Martine Locke concert at People Called WomenWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian singer-songwriter Martine Locke has a passion for music that has led her to travel the globe, meeting people and sharing their stories. On May 13, Locke will bring those stories and her acoustic guitar to Toledo for the first time when she performs at People Called Women Bookstore, 6060 Renaissance Place, Suite F in Toledo.
“I always warn people, if you’re going to tell me your story, be careful because there’s a good chance it’ll end up in a song,” Locke said in a phone interview from Los Angeles with Toledo Free Press Star.
If there’s anyone who knows a good story and how to express it, it’s Locke. The curly haired Aussie spent part of her childhood on the move in the Australian outback, later finding out from her mother when she was applying for her Visa to the United States that it was because her father was wanted for embezzling. Locke credits that constant uprooting and moving for helping prepare her for life as a musician on the road.
“I’ve got to take it back to my upbringing,” Locke said. “I’m certain that that whole experience of being born into that situation, and even that age, and living on the road and having that life. I mean, even when we’d settle down we’d move every four years, or every two years. So that kind of moving around and being able to be comfortable with a life that moves, I think all of that set me up to be who I am and what I’m doing today. Middle child, Capricorn, stubborn as all. I think that’s all contributed.”
Locke always knew that being a musician was what she wanted to do, from the time her older sister introduced her to a live album of The Bay City Rollers performing at Wembley Stadium in England, to the times she would sit side stage and watch legendary Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel play at her parents’ pub in Adelaide, Australia, when she was a teenager. Though Locke attended and graduated from college, music was her passion and she refused to give up on her dream. In her early 20s, she started playing smaller venues and, later, on television shows in Adelaide.
As her career and exposure progressed, Locke eventually hooked up with Perth, Australia native Rose Farrow (now Rose Parker) in 1994. The duo formed The Velvet Janes and released four CDs together, and it was with Parker that Locke played her first show in the United States back in 1998. Locke has since gone on to release three solo CDs, has performed with Dionne Ward and opened for the likes of Arlo Guthrie, The Cowboy Junkies, The Waifs, Weddings Parties Anything, as well as Ani DiFranco and Emmanuel.
Locke plays more than 150 shows a year in three countries, booking all of her own shows in the United States and creating a web of fans all across the world.
“It’s my tribe,” Locke said. “I have a tribe of people all over the world that are part of my family, and obviously some of them are closer than others, but I get to see them when I come into town and do shows, and they get involved, and I sometimes get them up on stage. To me, that’s the reason why I’m here in the first place on Earth, is to have these relationships with people, and create my tribe and learn how to be a better human being.
“My story — I always say this to people — our stories I believe are the greatest gift that we can actually give one another. It’s nothing about material stuff. You sit down and tell me your story, and to me that’s the greatest gift you can give me. And then I’ll write a song about it.”
In addition to her shows, Locke has a blog, martinelocke.blogspot.com, where she shares thoughts and experiences with her fans.
After all these years, Locke’s energetic spirit and passion for music are still as vibrant today as they were when she first started playing shows back home in Australia. She just released a live album that became available in the States at the end of March and in Australia in April. The album was recorded in front of a sold-out audience this past November in Indianapolis, the city Locke calls home when she’s in the United States. Locke will be playing songs from that CD on tour for the rest of the year, and is also planning to do a new studio album as well as some girl’s rock camps in the near future.
“This is the only thing I know,” Locke said. “This has been my job my whole adult life. And honestly, I listen to so many people talk about doing jobs that they hate, and I don’t understand that mentality in any fashion. I think I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I haven’t had to understand that. Now, there are some really hard things about doing this job, and sometimes it shifts me to the ends of the earth, but at the end of the day when I plug my guitar in and play, it’s the greatest job in the world as far as I’m concerned.”
Locke will perform with djembe player Jamie Price at People Called Women Bookstore on May 13. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on a sliding scale donation between $10-15 (more if you can, less if you can’t). For more information about Locke, visit www.martinelocke.com and www.peoplecalledwomen.com.