Tuesday, 26 April 2011

CHRIS MARTIN Exclusive: The star opens up about artistic growth, being young in the reggae industry, and his special friendship with Ce’Cile

FLYING SOLO: "You have to focus on the goals ahead, and that’s what I do," says Martin.

His polished vocals and chiselled physique continuosuly elicit screams from a legion of female fans, but what’s most appealing about singer Chris Martin these days is the maturity he’s displaying as his fast-growing career propels him to new heights, winning him new admirers as far away as Africa and Europe. With a hot new single flying up the charts and a sophomore album in the works, the 24-year-old takes time to reflect on his journey, signal where he’s headed – and speak on, for the first time, his relationship with Ce’Cile.

Word is Chris Martin is a big deal in the Motherland, but especially in Kenya, where people sing your songs perfectly.
It’s all been great love. My songs have been doing well and opening a lot of doors over there. But “Paper Lovin” is the track that really kicked down the doors. I was named the Best Reggae Artiste in Kenya for 2010, so it goes to show the kind of love we are getting. Reggae is buzzing in Africa.

It’s admirable how you’ve grown tremendously as a solo artiste since 2005.
Absolutely. And I feel really good about my growth. I would be ungrateful if I felt otherwise. I feel blessed, and I just continue to put a lot of effort in writing my songs and my performances. I am happy with my career right now, and I love where it’s going.

Still, at 24, you’re a pretty young entertainer in the business. What challenges do you face as a young artiste and how do you meet them?
As it relates to my career, I wouldn’t say there are any challenges. You just have to focus on the goals ahead, and that’s what I do. All the time I try to put my best foot forward. I think that for me it’s good to be young because it gives me more time to work on my craft. I am my own boss, so I determine how much I get out of this. You have to work hard.

Your catchy new single “Paper Lovin” addresses women who primarily enter relationships for financial gain. Did you draw inspiration for the song from your real life?
[The song] is based on a real-life experience, but it’s not based on my life. You have girls, attractive girls, who are around only for what they can gain when things are going good for the man. So that’s what the song is talking about. But it relates to friends and family too, not just women, because you need people to be there for you, to support you, not just when the times are good.

So your ideal lady must be…
God-fearing and understand herself. She also has to be understanding of my career. She must be able to represent me in public if I am unable to attend an event, for instance. Plus, she must have the physical attributes that we men like.

Speaking of women, any truth to the romance rumours that link you with dancehall bad gyal Ce’Cile?
Ce’Cile and I are very close. She’s a female that I check for. She’s a good friend, someone who has also been helping me with my career. We write songs together, go to the movies together.

That’s so sweet. What impresses you the most about her?
She’s a wonderful person, sweet, kind, very selfless. She puts other people’s feelings above hers. She takes care of people, and that’s one of the things I really respect about her.

So you are keeping the relationship strictly platonic for now.
Yeah, right now we are close friends, but you never know what can happen. Let’s wait and see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed (Laughs).

What’s next for you this year?
I’m working on my second album right now; it’s about 90 per cent complete. And I’m still recording new songs and working on perfecting my craft to bring more to the fans because I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Finally, I have to ask you about that haircut. It has an old-school feel meets futuristic vibe going on.
My barber always gives me a new style, and I like to try new looks because my head goes with almost any haircut. I had a mohawk before, but we decided to shave the back and keep the high top. This one we call the Johnny Bravo style (Laughs). My barber is getting a lot of new business because of it.

Watch Martin keep it grown-and-sexy in his latest clip, "Paper Lovin":

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