For decades, The Disney Channel has served as a launching pad for the pop stars of tomorrow, from Justin Timberlake to Britney Spears to Selena Gomez and many more. One of the earliest shows to have stars emerge was Kids Incorporated which aired on The Disney Channel from 1986-1994 (after having moved there from syndication). Kids introduced audiences to, among others, Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt. But it was another cast member from the show who had early success stemming from her time on the program: Marta Marrero, or as she was billed on her self-titled debut album, Martika. This album has recently been reissued by Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop in an expanded edition.
After having gotten her big break playing an orphan in 1982’s movie musical Annie, Martika played Gloria on Kids Incorporated for the show’s first three seasons from 1983-1987. During that time, she met producer/songwriter Michael Jay (Five Star). He recognized her talent and approached her about collaborating. Martika signed a record deal with Columbia in 1987 with Jay inked as the producer. Her debut recording for the label was the song “We Are Music,” issued only in Japan as a promotional release.
Martika and Michael Jay began work on what would become Martika. Jay wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 10 songs on the album. He was joined as a co-writer on two of the songs by Martika herself, who Jay had encouraged to begin writing. (She also co-wrote two other songs on the album.) The album was released in October of 1988 with the lead-off single “More Than You Know” coming in November. It hit No. 18 in the U.S. and No. 21 in the U.K. The next single would prove to be an even bigger success and become the song most associated with Martika: “Toy Soldiers.” Released in 1989, the single climbed to No. 5 in the U.K. but reached pole position in the U.S., going gold. The album itself also went gold, peaking at No. 15 in the U.S. and No. 11 in the U.K. Two other singles were released: the Carole King cover “I Feel the Earth Move” (No. 7 U.K.) and “Water” (No. 59 U.K.).
After the jump, we have more on Martika including the complete track listing with discography and order links!
After Martika, Michael Jay did not stay with the singer as a producer. For her follow-up Martika’s Kitchen in 1991, Columbia brought in a number of producers. Among these were Prince, who wrote/co-wrote and produced four songs for the effort including the album’s biggest single success: “Love…Thy Will Be Done” (No. 9 U.K., No. 10 U.S.). The album did not do as well as its predecessor, getting to No. 15 in the U.K. but only No. 111 in the U.S. She was eventually dropped by Columbia and didn’t commercially release any music for over a decade (excluding a couple of online-only tracks released in 2001). In 2003, she joined her husband in the band Oppera, and the group released two albums, one in 2004 and one in 2005. 2004 also brought Martika back to the charts when Eminem sampled “Toy Soldiers” in his song “Like Toy Soldiers.” Since then, she has starred in several online shows while continuing to perform live for appreciative audiences.
Cherry Pop’s edition of Martika expands the album with six bonus tracks. Included are three versions of “I Feel the Earth Move” (two remixes and a Spanish language version), two versions of “More Than You Know (a remix and a Spanish language version) and the B-side to “Toy Soldiers,” “Exchange of Hearts.” The original album release featured over 10 more remixes and edits which have not been included in addition to three other foreign language versions of songs. The CD features a fourteen page booklet with pictures of Martika’s singles and liner notes by Michael Silvester including a new interview with Michael Jay. It has been remastered by Richard Anderson and Alan Wilson.
Martika is available now, and can be purchased by clicking on the links below!
- If You’re Tarzan, I’m Jane
- Cross My Heart
- More Than You Know
- Toy Soldiers
- You Got Me Into This
- I Feel the Earth Move
- It’s Not What You’re Doing
- See If I Care
- Exchange of Hearts (from Columbia Single 38-68747)
- I Feel the Earth Move (12” Club Mix) (from Columbia 12” Single 44-68847)
- More Than You Know (Dance Mix Part 1) (from Columbia 12” Single 44-01835)
- I Feel the Earth Move (Seismic Rhythm Mix) (from Columbia 12” Single 44-68847)
- Quiero Entregarte Mi Amor (More Than You Know – Spanish Version) (From Discos CBS International CD EPCD-80308)
- Siento La Tierra Temblar (I Feel the Earth Move – Spanish Version) (More Than You Know – Spanish Version) (From Discos CBS International CD EPCD-80308)