U OUGHT TO KNOW DARK BLONDE SHEDDING LIGHT ON MUSICIAN CHARLOTTE MARTIN.
Name: Charlotte Martin
Why U ought to know her: This West Hollywood transplant from Charleston, Ill., is in the midst of recording her RCA debut. The album is still untitled, but musically it will follow suit with her forthcoming ``One Girl Army'' EP on the indie Bong Load Records. It was recorded last year. Martin is a classically trained vocalist. She majored in opera and studied piano at Eastern University of Illinois, where her father is a music professor. After some life-altering experiences, her focus changed and she began crafting piano-driven, industrial rock songs a la Tori Amos, PJ Harvey and Kate Bush. ``I'm a big Kate Bush freak,'' Martin says.
Opera girl: ``I wanted to be an opera singer because it was hard and I was relatively good for as young as I was. I was a coloratura, which is the highest soprano. But I didn't listen to opera all that very much. I just liked doing it.''
Her path to singer-songwriter: ``I had a friend kill herself in college. And I didn't really try, but when she died I just wrote a song for her funeral in, like, 10 minutes, and then I just kept going.''
A closeted goth: ``I think everyone has a dark side. I have a quote for you that's really great that someone sent me in my journal. I keep journals with, like, a couple of people and we send it back and forth. But it says, 'I have a dark part and a light part; one can only see through the dark part.' And that freaked me out. It's true, you know? ... After my friend died, I started to date really weird guys; I had a couple of friends die, actually. Death pre-empted my career. It's an interesting way to start having something to write about. And then I came to L.A.''
Something to be proud about: ``I went to a doctor for my yearly exam and a transvestite walked in with a fresh boob job, and her nipples were showing, and I was just so proud to live here.''
Happy songs: ``The hardest thing to do is write happy songs that don't suck, and I think Bjork is a real good example of that, you know?''
Finding inspiration in the City of Angels: ``I read a lot. Actually, I suck because I never finish books. I try to. I'm one of those people who will start something and have it take me six months to get through it. Right now I'm reading Anne Sexton, which is slightly depressing.''
On her band: ``I have a bass player from Cuba. His name is Hector, and he came here on a raft. I announced it at my last show and someone came up to me and asked, 'Was that a part of the show?' Because I'm like, 'This is my new bass player, and he floated in on a raft from Cuba,' and the whole Mint just got very quiet. And I'm like, 'Isn't that great? OK, or not!' ''
U don't say: ``If you can't laugh at yourself then what's the point?'' says Martin of her self-mocking comic strip at www.charlottemartin.com. The semi-autobiographical ``766 Sixth Street'' pokes fun at Martin's beauty queen days as the 1994 Miss Illinois Teen U.S.A. Martin's likeness, the blond Jerica, sports a tiara and tutu and is forever the eternal optimist. ``Gosh,'' she says while eyeing a house rental guide, ``moving is so tubular!'' If only her roommate, a goth girl with attitude who is based on Martin's real-life best friend, shared her sunny demeanor.
Where U can see her: Martin takes part in the Best of BMI Songwriter's Club Tuesday at Highland Grounds (742 N. Highland Blvd., Los Angeles) with Duane Neillson, Danny Wilde and Lowen & Navarro. No cover charge. Call (323) 466-1507.
If U want more information: www.charlottemartin.com
no caption (Charlotte Martin)