Website: Martine Locke
Biography:Martine Locke has literally emerged from the middle of nowhere. Born in a caravan park in the middle of Australia during a notoriously hot Australia summer, her parents who were ‘on the run’ pulled her last name from a phone book. “I think that my first journey into this world and the circumstances surrounding that have definitely borne in me an independence, a strength… and anyway…it’s one heck of a good story” Martine tells us.
In 1996 she formed the award winning duo, The Velvet Janes. They recorded 4 CDs, hit the Australian music charts, have been heard on radios and played in venues across the world and opened for artists such as Ani DiFranco and The Cowboy Junkies. Martine launched her second solo CD, in the US in July 2002
What do you do and how did you start?
Phew..so many hats, so little time. I am a musician, a performer, a songwriter, a vocalist, a manager, a promoter, a booking agent and a dreamer. I started 10 years ago in Australia because someone else believed in me enough to suggest my name to a television producer. I feel like I have been blessed with people like that for the past 10 years.
How old were you when you realized you wanted to do what you’re currently doing and how old were you when you actually began
I can’t remember an exact age but I do remember growing up knowing in my core that this was my ‘calling’. There have been times when I have wanted to run away from it, but I can’t. I probably started performing when I was 22.
What jobs did you have before you went out on your own?
My first job when I was 16 was a Rabbit on roller skates. I am sure on some core level that it changed my life…..I know ‘how’ is going to come to me any second….hmm.
I have also worked behind the bar in my parent’s hotel, worked in a coffee shop and in between times have done anything from web creation to grooming dogs!
What steps did you take to create your own business?
Creating my business has been a step by step process for my whole adult life! I would say that initially I didn’t realize that is what I was actually doing. As far as I was concerned I just wanted to play music and hopefully get paid enough to live. I was very fortunate though to have a great friend at the time, who was a minister and a business manager and he sat me down one day and covered his walls with paper and told me to ‘blue sky’ dream. We then set it all out in sections – career/life/love/emotional/spiritual/physical etc – and started to write down some of the steps I needed to take to achieve the things I wanted. I feel like I walked away from that meeting with a business and the ability to take a goal and turn it into reality. It has grown and stretched and developed ever since. I am continually updating and re-evaluating my goals and dreams and am trying to get really dedicated to my business plan and with being honest with it and my intentions.
What kind of formal education, training or experience do you have that applies to what you do?
I have a Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Studies) where I majored in Music & Drama and minored in Communications. In all honesty, I would say that the Communications part of that degree has helped me the most. It taught me about understanding people and circumstances better, I feel like I have been able to utilize that on stage quite a bit. The music side of my degree was great if I wanted to set up an orchestra…maybe a rabbit on roller skates orchestra??
Other than that, I am always on the look out to place myself in a mentoring situation with people that I admire. Touring with Ani DiFranco and her crew was a tremendous opportunity not only musically, but it gave me a chance to ask questions about her business structure and ‘how’ Righteous Babe (her record company) has done the amazing job it has. It also put me in contact with other people in her company who have been wonderfully open and supportive. I am always on the lookout for those moments.
When I write out my goals it also helps me to stay away from things and people that aren’t going to help me achieve themMartine
How did you first begin to sell/market your work?
Again, someone believed in me! A friend of a friend worked in a local community radio station in South Australia and he offered to record some of my songs if I wanted to come in. I went in to the radio station recording studio, sat on a stool in the semi dark with my guitar for two hours and recorded 8 songs live. I left that day, very proud of my little cassette tape and three days later he rang me to say that he had, unbeknownst to me, played some of my songs on his radio program and was getting phone calls from people asking him where they could buy it!! Within two weeks I had made my own cover and had 100 copies of the tape made and they started to sell them on the radio! (I have one copy left that has my hand colored cover – but I had to steal it from my mum!!)
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? The most frustrating?
There are a tonne of rewards, as I am certain there are frustrations!
I would say rewards would be: living my dream, feeling that I am being true to myself, having people come to shows and become a part of it and by their very presence give something back to my life. Seeing people connect with my songs, my stories – seeing lights go on in their eyes! Getting emails from young folks telling me I inspire them to play guitar. Being able to be that much more connected to people through the ‘all connecting medium’ of music – hearing stories from strangers who because of a shared experience become friends. Being able to encourage people is such a reward… Being my own boss, knowing that I am not ‘part of the machine’ and losing my soul to the record company devil. I could go on….and on.
One of the biggest frustrations sometimes is myself! My sweetheart tells me I have to ‘get out of the way’ of myself. My lack of faith in my abilities and my accomplishments and sometimes in my future frustrates me. If only I got quiet more I would remember the strength and belief at my core.
