Lana Martino-Smith
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Lana Martino-Smith

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Band Blues Folk

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Album Review - Cinderella Sings The Blues (Jan 07 - Australia)"

Brimming with the kind of stuff blues legends are made of, this debut EP from the über-talented Brisbane songstress is nothing short of a masterwork from someone who clearly was born to the mic. Driven by a mesmerising rhythm section and accentuated by moaning guitar work, Martino-Smith literally bleeds her sometimes sweet, often guttural vocal onto the disc. The incredibly convincing delivery of ‘Crippled Heart Blues’ will break your heart while you can also smell the cigar smoke on the whisky-soaked ‘Moanin’’. The piano-driven balladry of ‘Nowhere At All’ rounds off proceedings on a different note but perfectly closes what can only be described as magnificent. If Martino-Smith’s live set is half as good as her debut, then we’re gonna lose this girl. (BP)
- Time Off Magazine


"Sharny Russell"

"Lana's beautiful voice effortlessly covers the full spectrum - from vulnerable little girl, through strong and sultry, to driving, wailing blues! This CD articulates deeply the sense of loss and emptiness that many feel."
- Jazz Singer, ABC Music Recording Artist & APRA Award Winner (Australia)


Discography

"Cinderella Sings the Blues" - EP release through Kitten Kong Records, distributed through MRA Entertainment

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

When Lana Martino-Smith packed her bags and left her friends, family and the better half of a law degree in sunny North Queensland to pursue a career in music, she had no idea that in just a few short years her leap of faith would be vindicated by a 2oo6 Churchill Fellowship and a debut release that would be distributed across the country.

Recently returning to Australia after 5 weeks in New York and LA courtesy of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, she is now promoting her debut EP “Cinderella Sings the Blues”, released on local indie label, Kitten Kong Records, and distributed nationally through MRA Entertainment.

“It all started as a low key experiment so I could get some recording experience before doing my “real” album, but I was so happy with the songs when I heard them that I blew the budget, hired the best people I could, and recorded them for real. This is what we ended up with.”

Aided by a Brisbane City Council Creative Sparks Grant and co-produced by OJ Newcomb (Afro-Dizzi-Act/Band of Frequencies) and Jeff Lovejoy (Black Box Studios), “Cinderella” details a journey of lost pride, lost love and ultimate self-realization, themes that have characterized Lana’s journey thus far. Elegant in its delivery of an edgy mix of jazz, blues and folk influences, the music is powerful and emotive, with a hint of the fragility that so often dwells behind a tough exterior.

“The title comes from my waitressing days in the functions department of a major hotel. Every night I would be waiting on tables of rich, beautiful people, in designer clothes, with seemingly perfect lives, and I just remember feeling like Cinderella, watching everyone at a ball that I would never ever go to. Of course, in hindsight, their lives weren’t perfect, they just had money, but at that time, in my naivety, they looked happy and fulfilled, and that’s what I was longing for. I wanted to do something that I loved. So one day, I woke up and booked a singing lesson, and everything, literally, went from there.”

After booking that first lesson, Lana pursued a few short years of musical training before being accepted to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Experimenting across a wide range of musical styles and personas, trying anything from pseudo-metal to pop diva, it was when her pre-existing love of old school rock became fused with her study of jazz and improvisation at the Conservatorium that she finally found a home in blues and roots.

“All along I’ve just want to make music that’s real and raw and honest, music that grows and develops with me and the musicians that I play with, and I feel like I’ve found a place where I can do that.”

Her journey from law student to songstress has translated into a unique vocal sound that combines the warmth and richness of jazz with the grittiness of the blues. With influences like Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters and Bob Dylan, Lana’s music combines jazz, blues, folk, groove and gospel, driven by the arresting sounds of a superlative rhythm section and directed by the considered, emotionally charged lyrics, which reflect her insightfulness as a writer and the deep well of personal experience that she draws from.

And where is Cinderella now? “I guess you could say I’m officially “at the ball”. I found what I love and I’m doing it, and even though it’s not always easy, and it doesn’t really look quite how I expected, that in itself is really fabulous.”