Content from: Interview page on official site
Alice Martineau - Interview
(note: although I got the content from the official site, there's no link from the official site itself to the page for some reason.)
In November, the pop scene says hello to a major new talent - West London singer songwriter Alice Martineau, and her beautiful debut single, 'If I Fall' (out on November 11th) and debut album 'Daydreams' - (out on November 18th). It's the first most of us will have heard of Alice, but like most supposed overnight successes, her road to fame has been a lengthy one, peppered with near misses and with the constant hope that her phone will ring with news that will change her life. Since childhood Alice, who has cycstic fibrosis, now needs a heart, lung, and liver transplant - but Alice has a funny habit of making her own rules in life.
Welcome to popstardom, Alice. What took you so long?
Well, the first thing that happened was about ten years ago. I did a really crap demo with my brother on guitar, and sent it to a record company. To my surprise, they said, 'Come in for a meeting'. We kept in touch, and the first thing I recorded was backing vocals on this track by some band I'd never heard of and have not heard of since, haha! But that was in the mid-90s. Are you still wondering, 'How come it took you so long?'.
Well, yes. Didn't university get in the way a bit?
That's right. I went to Warwick to study English but at that point my health took a bit of a dive and I just couldn't cope with living away from home. In the back of my mind I just wanted to do music. Toby Smith, the keyboardist in Jamiroquai, was somebody I knew and we talked about him possibly writing a song for me. At the time I was really na´ve, I had this image of me and Jay Kay getting together and releasing a duet for charity, and that it would propel me into the limelight!
That didn't happen, though?
Well no. I've had so many false starts. There was a point when I was co-writing some songs with a guy called Howard Toshman, and a couple of the tracks went down a bomb with the publishers, so it looked like I was about to get a deal signed then. But again it came to nothing. But I just wouldn't give up for so long. Eventually, things started moving - I wrote an article about my experiences for the Telegraph magazine, and Channel 4 made a short programme about me, then Johnny Walker got me in for a session on Radio Two. Epic spotted me, now here I am!
Robbie Williams is a bit of a fan, we hear. How did you hook up
Robbie's been great he's come to see me play live. He's a great guy and having him in the audience makes me try that little bit harder! The whole thing started ages ago when I was talking to one of my friends, whose stepdad managed Robbie, and that was the first contact! It's another part of my long story in the music business, at one point Robbie's manager took me under his wing and helped me out with contacts and things.
Whether Robbie's in the audience or not, your live shows are
really special occasions. What's the buzz like on stage?
It's like nothing else. I feed off it, in a way. You can just express yourself so much better on stage - you can just let go and even though I can't dance that much I can let myself go emotionally.
And is it true you've recorded with Blue?
Yes! I just recently did some stuff in the studio with them. Another lucky break, we share a voice coach. We had a right laugh together, they put some vocals down on a song of mine, which was great. I'd love to work with them properly some day.
If you were writing a lonely hearts ad, how would you describe
Passionate, intelligent, kind, and stubborn. I'm loving, generous, warm-hearted, humorous and very caring. And melodic!
Tell us about your tattoo.
(Laughs) Well, I'd been thinking about one for about five years, then I woke up one morning and thought 'Today's the day!' I'm quite an impulsive person like that! So I went down to the tattoo parlour and spent about three hours deciding what I was going to have. I went for a flower, I quite like the fact that it looks like an 'S', everyone goes 'What does that stand for? Sexy?'. And I go, 'Yeah'. I'd like another one but I'm waiting for my operation and if I have to start taking anti-rejection drugs, a new scabby tattoo wouldn't really help things.
The operation's a bit of a drama, isn't it.
Yes, a bit. When I get the call telling me the organs are available I have two hours to get to the hospital, and the operation will be twenty hours long. I haven't ever met anybody who's had that operation. (Laughs) Heart and lung transplants are done all the time, but with the liver as well it's a bit unusual.
Did having CF make school life difficult for you?
I loved school up until 14, and I was there with Marlon Brando's daughter, Michael Caine's daughter there were lots of girls competing to be the centre of attention. I wasn't really like that, and then during my teenage years people started picking on me. Some of the girls were really, really bitchy. I got really badly bullied by them and hated school. Then a lot of the bullies left and I enjoyed the sixth form again!
Clubbing was a big part of your life at one point, too. Where
did you go?
I loved clubbing so much. Most of the places I loved have actually closed down now, places like (seminal 80s Soho hangout) The Wag and so on. They were places which were 'cool at the time', y'know? Socialising was a big thing for me. These days I've had to adapt and go out for dinner instead. I do miss living it up but hopefully I'll be able to do it again soon.
What's your earliest childhood memory?
Being in a wood, having a picnic and getting slightly lost with my brother. I remember, we screamed loudly, so our parents could hear us, and find us, which they did. The other memory, is that I was always surrounded by music all the time - my uncle was a record producer for people like Def Leppard and Judas Priest, and my grandmother was a concert pianist.
As a musician in your own right, what do you consider to be
your unique selling point?
I also think than in order to want to be a star or to be a singer you have to have something that's driving you, something insecure about you. I've experienced things in my life that most people of my age would have no idea about. I've had to face up to my own mortality, basically. But when you think about it, a lot of artists have had trauma in their personal lives that spurred them on and what I'm trying to do is turn my problems into something positive. If you're ill or disabled in some way, people automatically put you in the role of victim, and I think through my music I'm making the point that that's so not me.