What would the naughty Nineties have been without the vocal enchantments of the mysterious Martina Topley-Bird? In the new millennium Tricky's ex-partner has crafted herself a solo career and worked guest slots with Massive Attack and Gorillaz. Enjoy a live performance of Martina at the Melt Festival 2010.
Martina is the daughter of well-known British direct marketing specialist Drayton Bird and a Central American mother and grew up in London and the West Country. Her first contact with public performance was as a choir singer at Clifton College. At age 15 she met a mischieveous, smart boxer/rapper at a bus stop that would make himself a name as Tricky Kid in the Bristol sound system The Wild Bunch. They started going out and recording, sharing a similar taste in beats and harmonies.
Because of a printing error on Tricky's Maxinquaye, Martina Topley-Bird has often been referred to as "Martine," an error the unpredictable, and confusion-loving singer/songwriter never bothered correcting. The world was first exposed to Martina's dulcet tones on the aforementioned Tricky debut, where her ethereal voice mixed well with his gruff style, sounding like a siren calling listeners into a dark world.
She went on to work with Tricky on his following three albums before branching out on a solo career in 1998.
Her first solo longplayer Quixotic was not released until 2003, but it was obviously worth waiting for as it gained her a Mercury Music Prize nomination amongst much critical acclaim.
It was another five-year wait again until her second solo album The Blue God, was released in 2008 but while her regular albums may take some time, she keeps herself busy, singing for Gorillaz and fellow west countrymen Massive Attack or releasing a record of reworks like Some Place Simple in 2010.
This is a selection of highlights from her set at the Melt! Festival 2010.