- Published in 2018 Lineup
Friday 31st Aug// 20:00 // THE DINGLE DELL
For Martha Hill, leaving home at 17 in search of something bigger meant having to find a way to make ends meet. Turning to music out of necessity, busking became a means of survival, and unable to settle in one place, she spent the next year travelling all over Europe as a street musician, living in squats and wild camping alongside friends.
In stark contrast to her experience growing up as one of six siblings on a remote Scottish peninsula, where the only link to the mainland was via ferry, Martha finally felt able to express herself as a street performer, with this new-found sense of freedom feeding directly back into her music.
By now a talented multi-instrumentalist (guitar, drums, trombone) and vocalist, she began to pen a series of pop songs that would transcend the streets, drawing on the influence of left-field artists such as Tune-Yards and Sylvan Esso. Seeking clarity in her own life, she would start the songwriting process by taking a complex emotional situation - the like of which we all go through at some point - before trying to make sense of it through song. Swapping ideas with other musicians on the continent, a distinct sound was taking shape.
Martha eventually returned to the UK, finally settling down in north-east England. Continuing to busk on Newcastle bustling Northumberland Street and falling in with the locals a brief stint as the trombone player for Holy Moly & The Crackers offered her a first taste of life on the road with a band, and she started to obsess over the idea of taking her own songs from the streets to music venues for the first time. Never one to sit on her heels, it wasn't long before she had formed a band and booked her first ever UK tour, with two tours of Europe and a further UK tour (including dates at Borderline in London and The Cluny in Newcastle) following within the space of a year.
With a growing fanbase leading to numerous sell-out headline shows in Newcastle across 2017, it appears that the wider music industry is finally starting to take notice of an artist whose music has been on display (at least in stripped-back form) on local high streets for a while now. Amidst growing interest in her next move, the upcoming release of Martha's debut single is now just around the corner, supported as ever by a busy live schedule that is showing no signs of letting up.
Listen to her distinct sound below!