Rebecca Martin

Rebecca Martin


Ms. Martin is a fresh jazz singer set loose in folk-pop, or vice versa; you never quite know which. With a clear, accurate voice and the instincts of a natural, she gets to the heart of songs quickly…" Ben Ratliff, THE NEW YORK TIMES


Rebecca Martin
People Behave Like Ballads

Cut and paste this link to view Rebecca's ECARD from MAXJAZZ:

“When I look out in the audience from the stage and see a person in touch with something true, I know the music is doing what it should be a public service.”

In the beginning, bards went from village to village, bringing folks the news of the day with their ballads. The oldest Anglo-Saxon term for this singer of words was “scop,” which means “shaper.” In other words, it was up to the balladeer to “shape the world” for those who cared to listen. Not all of those Medieval songs were about battles, about castles lost and kings dying. There were also songs that spoke of love and hope, of life and death, of joy and despair. In a harsh world, “Carpe diem” or “Seize the day,” became a favorite motif. Listening to the words of the traveling bard, any common villager, any man or woman or child would soon realize that they were not alone with their feelings, that others had the same thoughts hidden in their hearts and minds.

That’s how it started, with music as a public service. And yet, down through the years, and with the advent of technology and marketing, music often loses the purity those early storytellers - those “shapers”- meant it to have. In the new millennium, we seem to have forgotten what it was all about in the first place. Rebecca Martin is one who remembers: “Music should be a public service.”

Rebecca left her native Rumford Point, Maine, behind and made the big move to New York City in the spring of 1990. It was there that she met and formed a band with a musician and songwriter named Jesse Harris. They called the band Once Blue, and what happened next was one of those too-good-to-be-true show business sagas. In 1995, Davitt Sigerson, the newly-named president of EMI Records, had just left a nightclub in the city and was headed home. When he noticed an EMI limousine parked in front of the venue next door, he decided to drop in, see if anything special was happening. Something was: Rebecca Martin was on stage that night. When Sigerson heard her sing, he approached the stage and signed them on the spot.

The group’s self-titled debut drew rave reviews, and before long Rebecca and the band was touring with Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris, The Lilith Fair, and others. Unfortunately, a 1997 restructuring of EMI’s parent company incorporated EMI Records into Virgin and Capitol Records and Once Blue became a part of history. Jesse Harris went on to write songs for other artists and last year, won a GRAMMY for his song, “I Don’t Know Why,” which was recorded by Norah Jones.

While the big city might be the place to work and perform, after ten years there, it was no longer the kind of life Rebecca craved. So she packed up and headed upstate, back to those small-town sensibilities she had left behind in Maine. With nature and animals and the best people around her, Martin began to concentrate again on matters of heart and soul. By 1998, she had written and produced a solo recording, Thoroughfare, and soon after was signed again to a label, this time with Fresh Sounds/New Talent (Barcelona, Spain).

In 2002 when she released a collection of standards she produced titled Middlehope, it was selected by THE NEW YORK TIMES for its annual Top Ten Best Jazz Albums of the year. That she was an artist who couldn’t be pigeonholed became obvious to the critics who praised her work. “This is a fresh jazz singer set loose in folk-pop, or vice versa; you never quite know which...and both sides of the equation come out well,” wrote NEW YORK TIMES’ music critic Ben Ratliff. “Her soprano voice recalls the range Joni Mitchell had in her younger years,” he added. In another of the many rave reviews Middlehope garnered, critic Phil DiPietro wrote that Rebecca Martin “is an incredible talent, a remarkable spirit, a true artist of substance.”

It was Middlehope that got the attention of Richard McDonnell, the founder of MAXJAZZ Records. McDonnell came to a New York City showcase on a summer afternoon last June and expecting to hear standards, was surprised to discover Martin had written all of her material. After performing some of those original songs for McDonnell that day, Martin was offered a contract to record for MAXJAZZ, a respected jazz label that had begun branching out to singer/songwriters.

The result is the newly released People Behave Like Ballads, a genre-bending collection that will come as no surprise to Rebecca’s fans. She has always cast aside labeling. “I don’t believe categories serve the fans well,” she says. “Categories are marketing tools, and don’t lend themselves to creative expression. That expression is important to me and encouraged me to sign with MAXJAZZ.”

With People Behave Like Ballads, Rebecca Martin explores the human condition, its relationships, its strengths and its vulnerabilitie


Here The Same But Different

Written By: Rebecca Martin/Steve Cardenas

Even if you choose to go
On your seperate way
I'm hoping you'll be back
Here the same but different.

Colder bodies colder still
Swollen in the morning
I remember watching you
Wake into your sorrow

Helpless there I'd try to keep you
Safe from what's inside
Way down where I couldn't reach you
To rest for just a while

Will you ever come to trust
In the passing time
So they'll be room for both of us
Here the same but different.

I'd Like To Think It's Coming

Written By: Rebecca Martin

If your love is meant for me
What are the questions for?
When love has come to me before
What makes yours unique?

I'd jump through this open door
If I had your word
When everything
comes crashing down
My voice could still be heard.

Is that too much of me to ask of you?
Are you just another passing through?
To be loved as much as I can love
I'd like to think it's coming.

A Million Miles

Written By: Rebecca Martin

I asked you how
Your love would change in
A million miles
A hundred years
A single day

Gentle and kind
He took my hand,
“This love is old
Traveled and sewn
What’s past
What’s forward
My heart is yours.”

The silvery night
will pass
just like the last one.

What’s yours is mine
this sun
the moon
and stars.
hang over head
like an ancient muse

I don’t know why
it took this long to
find your face
in the crowd
no matter, love
I’ve found you now


- Top 10 AAA Radio
- AAA Radio
MIDDLEHOPE (Fresh Sound)
- #30 on the JAZZ Charts
- New release. Formats include: JAZZ, AAA, COLLEGE and AMERICANA.

Set List

Rebecca performs mostly originals, but continues to work on new arrangements of standards with her band; that include many snaky, melodious and obscure compositions. A sample of a recent set:

BORN TO BE BLUE (Standard)
ZINGARO (Standard)