Singer Maggie Martin turned her frustration with not performing during the pandemic into a songwriting career, which has had amazing results so far.
Martin first found the local spotlight when she earned the nod as a co-winner competing in Who’s Got Talent in Sooke.
“I was very surprised to win,” recalled Martin, who grew up in East Sooke.
Martin, 18, has been involved in musical theatre since she was seven years old.
“Since COVID hit, I was unable to do any singing, dancing, or theatre in Sooke or elsewhere. I was isolated in my house, and the only thing I could do was write songs. I recorded some short clips on my piano with a camera and posted them on TikTok.”
Before long Martin had close to 170,000 followers, 3.5 million likes and almost seven million views on the social media site, many drawn to the clip for her original composition, Never Blue.
“The number of views just exploded,” she said. “Lots of people were asking me ‘are you going to release it.’”
Although she had tried collaborating with a number of producers in the past, Martin said she never really connected with anyone until she worked with David Bashford, a producer based in Los Angeles.
“I couldn’t be happier with how Never Blue has gone for a first release,” she said. “I’m surprised and excited by how well it’s done.”
Kathy Russell, Martin’s former piano teacher, said the young musician was destined for success.
“Maggie started studying piano with me at the age of seven,” Russell said. “While working on the fundamentals, she would often sing or hum along with the songs she played and Maggie just sounded like a singer. She had a light vocal quality and was beautifully in tune.”
Russell suggested voice lessons with a colleague, Christie Morrison, a music theatre specialist in Victoria.
“Maggie loves musical theatre and to this day it’s an influence that can be heard in her songs,” Russell said.
Martin worked on covers of great singer/pianists such as Elton John, Billy Joel and Freddie Mercury, and that naturally evolved into writing her own songs, Russell said.
“I asked Maggie if I could hear some of her work after she casually mentioned that she’d been composing and over the next few months she shared her songs with me,” Russell said. “They poured out of her and I was in tears or laughing, or simply reflecting on her words.
“She is a gifted storyteller and has the ability to connect with the listener. Along with her tremendous talent, Maggie is driven, ambitious, and a self-admitted perfectionist.”
Never Blue was released last month and has been picked up by Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Martin, who has lived in Langford for the past two years, is working on writing and releasing more music before a move to Toronto next year.
“There are a lot more opportunities for theatre, film and music there, and that’s the umbrella I want to be working under,” she said.