From a local bar to around the world

Fusion musician Amanda Martinez has won wide acclaim, but hasn't forgotten where it all started

Singer Amanda Martinez says she loves music because it can take you places.

“I just feel like I’m in a different headspace when I’m performing music or when I’m listening to music,” said the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street area resident. “It just takes me somewhere else.”

Not only does music move her emotionally, but Martinez’ songs have taken the world music artist around the globe.

The Toronto native, whose father is from Mexico and mother is from South Africa, has performed in clubs in New York, shows in Dubai and even her mother’s homeland.

“In 2010 I performed at the World Cup in South Africa,” she said. (My mother) was thrilled. She came with us and so did my dad and my little son.”

Although she has achieved international popularity, Martinez doesn’t forget where it all started: in a bar at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue for a cancer fundraiser almost a decade ago.

“My first show was a show I did at Alleycatz when I kind of just jumped into it about 10 years ago,” she recalled.

From there she began doing shows at local hotspots such as the Rex Hotel, Gate 403 and Sassafras.

Martinez describes her music as a fusion of flamenco, afro-Cuban rhythms and Mexican folk music. She said her inspiration and influence comes from the South American love songs or “boleros” she grew up listening to.

Her debut album Sola was released in 2006 and won her Best World Music Artist at the Toronto Independent Music Awards that year. In 2009, she released her second album, Amor, which reached number one on the iTunes world music charts.

Martinez also launched and became the host of a radio show on Jazz FM 91 called Café Latino back in 2004. She continued on the program until she passed the mic to her friend Laura Fernandez in 2008.

Currently, Martinez is hard at work on the material for her new album, which will launch next spring.

“I’m in the process of kind of creating right now,” she said. “I look forward to seeing the world through my touring.”

Martinez will be putting on a guest performance at Koerner Hall on Sept. 27 before jetting off for shows in Montreal and then Guatemala in October. She will be back at Koerner Hall on May 17 for the release of her new album.

About this article:

By: Tristan Carter
Posted: Sep 14 2011 3:10 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto