Marte
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Marte

Fairfield, California, United States

Fairfield, California, United States
Band Alternative Acoustic

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From the time he started playing cover songs in coffee houses, joined by a group of his close friends, Russell Martelaro and his guitar have been on a mission.

His solo shows in downtown Vacaville soon received a venue change when Martellaro headed to Chico State and was joined by a buddy to become a duet. That project parlayed itself into a full band called Standard, that received some radio airplay regionally.

But when Martellaro returned home to the Bay Area, it was just him and his guitar. In fact, he soon wrote enough solo material to return to the stage for a show in Davis. After his set, he was greeted by a group of prospective fans who were in search of an album they could buy. He was caught empty-handed and right then made a promise to himself.

"I said 'Screw this. I'm not doing another show until I have a CD,'" said Martellaro, who sat down with Fringe over a massive burger at Nation's.

Martellaro made a decision. He would use his digital equipment, computer and self-taught skills in his own lab to create a full-length CD. Nearly two years after he set out to do it, the album is finished, titled "You and You Alone," and a release party has been set up on April 19 at Sophia's in Sacramento.

That party will be a far stretch from his old days in coffee shops. Starting out covering a lot of Dave Matthews Band and other popular artists aren't his fondest memories, however Martellaro said it was what he needed to get a start. "It was ridiculous," he said. "But if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be here."

The album features a mix of love songs (sorry ladies, he got engaged earlier this year) and some darker feelings. His voice is smooth and pretty even for most of the tracks, but has the ability to alter his delivery when changing in and out of choruses. It’s the kind of record you can throw on in the background while entertaining a lady friend and it even makes a nice sound track for driving through the back roads.

He said in the past he would record himself while singing and playing and then clean it up later. This time around, he said he recorded his music, then went back and added the vocals.

The whole process of singing, playing and recording on his own is pretty impressive for a guy who’s only training came on the trumpet. However, he said the trumpet and singing uses similar throat muscles, which he said helped him while perfecting his voice.

"Holding those high notes, it's the same thing," he said.

With a solo career in the works, a name needed to be born as well. With a long Italian last name that gets butchered often he had to come up with something short and sweet. He finally settled on Marte (pronounced Marty), a family nickname. Although it has no accent mark, he said people usually want to fancy it up by pronouncing it Mar-tay.

"I don't have a very marketable name. I wanted something that was one or two syllables," he said. "I put a lot of thought into it. It was not easy."

So with his 15-song album, of which a handful of songs are old Standard tunes turned into solos, Martellaro said he is creating a foundation for his career. With the album, a press kit and a few interviews along the way, he said he’s going to give it a solid shot, even if he is trying to break into the business at age 28. "It's tough to make it in the commercial world. It's hard," he said. "This is my last chance. I'm on that edge."

Knowing that breaking into the business as a solo artist may be tough, Martellaro said creating the album is a big step and will be something he cherishes if he makes it or not.

"I'm very proud of this," he said. "If I had to quit today, it would be fine. I have this to remember."

Looking back on his time with a band, he said he pulled a lot from those experiences. Much of the music is the same, but as writer of both music and lyrics, Martellaro said he has total control over content and organization.

"Something didn't feel right and I had to go my own way," he said. "It wasn’t an ego thing. At least I hope it wasn't. I love the idea of a band, the friendship and family, but right now I've been building it by myself."

Find out more about Marte at www.marte.mu and www.myspace.com/martemusic - Fringe Magazine


Discography

Marte - You & You Alone (2008)

01. The Reason.......................4:39
02. Shadows On the Wall ........3:40
03. Waste...............................3:36
04. Frame Of Mind..................5:02
05. Fade Away........................5:45
06. Domesticate......................3:50
07. Unsaid..............................4:58
08. Where I Am......................3:46
09. Round And Round.............4:11
10. Outside From Inside..........4:46
11. Persevere.........................3:31
12. Look In Your Eyes.............4:19
13. Endlessly Awaiting.............5:11
14. Means...............................4:11
15. See You One Day...............3:20

Standard - Promise (2005)

01. Means...............................4:33
02. Frame Of Mind...................5:09
03. One More Time..................4:47
04. Promise.............................4:42
05. Imperfect..........................5:41
06. Someday...........................4:42
07. Where I Am.......................3:50
**Means - Daily Radio Airplay 107.9 The Point, Chico's Alternative
**One More Time - Daily Radio Airplay 107.9 The Point, Chico's Alternative

Photos

Bio

It was in 1989, when 8 year old Russell Martellaro was first introduced to the guitar. Once he reached high school, his appreciation for other types of music helped lay a deep foundation for inspiration. In 1999, he performed his first solo show at a small cafe in down town Vacaville, CA.

In 2000 he attended Chico State University. It was there that he found three other like-musicians and formed the band Standard. From 2001-2005, the band performed at various locations around Chico and the Bay Area. Standard self produced the album "Promise" in 2003 and the cd was a great success around the college town. The single "Means" caught the attention of Reagent Communication, the alternative rock radio station 107.9 The Point, and managed to stay on regular rotation for years. However, due to differences, the band decided to break up.

After moving back to the Bay Area, Russell began the process of writing, recording and producing his first solo album. The album would include newly written songs, as well as songs written at the beginning of his musical career. "You & You Alone" took a little over a year to complete and was released in early 2008. The album is a collection of songs that show diverse musical ability and his maturity as a songwriter.

Today, Russell continues to captivate audiences under the name Marte around Northern California. On occasion his good friend/guitarist Brian Armstrong of Los Angeles will perform along side him.