time is now for Martha Wainwright. With her guitar leveled at the audience,
legs akimbo and hair tousled in the spotlight, Martha looks and sounds every
inch a star in the making.
part punkster, strong and vulnerable all at once, with a hugely expressive
voice and an arsenal of powerful songs, Martha is a beguiling entertainer
and a refreshingly different, new force in music.
the daughter of folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and
sister of acclaimed singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Born in New York
City and raised in Montreal, she spent her childhood immersed in music and
often performing with her parents. She took the first step in her own recording
career in 1998 when she contributed her song “Year of the Dragon” to her
mother and aunt’s album The McGarrigle Hour. The same year she started singing
back-up for her brother both live and on record. As she wryly jokes: “I
had no classical training, but I had angst and heartbreak and fantastic
music all around me. What more could I need?”
her college early, Martha moved to New York City and distinguished herself
almost immediately. Her strong sense of individuality as well as her direct
emotional and lyrical appeal helped her develop a devoted following with
the city’s singer-songwriter scene.
the reason the album has taken so long to come together is that I wanted
the right producer, a producer that would reflect me and what I wanted to
say and do with the music.” In the end the album was produced by Martha
and New York-based producer Brad Albetta in Brad’s downtown studio over
a period of a year and a half. The end result, her self-titled debut album
Martha Wainwright (released April 12, 2005 by MapleMusic Recordings) is
a testament to her burning creativity, determination and strength of character.
the emotional world Martha describes in her music is one of personal uncertainty
and emotional fracture. Her songs are unswervingly honest about her own
insecurities and fears. Fears about her own talent, her place as a woman
in relationship to men and love in general. As she herself observes, “When
I write I feel simultaneously conscious and able but also frightened, like
I’m flying without a safety net. It feels like a wild thing. My songs deal
with pain and a lot of personal suffering, but I think ultimately my strength
comes through in my performance and my voice.”
follows the 2004 release in the United Kingdom and the recent American release
of her debut EP, Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole. The response to BMFA was
immediate and landed Martha on many year end lists. In the January 2005
issue of Mojo Norah Jones listed her as one of the “best things she heard
all year.” London’s Sunday Times included “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”
in their songs of the year alongside tracks by Modest Mouse and Gwen Stefani
and Rolling Stone called BMFA “a blistering prelude to her debut album.”
performer, Martha performed as part of the acclaimed Leonard Cohen tribute
concert in May 2004 at Brighton’s Dome Concert Hall. Her rendition of the
Cohen classic “Tower of Song,” won accolades from both London’s The Guardian
and Daily Telegraph. Martha also joined her brother on his fall 2004 UK
dates to rapt audiences and has supported artists such as Cyndi Lauper and
Van Morrison in North America over the last year.
took a turn performing on film in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator starring
Leonardo DiCaprio in which she portrays a sultry torch singer. Her song
“I’ll Be Seeing You” was added to the film’s soundtrack. Martha also contributed
two songs to the soundtrack of American independent film P.S. starring Laura
Linney and directed by Dylan Kidd (Rodger Dodger).
is wonderfully varied and meshes elements of rock, folk, country and chanson
singing. The 13 tracks including the anthemic and cathartic “Bloody Mother
Fucking Asshole”, “The Maker” featuring Rufus on backing vocals, the compelling
“Factory,” and first single “When The Day Is Short” are sure to bring Martha
the wider recognition she deserves.
her own person, with her own sense of style, Martha creates her own music
with an extraordinary versatile and compelling voice.