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Martika talks 'Prince', international fame and her upcoming AUS tour

Levi: Are you looking forward to the Australian tour next month?

Martika: Oh, absolutely, sure. I've very much looking forward to it. I haven't met any of these artists, so it's going to be really cool to meet everybody and to travel around your amazing country. I've only been to Sydney and Melbourne, so I get to really see a lot more on this journey, there. Very much looking forward to it.

Levi: You said you've been to Sydney and Melbourne? Did you perform there, or was that just visiting?

Martika: I went to promote both of my albums, but I only got to do a lot of promotional stuff, so I didn't really get a chance to do my live set. This will be my first time actually doing concerts there.

Levi: Awesome, that'll be great to see. I know in 2012, you were working on a new album called The Mirror Ball. Can we expect any new songs?

Martika: There is one record out from that project called Flow With the Go, if anybody wants to hear it. This particular tour is, because it's a retro tour, it's really focused on the hits from back in the day. They just asked me to sing the hit records from my first two albums, so I'll be doing a set of Martika's Kitchen, I Feel the Earth Move, Love Thy Will Be Done, More Than You Know, and Toy Soldiers.

Levi: A lot of those songs, when they came out I was very young, I was like 4 years old, but they're very big and I still remember them now. They're still played all over the radio. What was that period like, just being super famous for a few years then you kind of stepped away from it? Was it overwhelming at all?

Martika: Oh absolutely, very overwhelming. I was a kid. I was just a teenager, so it was like, "Wow." I wasn't quite prepared for all of that. Obviously, you want to be well received and everything. I was really excited that people were digging my music and everything, but I just think the pace and the jetset lifestyle, and I didn't really grow up that way, so I really didn't know what to expect, and so processing all of that was a lot at the time. I'm just really grateful that I had the opportunity to do so much cool stuff at such a young age. To still be remembered at this point, and to be invited to participate in a tour like this is really really cool for me. I'm super happy that I can get on stage, sign and dance, and have this really cool material to share with everybody still.

Levi: Do you find it less overwhelming now? Have you come to accept that you're famous and touring the world and all that kind of stuff?

Martika: It's not the same as being in the machinery in that way. It's completely different now. To me, it's just like a really cool adventure, to be able to go and do this. I'm not out in the system all the time in everybody's face taking up a whole lot of space and annoying everybody with everywhere I turn, I see Martika, like, "Ugh, stop." I don't feel like that. I think that it's kind of cool and just being able to sort of pop in on y'all a little bit now is pretty nice. It's not as much pressure at all. I still feel the same way about showing up, in terms of professionalism and everything. Plus, being on stage, I grew up doing music and signing and dancing all my life. It's something that is still my favorite thing in the world to do for a living, so it's awesome that I can get up there and do it. I always bring more than 100% to the table when I show up, so that hasn't really changed. I still have a lot of energy and passion about it.

Levi: I know you've been getting this question a bit: I know you worked with Prince on your second album. It's just so sad with what happened. I was always a big fan of his music, just so iconic and such an amazing musician. What was it like working with him? I talked to Terri Nunn the other week, she worked with him a little bit and said he was very lonely and kind of reclusive. What was your impression of him, and what was he like to work with?

Martika: It's interesting that she said he was lonely and reclusive, because my work experience with Prince was basically long distance. I actually did not go in the studio and record with him. I left him with some of my lyrics, and then I went home. Then he went in the studio and worked on adding music to that, and then in LA, I received from Paisley Park some stuff he had done there with his crew, some of the musicians that worked on production with him had played on some stuff. Then I went in the studio with people that I was working with and finished everything out like that. I really didn't have the opportunity to actually collaborate with him in person. It was just kind of an interesting long distance way to work. In the end, I love what came from it. I don't have any fabulous Prince stories about studio habits or whatnot.

Levi: A few years ago Eminem used a sample from your song Toy Soldiers. I was just wondering what you thought of his interpretation of that song?

Martika: Yeah, really cool. I really like what they did with it. I thought it was a really cool take, and the way they sampled the chorus with the kids choir singing, with the snare drum and that hip-hop groove around that. I just really thought it was very cool.

Levi: How has your taste in music changed over the years? Is it quite different to what you were listening to, back in the early 90s?

Martika: Oh, yeah. I guess I kind of went through phases. Growing up, I listened to ... Pretty much was kind of taking in what people around me and my family were listening to. My family loved music. My parents were into their thing and my brothers were into their thing, but I was just into Top 40, I loved Pop music. I liked Rock, then later in the 90s, I sort of went backward and started listening to stuff that had been before me, from the 60s, and then I started going into stuff that I had missed. Then getting away from the pop mainstream so much, then I started listening to all kinds of things. I've just got really eclectic taste. I listen to everything, anything, any kind of genre, from any time. I gravitate toward songs and listening to interpretations of things, and I like a lot of different musical styles. I just love music, and I love to hear music from all different parts of the world and from different eras.

Levi: I know mainstream music has changed a lot since the early 90s. What do you think of the new wave of pop stars like Beyoncé, Adele, Taylor Swift, and those kind of people?

Martika: I don't know how to keep up the pace of it all, to be honest with you. They work hard, those girls. I gotta hand it to them. Being on the world stage, just to pull it off, I've always been the type of person that gives a lot of respect to anyone who gets up on the world stage. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of people and do your thing. Everybody's going to have your haters or whatnot, and I just think if you can get up there and try to make them happy then go for it. I'm real supporting of artists.

Levi: Would you ever want that experience again, if you did bring out another song, would you want another #1 hit that was topping the charts for weeks on end?

Martika: I don't think any singer would say that you wouldn't enjoy to have a hit record. Of course that would be great, but I just don't really expect that out of life. Times change, and I know that so much of it has to do with being in that machinery and working that, with all of what that takes, with the publicity and the promotion and the radio. It's just a lot. I don't really expect to have a #1 record again, but hey, you just never know how things happen. That's what's so much fun about show business. Things can happen, like all of a sudden an opportunity or a collaboration. You just never know. We'll see what happens with me, but I'm just happy that I can still love music, make music, and be able to sing and dance and get up on stage, and that people still want to see me do it. I'm very grateful for that.

Listen to the full chat!

Catch Martika playing the TOTALLY 80s tour this July! [Click the poster for a link to ticket sales]

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