“Won’t you come out and play with me?” she sang. But where is she now? C’mon let’s get some, in Martika’s kitchen!
by Christopher Smith
Thirty years ago Marta Marreo (born 1969) released her self-titled debut album in the US. The lead single from which “More Than You Know” reached No.18 Stateside and No.12 on the hot play dance chart. But it wouldn’t be till the following year that the whole world would know all about her.
It was the album’s second single “Toy Soldiers” that Martika scored her biggest and ultimately her best known hit. The song topped the US charts and made the top ten in a further thirteen countries. The track, written by Martika and Michael Jay, would attain a Gold certification for sales in the US of over 500,000 copies. It wouldn’t be until the Summer of 1989 that the single was released in the UK, where it sped up the chart to spend three weeks at No.5 and attain a Silver certification for sales of over 200,000 copies.
“Martika” reached No.15 in the US selling 800,000 copies and No.11 in the UK. To date it has sold over four million copies worldwide. Her third single was a cover of Carol King’s “I Feel The Earth Move”, which also did big business reaching No.25 in the US, No.7 in the UK and No.2 in Australia, where Martika had consistent top ten success with both the album and all of the singles released from it!
“More Than You Know” was reissued in the UK at the beginning of 1990 reaching No.15. Her fourth and final single “Water” was only released in the UK and Australia, where it stalled outside the top 40 in both territories. Martika would pause only briefly after this before she commenced work on her second album. She would reemerge in 1991 with a new, mature look and style with the eerie epic “Love, Thy Will Be Done”, which she co-wrote with Prince. The song re-cemented her back in the global charts making No.10 in the US, No.9 in the UK and topping the Australian singles chart.
“Martika’s Kitchen” was released in the early Autumn that year but strangely made no impact in her home country where it reached No.111! It fared better elsewhere particularly with the much-appreciative Australian’s who took it to No.9 on their chart and in the UK where it reached No.15. The title track (also written with Prince) served as the second single making No.17 in the UK, No.29 in Australia and only No.93 Stateside.
Two further singles came in 1992, “Coloured Kisses” (UK No.41, Australia No.39) and “Safe In The Arms Of Love” which failed to chart anywhere. Since then Martika has strangely done very little. A greatest hits album was issued in 1997 selling 500,000 copies worldwide. Away from her own career, Martika also write songs for many other artists including Patti LaBelle and US teen singer Alisha with her 1990 ‘comeback’ single “Bounce Back” which reached No.54 Stateside. Alisha had been a brief hit in the mid-1980’s with her “Nightwalkin” album which included the song “Do You Dream About Me”, written by none other than Diane Warren and used in the hit film ‘Mannequin’.
Martika didn’t surface till 2001 when she released a new song “The Journey” which was supposed to be the first track of a new album that ultimately never happened. She next came to everyone’s attention in 2004 when Eminem sampled her biggest hit on his track “Like Toy Soldiers” which topped the UK singles chart and made the top ten in a further fourteen countries selling over four million copies worldwide.
She took to the road in 2012 making a total of five solo appearances as well as joining the Totally 80’s Tour in Australia along with Berlin, Kajagoogoo and Katrina & The Waves in 2016. This coincided with the release of the digital single “Flow With The Go“, her first new material for eleven years. Since then she has gone into hiding yet again. She lives in Ohio with her husband Michael Mozart, who had three chart hits of his own in 1989 under the name of ‘Nikki’.
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