Martin Luke Brown is possibly one of the 2018’s must-watch artists. If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, you might recognise his song Bring It Back To Me. Over the past four years, he has released a string of singles, with the latest one, Grit Your Teeth, being his most ambitious yet. In this interview, MLB shares thoughts about his sound, travelling and writing for other artists.
1. What made you pursue a career in music?
I think initially it was a combination of enjoyment and an insatiable appetite for attention and self-worth. As time has gone on I think my love for it has evolved to become a lot healthier. It’s a therapy of sorts now.
2. You’re currently signed to Lab Records. How are you finding the support of an independent label?
Yeah, great. They’re just passionate about the music and because the team is so small, that passion extends to the whole team fairly seamlessly. There’s not a random marketing dude being handed a biography of me and told to do his job or anything like that, it’s much more a labour of love.
3. You describe yourself on your Facebook page as “Gritty souly hippie boy”. How does that relate to your music and style?
I’m not sure it does anymore. But I think those words would be used somewhere in a paragraph at least to describe the vibe.
4. What’s your songwriting process? Do you keep live performance in mind when making music?
To a degree yeah, but there’s a million things you can consider. I generally just do what feels right and good and honest and the other things tend to fall into place.
5. When listening to your music, poetic lyrics and instrumentation are immediately obvious. How do you know when what you’ve written is finished and ready to be released?
Ah, thanks. I never think it’s finished. I can always find something to change. I rely quite heavily on other people telling me it’s good enough in the end.
6. You’ve been collaborating with other artists – be it writing or performing. How different is it writing for other people? Is it more of a challenge or a breeze?
It’s definitely more liberating. It’s like method acting as someone else. It feels fresh putting yourself into another head space and not letting yourself be bound by the parameters you build for your own stuff.
7. You’ve recently shared on social media that you’ve been travelling and writing. Any fun stories or writing sessions you can share with us?
Yeah, my two favourite things colliding. It’s been a sweet couple of months. This isn’t hugely fascinating but there was a day that I managed to write and demo four full songs. You’ve got to love days like that because there are so many other days when you struggle to even finish a verse!
8. Is there a meaning behind the yellow and blue theme on your latest releases?
I interpret it as a contrast of happy and sad. Sort of like a coloured version of yin and yang. Trying to find the positives or yellows in bleak or blue situations, you know?
9. I was at your Borderline show and I want to firstly congratulate you on a fantastic (sold out) show. You were quite nervous to share Grit Your Teeth before its release. It’s quite different to your other singles, what’s the story behind it?
It was actually initially a song I wrote to pitch for Ellie Goulding. [But] I revisited it and tweaked some of the lyrics and thought ‘fuck it’ – I can style this out somehow. Lyrically it’s basically advice I wish I’d been given.
10. It seems that 2018 has so far been good to you: you’ve played some live shows, you ran the London Marathon (well done!), released new music and travelled. What’s next for Martin Luke Brown?
Well, I’m doing a skydive at the end of the month and I’m currently growing a beard (it’s in the shit phase) – so there’s that. I feel weirdly inspired to try new things and just push my own boundaries in every aspect, really. I want to get more involved with other projects and start taking more risks and just generally giving less shits about everything.