Martone was born on June 23rd in Lansing, Michigan as Martone Lynell Williams. He is an EDM, R&B and House music artist. At the age of thirteen, the youngest person to enroll in Continental Cablevision’s Pulic Access Producers course he created, produced and hosted Video Control, a music video program that was broadcasted on the public access network. By its third year, the show became syndicated and could be seen in major cities like New York City, Phoenix, and Cincinnati. In the show’s decade long run, Martone interviewed rising stars, Will Smith, Queen Latifah, En Vogue, Vanilla Ice, and Public Enemy. In April of 2007, Martone officially founded Enotram Entertainment, Inc. serving as the creative hub for all of his multimedia productions. Currently producing his latest album, “Erogenous Zone”, Martone gave us some insight into his world.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Martone: 10 years plus. I started out on a cable show as a video jockey. I always wanted to sing and perform professionally. I finally got the courage when my dad passed away. At that point, I believed that life was too short to not do what you were meant to do. So, I said to myself, I need to grab a hold of my dreams.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Martone: As a kid, I remember that both of my parents would play artists like Diana Ross, The Jacksons, and being from Michigan it was always anything Motown in our household playing on the stereo. But for me personally, my true inspirations were both Janet and Michael Jackson, and groups like Deee-Lite, and the Bucketheads.
- Which artists are you currently listening to?
Martone: Right now, because I am in production of my new album Erogenous Zone that comes out on September 8, 2017. I am listening to a lot of disco-era artists such as Jeffery Osborne, Chic, and Michael Jackson. I also love groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I am really crushin’ on Bruno Mars right now.
- What made you decide to enroll for the Continental Cablevision’s Public Access producer’s course at such an early age?
Martone: Wow, you really do your research, and thank you for that. I had always been a fan of music videos, and I had an idea to create a music video show and to be the host of it. Donnie Simpson was a huge role model for me and I really wanted to emulate him and everything he did. I loved the idea of speaking with people that have made it into the music industry and had very successful careers.
- How did the course at Continental Cablevision impact your career?
Martone: It has had a great impact on my career as a visual artist. I would have to say that by being a producer, director and television show host, it helps when I would have to do an on-camera interview. In addition to knowing the behind the scenes terminology used in the industry so that I know what is going on around me always.
- How did the program “Video Control” come about? And how did this experience further enrich your career?
Martone: I remember this like it was yesterday. I named the show after one of my favorite shows the “video” part came from a music video show called Video Soul hosted by my idol Donnie Simpson, and the “Control” part came from Janet Jackson’s breakthrough album Control, which is still one of my favorites. Initially, I wanted to go into it with my cousin Cedric but he was not able to be part of it like I hoped. So, I ended up doing it by myself. Although, from time to time I had special guest hosts. Hosting that show was really my first job. I had to learn how to write professional letters to obtain the videos from the record companies, setting up artist interviews and coming up with a playlist for the show. It was a very valuable experience that I would not trade for anything in the world.
- A quote from you starts off saying ‘for all that I experienced in my personal life, the odds were against me. Looking back now, what would you consider as those ‘odds’ that were against you?
Martone: Being young, black and gay in America. I could have easily been a statistic. I was so blessed to find one of my passions at such an early age. Video Control kept me from getting involved with the wrong crowd, it really kept me doing something positive with my life. I had the opportunity to meet some of my idols that had nothing but encouraging words to keep me moving forward in the right direction.
- Completing the phrase in the previous question, you declared: ‘I defied the odds and when someone told me what I couldn’t do, I absolutely showed them that I could.’ What would you consider the things you’ve achieved thus far, against ‘all odds’?
Martone: Wow, I would say putting out my first album in 2015. Some had said that anyone can put out an album, that part is true. But putting out music and having people in NARAS (The Grammys) listen to it and enjoy it as a consideration for voting for a possible nomination. Becoming a member and attending the Grammys in person, that was something beyond my wildest dreams. I had an opportunity to meet a lot of my childhood idols. There were people that had negative feelings about everything I had done in music thus far and even questioned my integrity – but the most important thing is that I know who I am, and if I put my mind to it I can achieve anything I desire. Even if it seems impossible to most people.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle yourself, and which do you outsource generally?
