Martyn Joseph is a powerful singer and songwriter gifted with the rare ability to speak to the soul with his expressive and poignant lyrics.
With a career spanning 30 years, 32 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live performances, the versatility of his music touches genres of folk, rock, soul, folk funk and Americana, yet somehow all these labels cannot define the spirit of his music.
Compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews, he has created his own style and reputation as a mesmerising live performer and stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, his music manages to empower and speak for the many. He’s a jaw dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed up with a powerful show stopping voice, and has been called “The Welsh Springsteen”
Martyn was awarded Best Male Artist at the 2004 BBC Welsh Music Awards and in 2012 his song “There’s Always Maybe” won the best folk song category in the World Independent Music Awards. In addition to his 5 top 50 UK hits, the importance of his work has been recognised by programmes such as BBC 2’s prime time series on Singer/Songwriters. Social justice has an essential presence throughout his music, which has been recognised with various humanitarian awards and plaudits.
Concerned with making music that is relevant and vital to his audience, he engages with challenging narratives tackling the complexity of the human condition underpinned with a promise of hope. In his own words “Really what I do is to try and write songs that might step up and make some sense of a moment in time. A good song makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world.” There is a versatility to Martyn’s music that is hard to categorise. Many have tried, resulting in labels such as Folk, Rock, Soul, Folk Funk and Americana; all of which somehow miss the mark. But sometimes music doesn’t need a defining genre and with the ability to articulate a sense of the bigger picture, Martyn’s music and social commentary manage to empower and speak for many. His songs are pictures, and stories, and feelings all put to music and delivered by a master craftsman.
In 2013 Martyn released a CD of Bruce Springsteen songs, to great public and critical acclaim, with the glowing endorsement of Dave Marsh, acclaimed American music critic and official Springsteen biographer.
2014 saw him take the spirit of his music onto a more practical footing with the launch of his “Let Yourself Trust”, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to make a small difference out of great love and commitment by challenging injustice wherever it’s found, educating via advocacy, campaigning for human rights, and raising issues that have been forgotten or ignored via fundraising initiatives, thus bringing about greater awareness for beautiful people in powerless situations
His most recent CD Sanctuary was released in Autumn 2015 to great critical acclaim. The album was produced by Grammy award winner Ben Wisch and it musically pools myriad influences and is lyrically contemplative, honest and big-hearted – attributes that also convey a sense of both the artist and the individual. It’s impossible not to share his optimism for the collection.
He has won the love of audiences from USA and Canada to Europe through an impressive number of live dates, and has previously toured with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Jools Holland, Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Mike and The Mechanics, Joan Armatrading, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey. He is hailed as a raconteur weaving tales on topical concerns, as well as stories on the fragility of love, with a magical ability to reach out to his listeners through his passion and humour. Stunning reviews single him out as an unmissable solo performer whose music stays with you long after the show has ended.
2016 was one of Martyn’s busiest, and this was acknowledged by him being nominated in the “Hardest Working Artist” category at the UK Independent Music Awards, being the only folk artist to receive any nomination. Playing over 170 shows worldwide he was also part of the Parliament/EFDSS project “Sweet Liberties” marking 800 years of British democracy, with Nancy Kerr, Sam Carter and Maz O’Connor. One of his songs from this, “Nye” celebrating Nye Bevan, the author of the NHS, has been enthusiastically received by audiences everywhere, as well as having BBC national airplay on Mark Radcliffe’s Folk Show and Tom Robinson’s 6 Music show.
Martyn Joseph. A unique talent driven by passion and love for his trade, continues to write, sing and play from the heart. It’s a road he’s been travelling for most of his life and, as he often tells his audience, ‘you keep turning up and so will I.’
Photo Credit: Izaak P Slagt