Do you have any fears about what you do, and if so, how do you deal with them?
Two years ago I also decided that I wanted to move to the US. I have dreamt about it for many years and it seemed that everything was falling into place for that to happen.It was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Not only was I leaving my family, friends, a 4 year relationship, and everything else I ‘knew’ but I was also leaving a thriving musical career! It seemed completely crazy at the time, so much so that I took myself off to a therapist just to make sure I hadn’t completely lost the plot.
But I knew with every cell that it was the right thing to do….that in order for me to grow both personally and professionally to the next level, I had to do it. I think I cried every day for the first three months! But doing it has pushed the line so many times that I have grown more than I can even explain.
When I first started performing I was overrun by fears! I will never forget standing side stage one day, about to go on solo in front of 10,000 people and terrified to the point of needing to vomit! (sorry about that graphic!). I asked myself what I was afraid of. I worked out that I was afraid people wouldn’t like me and that I would make a mistake….well, I realized at that moment, that I couldn’t make people like me…that some people would, and some people wouldn’t…and that’s okay. I also realized that I had worked really hard for that show, that I had honestly rehearsed and prepared as much as I could, and that is all I could do. I can tell you, I was never afraid to walk on stage again after that.
It changed my life. Doesn’t mean that I don’t have fears about those things anymore..but I remind myself of those two things all the time.
Also, going back to the last questions…. if I get quiet and listen to my soul, fear melts away.
What kind of work environment do you have?
I have a home office set up…at home…funny that!! I have two desks – because I like to spread out – white boards and yearly calendars on the walls – because I need to see things in front of me. A good computer – which means that I don’t get frustrated with slowness!! A bookshelf filled with cds and books and pictures of Janis Joplin, The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix on my walls. I also have Feng Shued (sp?) my office – my desk is facing my door so I can see people when they come in, I have 6 Chinese coins on red string in my wealth corner along with photos of myself performing and a crystal on my window to reflect any negative energy away…and bring in a rainbow when the sun is shining! I also have photos of my family and friends from Australia on a board so that I can see them when I miss them.
I also have a space in the front of my house with my guitars, writing books and mini disc recorder set up so that I can go in and play at any time. I look out over the city of San Francisco from that room and write songs about my neighbors! (Hmm..no wonder they all keep moving out?!)
Have you encountered any financial obstacles, and if so, how did you overcome them?
Oh Lordy..I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. My general rule has been that I haven’t taken on any large financial task without first having the money. I hate debt and try to avoid it where possible as I know I don’t like having it over me. To date that has pretty much worked for me but as I go into bigger projects I am starting to somewhat re-evaluate that rule! I do understand that I need to build credit ratings etc here so I use credit wisely. If I get it, I only do so knowing that I am using it to build my credit and have a plan in place for paying in back in a manner that is going to benefit me.
What is your definition of success?
Being able to live the life that I want.
Who or what are your inspirations?
I seek out inspiration in almost anything I can! I try to find and offer inspiration to my peers. I try to find and offer inspiration to young people who sometimes don’t even know that they are allowed to have a dream, particularly young women.
I was watching a documentary the other night called ‘Life and Death’ – filmed predominantly in the Pediatrics ward at UCSF and was SO inspired by birth and the will some of those little babies had to survive….when I saw their stories and all they had to go through in the first 6 months of their lives I decided I should just quit complaining.
Ani DiFranco and the team at Righteous Babe Records have been an enormous inspiration to me. I only heard about them about 6 years ago. I was still living in Australia and a friend of mine here sent me a bootleg tape of one of Ani’s shows. I was so inspired and excited by her music and her business model that I sent her office a fax that night and told them so!! Two days later I received a reply from someone there saying ‘thank you’…later when I was on tour with her I told her about the fax and wondered out loud who the person was that had sent it…turned out it was Ani’s mum! Before I knew anything about Righteous Babe Records I knew that I wanted to remain independent, I just didn’t know if it was possible…they showed me it was possible.
Books: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. The Seed Fusion book by Lynne Franks. Anything by financial Goddess Suzie Orman inspires me!
My sweetheart never ceases to inspires me….
Words of advice for those pursuing their creative goals.
Blue Sky Dream often….physically write out even the most outrageous dreams you have inside yourself and stick it up on your walls if you need to. Writing it down reminds you, it excites you and it can help create something tangible. When I write out my goals it also helps me to stay away from things and people that aren’t going to help me achieve them.
Also have people around you who believe in you and your talent but who also love you dearly….those people help keep you real and honest with yourself and yet will stand behind you cheering you on.
Oh and I would suggest answering these questions!! Not only do they cause you to think and be very clear about your intentions but once you get through them you know you are well on your way to having a business plan!