Mitchell Martin is an artist aspiring to be that elusive everyman, someone we can all identify with.
It may be a frustration to him, that sense of being an outsider, but it’s served genre-defining artists well in the past, so why not Mitchell Martin?
New single, ‘Be Myself’ is a step towards that for Martin. It’s a beguiling slice of pop that wouldn’t be out of place as the closer for a support spot for the likes of Ziggy Alberts or, if we want to be really ambitious (and why not?), Ed Sheeran.
The slow build that opens ‘Be Myself’ sees Martin in plaintive mood — I hate myself for feeling like this — as he speaks on behalf of just about anyone who’s ever been through the experience of living, particularly growing up. Martin’s lyrics have that specific/non-specific quality that sees them driven by the deeply personal but ambiguous enough to create enough space for every listener to meet themselves. It’s a feat that all songwriters try to pull off, but few achieve, especially so early in their career.
Then there’s the chorus that bursts through with a springy optimism, wrapping Martin’s words in a candy coating and melodic hook that that will win him a lot of fans.
This song is bang on!
So just who is this precocious talent that walks among us?
The 22-year old Perth native already has a long list of credits to his name that includes festival performances across Western Australia, supports for the likes of Josh Pyke, Killing Heidi and British India and a top 20 spot on the iTunes Rock Chart with his current single, ‘Dim The Lights’.
Martin has hit the ground running in 2020 with a WA headline tour taking in Perth, Fremantle and regional dates. It’s all happening and we get the feeling that new single, ‘Be Myself’ will propel Martin’s career even further forward.
And, yet he’s still struggling to find himself.
“I personally have felt the struggle to fit into the local Perth music scene,” Martin told Around The Sound. “I feel that the music which is popular here is very indie alternative, whereas my music is pop rock with elements of blues and soul in the mix. When I wrote this song, I was partially reflecting on my struggle to figure out how to make my music fit into this music scene, as well as reflecting on previous life experiences in school and just looking at society overall and how hard everyone is constantly trying to change themselves to fit in.”
That’s another thing about the art of the lyricist. The good ones can cram a lot into a few words. It’s what Paul Kelly calls letting “the part tell the whole,” and, as an Australian artist, maybe that’s company Martin won’t be out of place keeping in the future?
What Martin didn’t say was that he doesn’t really need to fit in to any genre or scene. It may be a frustration to him, that sense of being an outsider, but it’s served genre-defining artists well in the past, so why not Mitchell Martin?
“I often feel a lot of pressure to change the type of songs that I write to find more success,” Martin continued. “’Be Myself’ is basically a way of me saying that I will stay true to myself and keep writing the songs and playing the music that I want to and not give in to this pressure to change the way I am.”
At 22 Martin’s reflections show a wisdom that is born of the struggles of the artist. He has the talent, it’s now mostly a case of whether he can hang in there long enough and get the breaks he needs along the way to greater success.
“I want to be a happy and successful musician that writes the songs and plays the music that I am inspired to create,” said Martin. “I aspire to be an artist similar to Dean Lewis, Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran.”
There’s that reference to Ed Sheeran again. Some might call such aspirations unseemly, success is such a tawdry thing in some people’s eyes. From where I’m sitting, though, Martin is an artist with everything he needs to get there, so why not have such aspirations to drive himself on? Better than dreaming of playing to empty rooms!
‘Be Myself’ is released on all platforms on 6 March. You can check out the exclusive preview here on Around The Sound.
Mitchell Martin will launch ‘Be Myself’ on 28 March at Grumpy’s Music Bar in Perth. For more event information, click here.