishing career in music.

The singer, who reveals his biggest extravagance since landing fame has been buying a new house, says his main motivation in life, and indeed music, is making his parents proud.

“I grew up with my parents and I must applaud them for the wonderful job they did in raising me. We didn’t have the easiest of lives growing up, and I realise that many sacrifices had to be made. I’m in a position right now where we don’t have to go through that again. So I’m not only doing this for myself, I’m doing it for my family.”


TOP PERFORMER: Chris Martin on stage at the recent St Kitts Music Festival [PIC CREDIT: Dionne Grant]

There’s a widely-held belief, and sufficient proof in the UK, that a number of stars from TV competitions don’t enjoy as much favour once they leave the show’s sprawling platform, but eight years after the fact, is Martin happy he’s managed to avoid the post-TV show curse?

“I’m living proof that anything is possible once you put your mind to it,” he says.

“Music has changed my life in so many ways. It has changed my standard of living and I can now do things for my friends and for my family – and things for people I don’t even know by way of charitable events. Just being able to share my voice with somebody and help to uplift their day makes me feel good.”

Although he says he’s still “learning everyday”, Martin says his advice to aspiring musicians would be to “put people first in all that you’re doing”.

“Give thanks for the gifts that you have and make the most of every opportunity,” he says. “I think God has been so good to me, so if I was to complain, I’d be so ungrateful. And I’m definitely not.”

For his second - and last - piece of advice, he says: “Always remember, there are no caps, there are no boundaries and there are no boxes. Be true to yourself.

“I’m doing music because I love music. I love to sing and singing is my life. For me, the sky is the limit and if there’s an outer world beyond the skies, that’s my aim.”

Christopher Martin features on Ding Dong’s new single It’s A Celebration out now.
For more information, follow @Iamchrismartin on Twitter

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