Martha L. Healy is a country singer songwriter from Glasgow in Scotland. We first met with her band 2 years ago at C2C in London and were determined to catch up with her again. That happened this March at Country On The Clyde. She opened the show on sunday morning. We sent her this interview afterwards. All photo's credited to Ian Morrall at Forever British Country.
Keren - How long have you been writing and performing country music?
Martha - I've been singing since I was a child but I started performing in my early 20s, so that's over 15 years ago now. Country has always been a major influence in my writing and I've always veered towards country/Americana style of writing.
Keren - If you could invite the people who have influenced you in your music career to a dinner party, who would you invite?
Martha - Great question! So I'd have all of the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Patsy Cline, Sheryl Crow, Dolly Parton and The Travelling Wilburys. I reckon we'd have some great chat.
Keren - If you were to take one well known song and put your own country twist on it, which song would you choose?
Martha - I don't want to give too much away but I am currently working on a country version of a 80s Madonna tune and I've been known to do my own "country" version of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down". I love that song, it's a total anthem and I play it loud whenever I feel life is getting on top of me.
Keren - If you had the chance of performing anywhere in the world, Where would your dream venue be?
Martha - I feel very lucky to have played at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and some of the town's great songwriting haunts. The two venues I dream of playing are The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and Red Rocks in Colorado. I've been lucky enough to sit on the stage of The Opry and watch my producer, David Spicher, play bass on that stage and Red Rocks looks like the most stunning, natural place to play.
Keren - What excites you about the British country scene?
Martha - I am very excited that we actually HAVE a country scene here in the UK. For years, I searched for a place to fit in and I didn't really know how and when, but I always believed country and roots music would have a resurgence. I am so happy that has happened in my lifetime and in the midst of my career. To see the success of festivals such as Country 2 Country/Country On The Clyde/Red Rooster/The Long Road/Southern Fried - this all shows such an appetite for great songwriting and performing. It's a very exciting time!
Keren - The British country music scene is growing fast. Each artist having their own take on what country music is to them.
How do feel that our music stands up against the music coming out of America at the moment?
Martha - I lean towards the more traditional and roots side of Country. First and foremost, I am a singer-songwriter and it will always be about the songs for me. I love what Kacey Musgraves is doing and I love Ashley Monroe and Chris Stapleton and lots of the current Americana artists like Caroline Spence and Nikki Lane. I genuinely don't believe there is much difference in the sense that we are all just trying to make music that means stuff to people and that we are proud of. Of course, country was born in America but all of the influences started out as Scottish, Irish and English folk music so we are not so unlike each other. Personally, I am not so much a fan of the more pop side of country on either side of the Atlantic, but I still respect bands for doing what they love. I feel our music 100% stands up and should be celebrated.
Keren - Where do you see British country music in 5 years time?
Martha - I hope it goes from strength to strength and I hope it is nurtured more in the future. We need to keep looking at our homegrown talent, too, and not being so obsessed with the idea that "if it's American, it must be great".....We should shout more about our talent and more opportunities for funding and creative development in music, in general, could help us ensure it goes from strength to strength.
Keren - Do you think you will be more accepted in 5 years, when you say you are a British country music artist?
Martha - I don't think about this too much. I think I am already accepted in what I do. I've never been embarrassed to be country and I never will be. If people don't get it, I'm fine with that. The industry needs strong musicians, writers and personalities to drive it forward and I don't think anyone should wait 5 years to be accepted.
Keren - Where can we find you on social media?
Martha - I am on Instagram as @marthalhealy1