Martin and James

Martin and James

 Glasgow, Scotland, GBR

Martin & James are the Glasgow born duo of Martin Kelly and James O’Neill. They write beautiful songs in the grand tradition of The Beatles, The Stones and Crowded House. For fans of melody and the sound of two male voices working together in a way that hasn’t been heard since Simon & Garfunkel.


It’s been a busy couple of years for Martin Kelly and James O’Neill. Since coming to the attention of Universal Germany in 2008, the Scottish duo have relocated to Berlin and toured constantly across the continent, in support of bands such as Razorlight, The Stereophonics, Simply Red, Amy Macdonald, Ellie Goulding, James Morrison, One Republic, Scouting For Girls, The Fray, Lissie, Ingrid Michaelson, Bryan Adams and Milow. Their style of songwriting, with both singing lead and harmonies, has made many well-known songwriters eager to work with them. Since they started recording in Hamburg at the end of that year, they have sat down with writers such as Albert Hammond and Fran Healy.
The first fruit of the Hamburg sessions, the ‘Bad Dream’ EP, featured collaboration with Snow Patrol writer Iain Archer. It was a largely acoustic set fleshed out with old school percussion and effects that highlighted their harmonies and picking style. “The studio in Hamburg (Clouds Hill Studios) had these really old microphones from the forties. It was great being surrounded by old equipment; they had a mixing desk that used to belong to George Martin. It makes the recording process feel a bit more special when you’re in those surroundings“ say the pair, who recorded over 25 songs, both for their debut album and to create cds to sell at gigs.
Their second EP ‘Wrong Directions’ was also deceptively simple and built on the pair’s ability to write haunting hooks and lyrics awash in filmic textures, but also featured the first signs of a move into a full band set-up. “As a duo we are able to do all of these supports and we’d like to do this as long as we possibly can but we are really looking forward to touring with our own band”.
Martin and James have been singing together since 1999, playing in the usual spiral of bands that never made it, almost had a deal or fell apart. Throughout that long haul it has been the strength of their songwriting and playing partnership that has got them through. They have written hundreds of songs together and the ability to communicate the strength and simplicity of these songs live has seen them build an army of loyal fans, who actively support and promote the band, organizing special shows and events. ‘2010 has been a really exciting year for us, probably the most eventful one we've ever had. The reaction we have received from playing live has genuinely blown us away at times’ say the pair. “We’ve played some really big stages and supported some massive bands we didn’t think we would ever even meet. Going onstage in front of such big crowds just the two of us, made it even more nerve racking.”
2011 looks set to be another exciting year for Martin and James. The arrival of their debut self-titled album on Universal Germany will mark a move into the full band sound, headline tours with MLK Touring, and the inevitable round of special events and promotions that have made them so popular with their fans. “As this is our first proper release of a full album, of course we hope people will connect with it. We have toured all over Europe for the last two years building a following for our music. Now we get to give those people a full album. It’s exciting. We’re looking forward to playing some of our own shows, and trying out things we don’t get to do in a shorter support set.”

For more songs, upcoming shows and videos please have a look on or



Crashing Into Love

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

I've got the headlights on
To see the sense in front of me
But where did I go wrong
I woke up far away and it
Seems I cant beg my eyes to stay
Awake anymore
Crashing into love
With no help from above
Tell me baby
Is it your name I call

I hear the cries around
I don't know how I'm going to pray
How I'm going to pray
I feel this heavy weight on me
But I'm locked in
The gas is on
Then I go
Then I go

Crashing into love
With no help from above
Tell me baby
Is it your name I call
I'm on top of you
And I'm taking your last breath\par
Tell me baby
Is it your name I call
Oh Oh Oh

Broken Sword

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

There's no time, no time
To answer all the questions in your mind,
Nothing will belong to what you find,
There's no way, no way
To echo all the things you want to say,
Nothings gonna change for you today,

And i've just got to say,
And i've just got to say,
I'm just a broken sword
I'm just a broken sword

There's no one, no one
No other that can take me in your arms, your arms,
And silence all the noise that is this world,
This world,

And i've just got to say, (things that you never said),
And i've just got to say,
I'm just a broken sword
I'm just a broken sword

Little Bits of Light

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

I can't see it your way, you can't see it my way please,
Maybe we're too close to see,
Open up and let it be, All that it can be
Sometimes, just a little bit of light,
Little bit of light, little bit of light,
Is what I need
You shut down your borders,
Close your eyes and throw your words around,
When everything gets hard to take,
You dissappear and hide away,
And hope you wont be found,
Sometimes, just a little bit of light

Bad Dream

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

The radio is playing and children on the street are shouting names
The night is set on fire, electricity is running through Its veins
But they don’t see the flames
Just a lion to be tamed
An evil to be shamed
It’s just a bad dream, or is it
All has turned to black as my eyes are filled with tears no-one sees
The siren blasts a sound so loud my head shuts down, I’m forced upon my knees
The air can’t take a breath
A burned out wedding dress
Why us in this mess
It’s just a bad dream, or is it

Devils in the Doorway

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

Fires wait to be tamed, the guilty wait for pardon,
Signals waiting to change their colours,
Lovers stand in the rain, in fear of being parted,
Time moves on like a train for us,
And we go, on and on in our way,
And we go, on and on in our own way,
Lights up ahead and the devils in the doorway,
Find some faith, and take it home
Ships that broke from their chains, are back to where they started,
Oceans wait to be drained, oh no,
Why can't we be automatic,
Why can't we be automatic,
Why can't we be automatic,
And we go, on and on in our way,
And we go, on and on in our own way,
Lights up ahead and the devils in the doorway,
Find some faith, and bring it home

She's Light Guiding

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

She is in control to change channels in my head,
All the words I know fail to find me,
Knights stripped of their armour, lay down and play dead,
Giving all the have to hide behind her,
Oh, she is light guiding, she is light guiding me
Making her own history, moving in her way,
Blowing like a force, too strong to face it,
Wrapped up in her mystery, shackled by a faith,
Everyday brings something new to pray for,
Oh, she is light guiding, she is light guiding me

Wrong Directions

Written By: Martin Kelly/James O'Neill

You roll your eyes to the sky, I close mine
You ask your questions why, I don't mind

I know I’m moving in the wrong directions,
Oh no, making all the wrong connections,

You lay your tracks on the ground, and follow them 'round
I'll build my house in the sand, 'till the waves knock it down

I know I’m moving in the wrong directions,
making all the wrong connections,

They say that love is a sound
And it follows you 'round, follows you 'round
They say that sound is a drug, and I can't get enough,
I can't get enough, I can't get enough
Oh no, it's not enough to say I’m sorry


EP "BAD DREAM" (2009):
Label: Vertigo/Universal

Set List

She's light Guiding (Martin and James)
Wheels (Martin and James)
Crashing Into Love (Martin and James)
I was Blind (Martin and James)
Little Bits of Light (Martin and James)
Bad Dream (Martin and James)
I have to Fall (Martin and James)
All over the News (Martin and James)
Live Wires Above (Martin and James)