Nashville’s latest newcomer, singer-songwriter Tori Martin is this week’s Swag Spotlight artist. Before making a name for herself in Nashville, Martin grew up in a military family and has lived all over the country. Nevertheless, she considers Texas home and spent the majority of her life growing up in a small town, filled with lots of southern hospitality.
As a young girl, she knew what she wanted to be doing. She admits, “I didn’t grow up in a musical family, I was kind of an oddball who liked to sing, and wanted to play guitar and play piano and just loved everything to do with music.” One of the first things she did at a young age was an audition for the Texas Girls Choir, a traveling state choir that would sing all over the world. It was Martin making the group that opened up her family’s eyes to her skill as they recognized, “Oh, she kind of has a talent. It’s more than just a little girl being like, ‘I like to sing.'”
Her family was her support system, and Martin said, “Somebody who really encouraged me to pursue music was my grandfather, I called him Pawpaw, he has passed now, but he loved country music and he loved that I loved to sing. He would always get me to sing Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash – just the good classic’s.” Ironically, it was not until much later in life she found out that he was the one that actually paid for her to be in the Texas Girls Choir. Looking back, the songstress reflected, “He was my number one supporter, and even bought me my first guitar.”
She fell in love with Nashville when she visited the city at age 16. It was there where she started to pursue her career in music and recorded her first EP at Clive Studios. She had a goal in mind, and her eyes set on getting back there. Martin returned to Texas to promote her EP, play local shows, make a name for herself in Texas Country Radio and ultimately grow her fan base before making the official move to “Music City” in 2017.
With a voice that is beautiful yet powerful, her music is heavily influenced by big voices and soul singers. She said, “One of my favorite singers and idols is Stevie Nicks, and seeing her in concert was mindblowing, and I was in awe.” In addition to Nicks, Martin is a huge Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin fan. She tells us, “I am kind of like a blend – I love country music, I love rock, I love soul, I love pop, and I have influences in different genres.”
Her current single “Living the Dream” is an inspirational song about not giving up on what you have your heart and mind set on. Martin wrote “Living the Dream” with Lyndsay Highlander when she first moved to Nashville and it has become her anthem to remember why she is doing it – not because of fame or fortune, but because she loves what she does. She then goes on to reveal the meaning behind the song, “I’ve been in the music industry since 16, and of course, you’re on a musical journey and there’s a lot of opportunities and there’s a lot of no’s and a lot of yes’s. Sometimes it’s hard not to get jaded and to stay encouraged and to keep going.”
The music video to “Living the Dream” is a perfect depiction of that meaning. It features famous NASCAR driver Jennifer Jo Cobb and blends together her career and Martin’s aspiring singing career. Martin said, “We don’t have the same job, but we’re both in male-dominated scenes, and we’ve both been chasing our dreams since we were very young, so we wanted to merge both of the stories together and inspire all girls, all women, no matter what area of life they might be pursuing their dreams just to go for it.”
Martin has a lot in store for the remainder of the year and into 2020. She is currently in the studio working on an album that will be released soon. In addition, she is playing shows in and around Nashville and is the cohost to a singer-songwriter series called “Music Biz Besties” that showcases up and coming artists at different venus once a month in Nashville.
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