A while ago I had the opportunity of interviewing a very talented singer/songwriter, Michelle Martinez, who I discovered on Youtube whilst listening to my daily dose of covers.
This is what we talked about.
Hi Michelle, How are you doing today? Can you give the readers some background information about yourself?
Hello to all! It's a beautiful sunny day, so I definitely can't complain! A little bit about me, I'm a singer/songwriter from California working the independent artist route while balancing college and growing my online fanbase. I'm basically a little girl with big dreams.
How did get into music?
I've been singing since I was a little. It's all I've ever really been passionate about. I'm an only child, so music got me through a lot of lonely times. Once my parents saw my talent, they offered to give me voice lessons. From that I did showcases, joined competitions and lived for the feeling of an audience's applause.
Then I began wanting to create my own music and here we are today!
Can you tell us how you've been able to balance school with music, most artists would probably leave school and focus on just the music, what keeps you motivated not to stop school?
It's not easy, I'll tell ya that! Haha. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life once I got to college. I knew I wanted to be an entertainer, but my parents weren't too thrilled about that idea. Back then, there were no independent artists or online sensations. So I never really thought I'd be able to live my dreams and decided to just go through with college.
But soon after, a Japanese record label discovered me on Youtube. Long story short, I dropped out of school and moved my whole life to Tokyo thinking I had hit the musical jackpot. Little did I know I'd end up right back where I started. Things didn't work out and I was back home and really disappointed at my choices. But I decided to chase my dreams harder than ever now that I had gotten a taste of what it was like to be an artist. I also learned that nothing is forever in this industry and knew I needed a back up plan.
So I decided to re-enroll into college because I just didn't want to end up living at my parents' house forever as I chase my dreams. Haha. And that's what keeps me motivated to juggle the two today. Music is my life, but I'm smarter to know that having a degree can only help me in case I need a fallback plan.
How did you get into posting covers on youtube? Were you nervous?
I hated the idea at first. I've been doing musicals, castings, competitions and auditions since I was little. I lived for an audiences reaction to my performance. And here were people posting videos of themselves from their bedroom becoming more famous than me! I was outraged! Lol. But that was just me being too stubborn to accept that new technology was opening doors for people like myself who would normally never have the opportunity to get this far.
I had a Youtube account just to watch other peoples videos, but I never intended to make it a channel. But I posted one video dedicating a song to a friend for his birthday since he lived so far away. After I saw the flood of positive comments and requests to post more vids I warmed up to the idea and I guess the rest is history.
How many opportunities do you think social media has brought into your career as a music artist?
I can't even count how many opportunities I've gained through social media. I've done more amazing things with my music in the last 2 years than I had done in the 14 years prior to that. It's such a blessing to live in a new world of technology.
Would you advice any artist to look in these avenues?
Yes and no. If you're the kind of person who takes everything to heart, don't post your stuff on the internet. People can be very mean. If I had a dollar for every negative comment I've received on a video, I'd be a millionaire by now. Lol.
But you just have to ignore the people who are intentionally being hateful. Criticism is good to improve yourself, but know that not everyone is going to love what you do. Now if you have thick skin and don't care what people say about you, the internet is your haven. Have at it. Try it out and enjoy the opportunity to reach millions with your talent.
Were there ever any moments that you just wanted to give up on your singing dream?
If so, why? So many times. I've experienced rejection, people screwing me over, deals falling through, people discouraging me, haters, just all sorts of negativity. And every time, there was a moment where I was ready to throw in the towel. It's hard to love something and want something so bad when obstacle after obstacle prevents you from reaching your dreams.
This industry is hard. It's not for the weak, because it'll eat you up alive. But if I let those things stop me, I'd never be happy with myself. I know nothing worth it ever comes easy.
Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?
I think my biggest inspiration is the other artists that I've been on tour with and gotten to work with. I look at them and know they came from the same place I did. Just someone who had a dream who decided to make their dreams a reality. They know what I feel and we've all built a special bond because of it. They keep me on my toes and we push each other to keep bettering ourselves and constantly create more content.
Another inspiration are the fans. Hearing or seeing them enjoy my music and what I do is a huge push to keep going. If I put atleast one smile on your face during my video or live performance, I will have done my job.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given? The steepest part of a mountain is always the hardest to climb, but that's when you know you're close to the top.
If you could open for anyone who would it be and why? Beyonce. I love her! Her energy, her style, her performance skills and confidence are something I strive for. To be in the same show as her would be a dream come true.
What advice would you give to other female singers that are trying to make it in the world of music?
Be yourself. It's hard, I know. Media demands you to be a certain way to gain success. But break those stereotypes of what is normally expected from a female and don't be afraid to be comfortable in your own skin.
What has been the highest point of your career so far?
Today is the highest point. Everyday I gain another fan, create a new idea, explore another avenue. Every new day will be my highest point because it's another day I chose not to give up on my dreams.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans, and are there any new songs that they should keep an eye out for?
Yes, look out for a few music videos from my album, some awesome collabs and a new single.
If you weren't a musician what would you do with all of your creative energy?
Well I'm a Broadcasting Major at school, I'd definitely focus more on the behind scenes of Television and Radio. I'm used to being in front of the camera, but now I'm learning all the aspects of what goes on behind the camera. Maybe after my singing career takes off the way I'd like it to, I'll look into Television production.
Any final words to your suppporters?
A big thank you to those who've been following my journey. There's a lot to come from me and I appreciate your support. I would be no where without you guys! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU!
How do you want people to describe you ten years from now?
A legend. :)
LATEST COVER: How to Love - Lil Wayne (COVER) Michelle Martinez
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