Interview: "Breakaway" - Martha May
Your new single "Breakaway" is a powerful song about prioritizing yourself and leaving a relationship. Did you write this after a personal experience or did you take inspiration from a general narrative?
Martha May: To be completely honest, it was a personal experience. Breakaway is the first song that I have ever written actually, and I find it very connected to that specific experience. Back then, I still haven't seriously thought of myself as a songwriter, but the difficulty of my situation made me think of writing things down, not expecting anything of it. The state of my relationship and thoughts of breaking up were really sad, but as I sat down with my guitar and tried to write, the entire positive side of letting things go came up, and that's how Breakaway was born. Seeing my situation in a different light, Breakaway helped me choose myself! So after seeing how writing a song can heal you, I just had to keep doing it:)
On your website you mention you're from Croatia. What was the transition to the UK like for you? Did you perform much in Croatia before moving to the UK?
Martha May: Yes, I have moved to the UK at the age of 18, to pursue my love for music and theatre. Starting my undergraduate studies in Musical Theatre in Chichester, UK, I have to say it was quite a big change for little me. Being away from home for the first time, I have to admit it took me a couple years to figure out what it is that I really want. Ending my second year of doing Musical Theatre, I started noticing I was more excited about singing pop music than anything else. I flew to Croatia to spend my summer there, and started singing sets of covers in local touristic restaurants with a guitarist. This job was something I really enjoyed, so I did it next summer too. Doing that job made me see myself as a pop artist, and not long after I started writing my own songs. Looking at it all now, I think both the UK and Croatia, helped me become an artist that I am today.
How do you balance being in graduate school with your music career?
Martha May: It is actually quite simple, because I am doing a Master's Degree in Popular Music Practice, so naturally my career and my school are intertwined. I have chosen my course because I wanted to learn all about the Music industry, releasing music and building my brand and fan base as an artist. So far I have gotten a lot of music knowledge at my school, and I am using it to the best of my power in all my music projects. The good side of it is that I can then use those projects (songs, performances, collaborations) as part of my exams portfolio!
What has been your most memorable live performance?
Martha May: Wow, good question. As I have just recently started performing in a full band setting, it seems to me that every new gig I play is the best I have ever done haha. But as a truly special experience, I would point out my recent performance at The New Noise Festival in The Old Blue Last in London. That one I am especially proud of because the event was put on by my BIMM colleagues and myself as a part of our module. It felt super special to participate in creating the event from scratch and then also perform my music as a part of it to a very excited and supportive audience!
What is your songwriting process like?
Martha May: I have to be fully honest with this one, I am not entirely sure. It is always different. Sometimes I play with chords on the guitar or ukulele, and the melody and lyrics simply follow, but sometimes I'll have a melody stuck in my head and I just have to find lyrics suitable for it. As I consider myself to be a "newbie" songwriter, I believe there is so much more for me to learn and explore in terms of songwriting.
Where do you see your career going after you've finished your program at Fulham's BIMM college?
Martha May: I see myself building a name for myself as a pop artist, and not much else really ahaha. I plan to release a lot more music quite soon, and I believe that will open more music possibilities for me. I intend to stay in London after I graduate, keep performing live, writing and releasing music, to show the world (and myself) what my music is all about.
Interviewed By Hannah Conkin