BIOGRAPHY

Heidi Martin is a Washington, DC native, and began her two-decades plus music career after studying with Professor Calvin Jones at the University of the District of Columbia and continuing privately with jazz royalty, drummer/vocalist Grady Tate. Since making a 1999 debut in the New York jazz scene via her engagement at Birdland, she has become a successful recording artist, composer and sought-after collaborator. Continuing in NY, she has played major clubs such as The Blue Note, Knitting Factory, Zinc Bar, Cachaca, and Metronome and is very active in DC at Bohemian Caverns, Blues Alley, and the 18th Street Lounge. Her bands are often comprised of leading artists and have included some of today’s most exciting contributors to jazz such as Russell Gunn, Nicholas Payton, George Colligan, Eric Revis, George Burton, Orrin Evans, Gregoire Maret, and DC-based Kris Funn, DonVonte McCoy, and Tarus Mateen.

Martin has also been showcased at many area festivals including the DC Jazz Festival, WinterJazzFest NYC, and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Internationally, she has performed at the Pori Jazz Festival and Casablanca’s Kenzi Hotel. Martin has independently released three highly acclaimed recordings: “See Hear, Love” (2008), “HIDE” (2005), and “Alone Together” (1998).

“Spirited and Self-assured” ~The Washington Post

“Heidi Martin’s voice has a heavy Rickie Lee Jones bottom with a suggestion of Joni Mitchell and Betty Carter and just a hint of Janis Joplin in the finish. Martin has a vision-oneness with all-and she promotes it with her lyrics. She cuts to the chase with little conversation, more Hemingway than Faulkner…demanding inventive recording that pays the listener dividends in the thoughtful consideration and insight.” — All About Jazz

“Documenting in text, music, staging, and sound quality the social genius of an artist once branded‘misguided and naïve’ by jazz critics, ABBEY! is the product of considerable scholarship and deliberative editing on Martin’s part. Her performance also documents a personal relationship across race and generation between two women who met briefly in DC and NY and shared one three-hour phone call in the middle of the night. Clearly from the way Lincoln’s words have haunted Martin’s body…listeners will enjoy the paradoxical experience of hearing an unapologetic white artist respectfully channel the strength and beauty of jazz music’s first black power diva.”

— Dr. Thomas Stanley, artist, author, and ethnomusicologist, review of “ABBEY!”

“Heidi Martin as a conjurer of the vocal and dramatic majesty of jazz legend Abbey Lincoln’s indomitable life force. Lincoln, heralded for her pioneering music, acting and civil rights activism, comes to life while Martin takes listeners through a series of affirming events and revelations, enveloped in gorgeous music and poignant history.” ~Sara Donnelly, Blue Surge Creative

“A deep enigma reveling in vulnerable openness. Singing some very, very personal experiences and emotions. You can almost see her heart pulsing. There is almost nothing here but voice and the barest cushion of music.

I went to her website and Googled for bio info but only came up with general statements. Brought up in DC. Studied with Grady Tate. Plays the DC area. But no real specifics. Not even a birth date. Nor any real insight about her career experiences other than she played some clubs, sang in church.

In this case, the absence of personal bio is intriguing precisely because there is obviously a lot more than meets the ear, than meets the eye. In fact, depending on your references, she hardly sounds like she looks, or looks like she sounds.

In her voice one hears a young someone laying it all bare for the world to stare at and pick over, or like Heidi perceptively says, if you’re telling the truth one word is worth a thousand pictures.

Heidi? What a name for a soul singer.

People who have written about her cite a bunch of influences, cite a plethora of folk she sounds like. I’ve yet to read the one she most calls to my mind. Another young-some, serious singer who came up out of DC, mixing jazz and soul with heartfelt stories and critical consciousness. Heidi doesn’t look anything like Roberta but stylistically she sure is very, very close to Ms. Flack, especially Roberta’s first couple of albums.

But Roberta is only a reference. Heidi is very much her own self and I’m responding to that sense of self on display even though I can’t tell you much about the specifics of that self.

What is very, very clear to me is that Heidi has thought deeply about the her self-identity and about her identification with black folk. She speaks and sounds from the inside, regardless of what she looks like (and, of course, we are wise enough to know that not only can looks be deceiving, but beyond deception, race is itself is no absolute indicator of culture and consciousness).
heidi martin 01.jpg
Heidi’s music is deeply grounded in the black experience. It’s anchored bone deep, so she doesn’t have to rely on showing her ass and singing booty songs to prove that she’s a sister.

I also really, really like her phrasing and how she uses the sound of her voice to augment the songs. Sometimes it’s not the words but the little moans, hums, croons and occasional hollers that uplift these songs to something you find yourself wanting to hear again. And again.

As a professional writer, I’m also attracted to the poetry of her lyrics. The casual way she is intelligent. Plus, she is has a gift for catchy melodies to go with her crafty wordsmithing. If Heidi stays with it, she may even become a great songwriter.

