Performing at Fri-Son, Fribourg, Switzerland
(photo 6 November 2008)
|Birth name||Martina Gillian Topley|
7 May 1975 |
St. Pancras, London, England
|Genres||trip hop, indie pop, indie rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, guitar, ukulele|
Martina Topley-Bird (born 7 May 1975, St. Pancras, London) is an English vocalist and songwriter who first gained fame as the featured female vocalist on trip hop pioneer Tricky's debut album, Maxinquaye (a printing error credited her as "Martine"). She worked with him on his follow-up albums and, in 2003, released her own solo album, Quixotic.
Martina Topley-Bird is the daughter of well-known British direct marketing specialist, Drayton Bird, and her mother is Salvadoran, Seminole Indian and the rest is untraceable African American. Her first contact with public persona was as a choir singer at Clifton College. It was while she was a teenager at the school that she met trip hop pioneer Tricky, with whom she worked on his first album Maxinquaye. She continued her collaboration with Tricky on his follow-up albums Nearly God, Pre-Millennium Tension and Angels with Dirty Faces.She gave birth to Tricky's daughter around the release of Maxinquaye.
Following a falling-out of their professional and personal relationship in 1998, she began pursuing a solo career. It was not until 2003 that she released her debut album, Quixotic (Independiente Records), mainly produced by Topley-Bird and production team AMP9 (Alex McGowan, Steve Crittall, Nick Bird) at Space Eko Recording Studios London. Upon its release, it received positive reviews from critics and was a finalist for the 2003 Mercury Music Prize. The song "Sandpaper Kisses" from the album was featured in the video game, Fahrenheit (released in North America as Indigo Prophecy).
The album finally saw a limited release in the United States in July 2004 when the Palm Pictures label released a re-designed and re-sequenced version with a new title (Anything), a trimmed-down tracklisting and all-new cover art.
The following year she appeared on the Starbucks compilation album, Sweetheart 2005: Love Songs, which features contemporary musicians covering classic love songs. She sang "I Only Have Eyes for You", a song originally by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin.
Her second solo album, The Blue God, was released in May 2008. The track "Carnies" was released as the first single on 3 March 2008 and reached No.20 on the UK Indie Charts. "Poison" was released as the second single and reached No.9 on the Indie Charts.
In 2010, Topley-Bird appeared on the album Heligoland by Massive Attack, lending her voice on the tracks "Psyche" and "Babel". She also toured with Massive Attack as their support act and providing guest vocals. Topley-Bird's third album, Some Place Simple, was released in July 2010. It contained stripped-down versions of songs from her first two releases, along with four new songs.
Topley-Bird performed Maxinquaye live at the Sundance Festival, London, in April 2012.
- Quixotic (2003, Independiente) - UK #70, FR #58
- Anything (2004, Palm Pictures)
- The Blue God (2008, Independiente) - UK #88, FR #149
- Some Place Simple (2010, Honest Jon's) - SWI #60
- 2003 "Need One"
- 2003 "Anything"
- 2003 "I Still Feel"
- 2004 "Soul Food"
- 2008 "Carnies"
- 2008 "Poison"
- 2008 "Baby Blue"
- Topley-Bird is credited as a vocalist on "Conversing Among Misfits", a song from 1998 debut (self-titled) album by Earthlings?. Her performance is hard to hear in the final mix however.
- In 1999, she contributed vocals to "Dirty Drowning Man" and "Coattails of a Dead Man" on Primus's album Antipop.
- In 2000, Topley-Bird appeared on David Holmes's album Bow Down to the Exit Sign.
- In 2004, Topley-Bird appeared on "Into the Sun", a track from Diplo's album Florida.
- In 2004, Topley-Bird contributed vocals to "Spoiled", on the Blues Explosion's album Damage.
- In 2005, she made a guest appearance (alongside Roots Manuva) on the Gorillaz track "All Alone", on the album Demon Days. She also was featured in the unreleased Gorillaz song, "Snakes and Ladders", also with Roots Manuva.
- In 2005/2006,[which?] Topley-Bird sang vocals for "Can't Be Serious" from A Mountain of One's debut 12" EP, later included on the group's 2007 Collected Works compilation.
- In 2006, Topley-Bird appeared on the song "Devil Take My Soul" on the Son of Dave record 02.
- Topley-Bird appears on the songs "Why Should I?" and "Deflect" on Leila's 2008 album, Blood, Looms and Blooms. "Deflect" was also the lead track on the pre-album EP Deflect.
- She contributes vocals on the Saturnalia album by The Gutter Twins ("The Body") (2008)
- In 2008, on her single "Poison", she collaborates again with Roots Manuva and Gorillaz on the B-side track "Soldier Boy".
- She makes an appearance on rapper Common's album Universal Mind Control, on a song entitled "Everywhere".
- In 2009, she sang and co-wrote "Psyche" and "Babel" by Massive Attack, for their 2010 album Heligoland
- In 2012, Topley-Bird appeared on "Open" and "Secret", two tracks from Clark's Iradelphic album.
Song appearances 
- "Need One" appears on the CSI: Miami episode "Blood Brothers" in 2003.
- "Need One" was used in a television advertisement for Toyota's Corolla Verso in 2004.
- "Sandpaper Kisses" appears on the soundtrack of the 2005 videogame Fahrenheit.
- In 2007, her song "Da Da Da Da" was used in the film Virgin Territory.
- "Need One" was featured in an advertisement for H&M on Swedish and Dutch television during autumn of 2008.
- "Ilya" was used in "Lap Dance", an episode from The L Word's second season.
- "Soul Food" was used in 2009 in the film Obsessed.
- "Sandpaper Kisses" was sampled by The Weeknd in The Birds Part 2, which is included in his second mixtape "Thursday"
- "Sandpaper Kisses" was sampled by Stephen Marley in the song "You're Gonna Leave" on his Mind Control album.
- Martina biography, the story so far...
- MySpace.com - Martina Topley-Bird - London - Autre / Autre - www.myspace.com/martinatopleybird
- BBC - Radio 1 - Chart Show - Indie Singles
- NEW SINGLE ANNOUNCEMENT! - Martina Topley Bird
- http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/index.php/site/item/tricky_and_martina_topley-bird_to_perform_maxinquaye/ Tricky and Martina Topley Bird to Perform Maxinquaye - Trebuchet Magazine
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 562. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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