Playing and performing since childhood, the Quebec-based chanteuse released her 2008 debut a week ahead of her 19th birthday.
Following it with 2011’s “Blonde,” the two albums earned Martin back-to-back “Francophone Album of the Year” nominations at the Juno Awards, as well as a solid international fan base.
After her daughter was born in 2012, she switched things up and composed the soundtrack to fantasy video game Child of Light - a project that proved both timely and gratifying.
“I had just given birth,” Martin recently told DiscoverSD from a tour stop in Minneapolis. “So I had nothing to do other than hang around the house. But it felt good to have someone see me as something more than a singer-songwriter. They saw me as someone who could actually compose music - and that was very flattering. So I thought that maybe it was time to show people what I could do.”
That was apparent when she followed her first professional foray into composition by recording an album of songs for the fifth season of Canadian TV series “Trauma.” Featuring covers of some of her favorite performers like Tom Waits and The Rolling Stones, “Trauma” marked the singer’s first release of English-language songs.
Coeur de Pirate
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 29
Where: Belly Up, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach
It also served as the bridge to last year’s “Roses,” her debut for Cherrytree Records (Interscope), which features seven of its 11 tracks in English. But Martin insists she isn’t choosing sides.
“It’s been a progression,” she said. “When I first started playing shows in the States, I did my set entirely in French. But once I realized that most of my audience really didn’t understand it, I wanted to give them something more direct. And I’ve done that progression slowly. There are still French songs on the new album. That’s me trying to blend these two worlds that I want to explore.”
She blended most of the new world of “Roses” with Swedish producer Björn Yttling (Robyn, Lykke Li, Franz Ferdinand), one-third of indie-rockers Peter Bjorn and John.
And with songs dedicated to both her husband and daughter, it seems that “Roses” represents more than one transition for the artist.
“It’s changed,” Martin said. “I used to be very vengeful and angry in my songwriting. But now, it’s definitely more positive. I think it’s a good thing to change, grow up, and talk about different things. And I’ll always have my worries and insecurities to fuel my songwriting. I’m anxious, but that’s fine. It’s not always easy, but I do want to inspire (my daughter) later on.”
Martin and her band are booked with dates through the beginning of 2017, but she’s already making specific plans for the downtime between them.
“I want to release an EP in the summer or fall,” she said. “When my record came out in the states, it was very complicated. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I had to start from scratch again. The songs are there. I just don’t know what direction I’m going with it yet. We’ll see.”
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.