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Switch x Andrea Martin

The respected R&B singer/songwriter speaks to Dazed about her collaboration with Switch and how it all started for her

In a career spanning two decades, Andrea Martin has built up a reputation as one of the most respected and multi-talented figures in R&B; a reputation that is richly deserved. During the genre’s rise to prominence in the mid 90s, the effusive sensuality she brings to both her vocal work and her songwriting made her well sought after by some of the biggest names in the business - En Vogue and Toni Braxton to name but a couple. Since then she has continued to make her presence felt, releasing solo album The Best Of Me in 1998, before more recent collaborations with artists including Melanie Fiona and Leona Lewis.

With such a litany of plaudits to her name Martin could be forgiven for resting on her laurels, but instead seems determined to do just the opposite. ‘I just can’t sit around and write a corny record’, she explained recently, when asked about her creative approach. Perhaps this is why 2011 sees her taking a step out of R&B altogether, and collaborating with Dave Taylor on the sultry, stripped-back ‘I Still Love You’ - his first original release as Switch in five years.

Dazed Digital: How did you become a songwriter, was it something you had always dreamt about? 
Andrea Martin: 
It really happened by default. I met a publisher named Eric Cole at Rondor at the time, he gave me a shot by writing to one of 3 tracks that he needed songs for. I wrote to all 3, he was impressed and signed me on the spot!

DD: What made you decide to make the transition from songwriter to artist?
Andrea Martin: 
I was always an artist in my head, I just started writing in the meantie to make some money making music, until clive david signed me to my first artist deal to Arista and that’s when it all began professionally.

DD: What can we expect from your debut single?
Andrea Martin: 
‘I Still Love You’ is a real song with real singing, that’s what I do!

DD: What was it like working with Switch and were you a fan before?
Andrea Martin: 
It was great working with him, he let me do my own thing and I realized that I was a fan of his work already, being that he produced projects like Santogold and M.I.A.

DD: If you had to pick one song that you wish you'd written what would it be?
Andrea Martin: 
‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ by Bonne Raitt.

Text by Paul Britton