Billie Marten shows talent and wisdom beyond her years
Billie Marten released her first music at the tender of 15 and her breakthrough followed a year later when she dropped the gorgeous single ‘Bird’ about ‘how words can truly affect people’. This release lead up to a nomination in the Sound of 2016 poll by the BBC and expanding interest in her music. The BBC was right that 2016 would be a big year for Marten as she just released her impressive debut album, titled Writing of Blues and Yellows.
Marten’s style could best be described as singer-songwriter pop with strong folk influences. Her soothing vocals soar over subdued and gentle instrumentals, creating a fragile sonic world full of personal stories. Marten (co-)wrote most of the record herself which is an impressive job for a 17 year old. Her vocal and songwriting talent is way beyond her years, although the stories she tells will probably be relatable for a lot of her peers.
Her lyrical maturity and wisdom show on the single ‘Milk & Honey’ which talks about the greed of people. “You live for over-kill, but you’re ungrateful still. All you want is honey, well honey I tried, you just want more and now it’s all gone”, she sings about people in today’s society who are never satisfied with what they have and always want to go next level. Billie’s writing ranges from this kind of social commentary to laying her soul bare while addressing mental health problems. “If you ask me if I’m fine, then I’d say ‘yes’, but I’m lying through my teeth and they all know that”, she sings over a slow and compelling piano rhythm on ‘Teeth’.
She is seemingly effortless in creating atmospheres that allow for vivid visualizations, for example on the moody single ‘Heavy Weather’ that deals with overcoming ‘English winters’ with a lover by her side or ‘Live’ which explores the love for her family while at the same time craving for less protection and more freedom. On one of the album’s highlights, the subtle, but gripping ‘Lionhearted’, she beautifully sings: “What would life be like with a lionheart inside, instead of mine give me another”. If you ask me though, to release such a personal and mature album at the age of 17, you must have quite the Lionheart inside of you!
Must listen: Lionhearted, Bird, Milk & Honey, Live, Heavy Weather