Nothing gets me hyped than seeing someone from the Bay succeed so excuse of while we take a moment to give a huge shout out to up-and-coming artist Marteen. He just signed with Warner Bros. Records and released your new guilty pleasure song “Sriracha.” Trust us. Try NOT to sing a lyric from this track next time you got a bottle of sriracha in your hands.
Fortunately, I had a chance to chat with Marteen to talk about his rise to fame, what it was like signing to Warner Bros., and, of course, what food he he likes to add sriracha on!
The Young Folks: How did you know that music was the industry/career path you wanted to officially pursue? How did you go and make your dream become a reality?
Marteen: I always loved music, but to be honest, singing kinda just happened. I played baseball for 5 yrs and thought I wanted to play in the MLB. I was good at fielding, but I wasn’t a great hitter, so it probably wouldn’t have worked out lol. But that’s what I wanted for the longest time. When I was twelve I kinda randomly sang something on a vine with my cousin one day, and so many people made good comments about me. It made me feel like maybe I could sing, and I decided to do a video on my IG the next day. My interest in singing kinda grew from there, and labels started to reach out to me through my Instagram after a couple months. It’s pretty crazy, cause it all happened so naturally. I woulda never believed you back then if you told me I’d be here now. I love it though, I couldn’t see myself wanting to do anything else now. I’m hella grateful I get to pursue this.
TYF: Major props to you for moving up from within the Bay. I admire that so much. For those hustling and aspiring to be where you are today, what advice do you give to them? Now that you’re in LA, what’s something you miss from the Bay that you wish was in LA?
Marteen: Thank you! I would say that you need to be motivated to do this more than anything else, otherwise it’s really hard. You have to be ok with people telling you no, and you have to believe in yourself even when no one else does. You also have to take advantage of the internet to market yourself. If no one can find your music, it’s hard to gain fans. So many people are getting discovered on the internet now, you gotta use it. I will say though that if you work hard and have something people like, you will find the right people along the way to help you, you just gotta grind it out.
What I probably miss most about the Bay when I’m not there is the people and culture. We take for granted how dope the people and the culture of the Bay Area are, but we really got something special.
TYF: What motivated you to publish songs on Instagram back in middle school? Usually, it’s super nerve wracking to put your own stuff out in the web. Were you hesitant at first or did you dive in not really caring what others thought?
Marteen: I was a little nervous cause I was pretty shy back then, but it was also something I wanted to do. For some reason I wasn’t really thinking about what people would think about it.
TYF: How do you deal with criticism – whether it be within the industry or from feedback via social media?
Marteen: I think it always comes down to knowing the difference between opinion and preference, and good input. Everyone has an opinion and a preference, but few people take time to really try and understand you and give good input. If it’s coming from someone I know gets me and what I’m doing, I’ll listen and see if I agree. If it’s not, I don’t really pay it much attention. I think it helps that I’m really confident and know who I am and what I like, cause I can tell the difference based on what they’re critiquing me on. As far as social media trolls, most of the time I feel bad for the them, cause I feel like you gotta be pretty miserable if you could be doing anything with your life, and you’re choosing to be on someone’s page you don’t know, telling them what you don’t like about them. But a lot of people are lost and in pain, I know that, and I try to have compassion for them. This stuff comes with being in the public eye though, and you have to be able to deal with it to do it.
TYF: Ever since you’ve been creating your own music to signing to Warner Bros., what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far that you wish you knew before? What was it like for you to get signed to a huge record deal?
Marteen: I would say that you have to have patience, cause this really doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve learned a lot, but that’s one of the biggest things. Patience and persistence are key. As far as my deal, I’m hella hyped. To be this young and to have a huge label like Warner believe in me the way they do, and want me to be myself, it’s a dream come true. I’m really excited for the future. We’re about to make some noise.
TYF: Congrats on the release of the video for “Sriracha”! Loved the feel of it. Did you already envision giving some love to the Bay and the hyphy movement? How’d you decide exactly where you wanted to film (in Oakland versus in Berkeley, etc.)?
Marteen: Well my dad directed it and helped me come up with the idea. Since I’m from the Bay, I wanted to make sure I represented that, and I feel like the hyphy movement was an iconic time period for the Bay, so we wanted to have an element from that time in the video. We filmed it in West Oakland – the industrial vibe is cool with the freeways and graffiti.
TYF: What’s the songwriting process like for you? What do you do to get into your “zone” of writing lyrics?
Marteen: It’s always a little different, sometimes it starts with a concept, sometimes it starts with a melody. I usually lay down melodies first though, and then write lyrics to them. Sometimes they come at the same time. I’ve also gotten a chance to work with a lot of talented writers, so I learn more and more everyday about writing songs. As far as getting in the zone, good energy and beats that excite me… That’s what puts me there.
TYF: Speaking of Sriracha, what is your favorite meal/food you like to add Sriracha on top of the most?
Marteen: Fried rice
TYF: Just thinking about the near future… What do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2017? What about by the end of 2018?
Marteen: By the end of this year I want to release a couple more songs and visuals. I also want be touring the country even more. I have a few big shows that I’m excited about coming up that I haven’t announced yet. By the end of next year, I want to release a multi platinum selling project and have several hit songs on the billboard charts. I want to be touring the world, and living happy and good with all my friends and family.