And finally, there is the great conundrum: how to make it without going corporate? How to get over at a time when the major record companies are going under? Even after coming across Heidi while trolling, it took me a minute to get ahold of her music. She has another album (I think it is an earlier album, it’s mostly covers) but I was interested in this one because she wrote all of the material. An acoustic album with sparse production in an electronic era when heavy production is de rigueur.

The range of her music is also another attraction for me. “Wanna Be”is in the romantic mold with enough of twist so that it moves way beyond moon/june. On the other hand, “Why Do I? Hide” is the kind of song one no longer hears on mainstream soul radio. Then there’s the social commentary of “Mayflower” juxtaposed with the personal histography of “My Father Left Us For The Moon.” Or listen to Heidi surveying the contemporary territory with songs like “ISM” and “Your Life.”

This is the kind of music that really deserves broad exposure and wide support. I hear people all the time talking about the absence of serious music, well, here’s some serious music. Support Heidi Martin. Order her music.

I’m hoping for more from Heidi Martin. More music. More info. But even if this is all we get, it’s a good getting.”

—Kalamu ya Salaam, Review of HIDE

“My fana fi Allah” (c)2016
A collection of poetry and photographs from my journey traveling in Morocco 2009, 2013 and 2015.

except from fana:

“fana”

I wanted to see the moon
while he was there
with me
I told him wait til i can look out the window…

…….you’ll see a slice of it, if it’s not cloudy
it’s still the begining of the Arabic month

(I am still seeking a sliver of reflection)

last night
I looked out alone
he may never know
I saw a slice of the moon
I saw it
as
a first time
as his spirit is on mine
light is eternal
no matter the shape in which it resides
light is not the limit of what we can see of it
light is not measured by the distance it covers on a body in space
light is not the measure if we can get to the window and look out
was it last night?
more than a sliver of hope
is killing me now?
am I waxing or waning
I can get them confused
isn’t that what loving does?
I’m just dying of another love again this lifetime, yet becoming more lovingly alive too
thru coming thru thru me thru u
you are so beautiful, I can not stop…
yes please let me speak of love ramble, flowing over, gushing til you think I am just
full of it
that I can become
as the moon
someone’s else’s new…

or
now come to the glass
lean toward…
your seeking…
look out…
see this light
is eternal
the way I reflect you
and don’t measure
because in no way can this be of measure
as the sun and moon are too/two, rise and shine on each other too
cycling, orbiting, eclipsing stationary spin on each other

the same
me and you within
each other
We are
Formless
In each other informing each other of ourselves

MAY 22nd 6pm
CAPITOLBOP CONCERT & FUNDRAISER
Heidi Martin Trio
Featuring KRIS FUNN on Bass & Colin Chambers on Piano.

JUNE 25th 6pm – 8pm
PETWORTH PROJECT “Jazz in the Park” NW, DC
Heidi Martin & Moon in Scorpio
features:
Kris Funn on Bass
Colin Chambers on Piano
John Lamkin on Drums
Herb Scott on Alto Sax

JULY 7th 5pm
CARROLL PARK, Baltimore, MD
5pm – 7:30pm
Heidi Martin & Moon in Scorpio
features:
Kris Funn on Bass
Colin Chambers on Piano
John Lamkin on Drums
Herb Scott on Alto Sax

I am the creator of Music 2Little Ears; school wide enrichment for two pre-schools in the DMV area. Gofundme for our Album updates:
https://www.gofundme.com/Music2LittleEars

Music 2 Little Ears ™
Sound Education for pre school children, where a rich sensory environment is music to little ears…
As far back as the first comforting lullabies that loving Mothers have sung to their babes, we know music has a profound effect on our children. Scientists have proven: music in early childhood enhances cognitive, language, social and emotional development. Despite the findings of science, the sheer enjoyment of music is obvious to anyone who observes children singing and dancing. Music 2 Little Ears is a committed reliable resource of enrichment and arts integration for pre-schools.

Music 2 Little Ears Creative Director has combined a unique collection of songs and stories. We’ve kept in mind the varying approaches i.e. Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, Reggio Emilia to name a few; that are at the top of the class in teaching little people. We aim to uphold the value of arts integration with music being the support to your weekly themes and daily lesson plans. Expect our patience, respectful communication and understanding for children and teachers from all religious and cultural backgrounds in each class. We provide Instruments, music and all the enthusiasm! We encourage children to freely express themselves in movement, singing, percussion instruments, puppets and scarves. Our success is engaging children from infants to 5 years of age to participate in their own joyous experience of the music. With an extensive repertoire of songs teaching colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet, language pronunciation, community social behavior, body parts and emotions. When Children sing and dance to music from different genres, countries and eras; they cultivate skills in the elements of general music and gain an appreciation for various cultures.

I teach beginner Ukelele with “Uke’s on the Move” every Tues. from 3:30 to 5:30pm at Revels in S.S., Md.

I teach private voice and classical piano (Eckstein Method) for children and adults in my studio in Takoma Park or in home lessons contact: heidimartinmusic@hotmail.com