There’s a really nice article about me that was just printed in The Direct Buzz Magazine (Feb 2010 issue, page 33).
Here’s the full article. Enjoy!
On The Road: A tour of music, lifestyles and pop culture
The Pinball Producer: MANDI MARTIN
555 hours, 55 minutes, and 55 seconds… That’s how long Mandi Martin played pinball. Seriously… she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for that 23-day marathon. Waylon Jennings taught her how to play, when she used to hang with him and (DJ) Captain Midnight in Nashville. However, as amazing as that feat may be, Martin’s success and longevity in the music business is just as impressive.
Pinball may be her game, but music is her passion. A former Columbia, RCA and Epic recording artist, Martin produced and sold her first record when she was still in high school. She eventually graduated to singing background for musical greats like Sam Cooke, Ricky Nelson, Jan & Dean, Brian Wilson and Jimmy Buffett, to name a few. “I was a sponge,” she laughs. “I was a real studio rat. I went to every recording session I could and just absorbed it all.” She watched all the big names work (including Phil Spector), and studied what they did to get their sounds. “It was an education you couldn’t buy,” she says.
Her obsession with the recording process came from an insatiable desire. Though she was an accomplished songwriter, who enjoyed several publishing deals, and an in-demand singer, Martin’s dream was to produce other artists. “I always wanted to produce,” she sighs. And, in 1973, she got to do just that, producing country, folk and R&B artists, including Columbia folkie Len Chandler and Tears for Fears singer, Oleta Adams.
Since then, she has produced a slew of noteworthy acts, and became active in the music community, as president of Women in Music, co-producer of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, and a member of the Board of Governors at the Recording Academy (host of the Grammy Awards).
Obviously, Martin is a rare bird, a giver. In fact, anyone lucky enough to work with her has discovered that. But, she has her own approach to producing that is unique.
Actually, they’re rules every artist should know if they hope to work with a producer. “You should spend as much time in pre-production as possible,” Martin explains. “You have to make the songs as strong as they can be.” Martin has noticed that for many young artists that’s a problem because they’re not familiar with the concept of re-writing.
“I call them early settlers,” she says. “They settle way too early — well before their songs are finished.”
According to Martin, the most important characteristic artists should develop is patience. “You don’t want to rush into the studio before you’re ready. Studio time is precious.” And, lastly, Martin believes that the experience should be pleasurable. “We should be having fun,” she declares. “As a producer, my job is to paint an accurate portrait of the artist, not to make them something they’re not.
If a producer tries to change an artist too much, the music can lose its authenticity.”
Martin emphasizes that last part, mostly because she works so closely with her acts. “I love artists and music,” she says. “In fact, many of the acts I’ve worked with become close friends.” If you’d like to learn more about Martin, go to www.mandimartinmusic.com and/or www.myspace.com/mandimartinmusic.
I’d like to send a special thanks to Bernard Baur for the great article. -MM