It’s a family affair for Leicester-based singer songwriter Martha Bean, on her gorgeous new EP “Here Comes The Snowstorm” which was released today (15th Nov).
Her dad John plays cello on it, her partner Joel Evans (aka Tiny Eyes) co-produced it with Martha and played percussion, synths and Wurlitzer piano.
Her sister Miriam created the animated videos for singles taken from the new record. Martha herself recorded and engineered the five-track EP in her home studio, and played guitar, piano, mandolin and bass, as well as scoring all the string parts.
Her new-born son Leon makes an appearance, well, in the sentiment and inspiration of her song “When I Hold You In My Arms”, and the emotional content of the hopes and fears of a new mum, after becoming a first-time mother in February).
Martha refused piano lessons as a child from her own piano teacher mother, but at the age of three she was creating melodies on the piano. But growing up in a very musical household, she taught herself to play various instruments found around the house.
She began to write her own material and developed a broad set of influences, from singer-songwriters Fionn Regan, Nilüfer Yanya, Nick Drake and Andy Shauf to Radiohead and Grizzly Bear.
Honing her chops as a singer and a skilled guitar picker with her own gigs, and support slots to the likes of Scott Matthews, Marika Hackman and Seth Lakeman, the word spread; her songs played on BBC 6 Music and featured on trailers for prime-time BBC TV shows and advertising campaigns.
Martha’s debut album “When Shadows Return To The Sea” won positive reviews and comparisons to the likes of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones, after its 2015 release.
Each of the five tracks on the new EP stands alone, inspired by real events and connected by themes of life’s inevitable highs, lows and unexpected quirks. Conveyed via spacious, ambient alt-folk topped by Martha’s able guitar work and wonderfully mesmerising and ethereal vocal. Her songs have been said to evoke artists such as Fionn Regan, Phoebe Bridgers and Lisa Hannigan.
Two of the EP’s tracks, “Slipper to a Wedding” and “When I Hold You in My Arms” picked up by Tom Robinson on his BBC 6 radio show. Joe Manger on drums, Rob Rosa (Maniere des Bohémiens) on violin and Mirka Hoppari on viola also contribute to the EP.
“Life rarely brings blocks of pure joy or pure despair. More often the emotions – hope and hopelessness; gravity and levity – all bleed into one another, and I hope these songs reflect that,” says Martha.
The current single “Circles”, was written and composed by Martha in Canada. Inspired by watching fireflies dancing in the night sky, seeking partners. She was struck by how we essentially follow a similar ritual.
- Hear the EP in full, here via SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/marthabeanmusic