Martone: Well, on #TEOM, The Evolution of Martone Deluxe Edition, I wrote all the songs on that album. My cousin, Michael E. Williams, II along with his son Jacobi, produced all the tracks and my brother Marvin DJ Extreme Detroit Hairston produced all the remixes except for two. DJ Suspence produced the 1st version of Love You I Do. On the upcoming album Erogenous Zone, there is one song that my husband and I wrote together, and then a good friend and up-and-coming artist by the name of Rayne Michael co-wrote a couple of the songs for the project. I am doing something a little different by inviting other writers to join with this next project and including cover versions of some my favorite songs which I never thought of doing until recently. But to answer your question, when I write songs, they typically come from experiences in matters of the heart. I write a lot about love, such as falling in love, falling out of love, work experiences, and friendships.
- What do you feel your listeners should get out of your music more than anything else?
Martone: Love. Love has always been the message in my music. Love for fellow man, dance and romantic love. I think my listeners understand that I am not afraid to speak about subjects that are dear to me. I believe that they know I am passionate about my art, life and love.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music so far?
Martone: Having an elaborate vision with a shoe-string budget. In addition to finding reputable people to assist in bringing my vision to life. Another thing would have to be navigating through all the noise online to be seen and heard. But most importantly, the lessons that I have had to relearn is to listen to my heart and do things on my terms. But also, taking advice from those that have been in my shoes. Everyone has a story that you can learn from.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Martone: What excites me the most is that I can write and sing what I wish. I will not say discourage, but the challenge is working to achieve things on a small budget. But one thing, I would like for people to do is to open their minds and please do not get me wrong when I say this, understand that there is more to music than just hip-hop. All though, I love hip-hop I just think that some acts really need to say more.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
Martone: For the most part, I do everything myself. I have a few friends that share my music or posts with others on social media. Recently, I have gotten involved with a record pool in the U.K that is promoting the current single Fever and for the most part that relationship is working out extremely well.
- If you had the opportunity to change one thing about how the music business works right now, what would that be?
Martone: If I had my way, it would be mandatory for producers and artists NOT to chase trends in music. I would like to see both producers and artists work to create music that can withstand the test of time.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Martone: That is the challenge right there, mainly because of my musical upbringing I have been exposed to everything under the sun. But I would say these keywords pop, house music (traditional house), and R&B with jazz vocal styling.
- Have you ever envisioned yourself winning any awards for your work?
Martone: Honestly, I have. If any artist tells you that they have not, they are lying.
- Tell us something about your latest release and where fans can find it.
Martone: The first release from my upcoming album Erogenous Zone which is due out September 8, 2017, my first single is called Fever, originally performed by Little Willie John. A lot of people that did not know that he was the original singer of the song which is sad. I kept the original verses in the song just like he sang them and added my own style to it in the way that I sang it. I am getting a lot of positive reviews from my peers and fans a-like. I also dropped a house-remix of it at the same and people are feeling it slowly but surely. Fever, is available on iTunes, Google Play and all stores that sell music.
- Will we be seeing a music video for Fever or the house remix?
Martone: I sure hope so. Right now, we are in discussion for the album version of a music video of Fever. That’s all I can say about that right now.
- As an openly gay Afro-American entertainer who supports the gay community, do you think that being openly gay still leads to discrimination in certain sectors of the entertainment world in this day and age?
Martone: In certain aspects there may be, I personally had not experienced discrimination that I am aware of. As for the recent controversy with Lil Duval, and The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God, I will say that condoning violence against transgendered women and men is completely unacceptable. Not too long ago, sponsors of these types of radio programs would stop doing business with those shows and or people would be suspended or lose their jobs. I for one, am outraged about those remarks and Lil Duval is old enough to know better.
- Do you have a motto or positive message stuck somewhere in your mind to inspire you, or anybody else, at any given time of difficulty? If so, what would it be?
Martone: No matter how challenging it may be, no matter the obstacles you may face, keep pushing forward. If you do, you will soon see the fruits of your labor. I promise you.