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Friday, April 25, 2014

Nancy Martinez - Lay It Down (1983), Not Just The Girl Next Door (1986), Unpredictable (1989) & Bird's In The House (1997) QUADRUPLE POST!!!!

I'm sure anyone who visits this blog is aware of the powerhouse vocal talent of Nancy Martinez.  Indeed, she has had a long and successful career in pop music, but she hasn't been in the spotlight for some time.  While I have seen a couple of her albums posted in other places on the internet, I haven't seen all of her English pop albums in one place, so I decided to feature them in my second quadruple post of the year!  There are plenty of places on the internet that discuss her career, but I'll still give a (not so) brief synopsis.  Nancy grew up Montreal and had an interest in music at a young age, thanks to her musical parents.  As a child she attended music school as a pianist and started taking vocal lessons.  In high school she moved from singing at small local gigs to recording jingles and performing background vocals for popular French-Canadian artists like Nathalie and René Simard.  During a session with disco artist Kat Mandu, Nancy was approached by the label to sign as a solo artist.  Nancy was initially uncomfortable with being in the spotlight and asked that they not use her real name.  She released two euro-disco singles in 1982, "I'm Gonna Get Your Love" as Jade, and "Can't Believe" as Nancy Martin (note that in the video clip of the "live" performance, a model is lip-synching, since Nancy did not want to appear in promotions for the single).  Both were international club hits, and Nancy released two more singles under the monikers the next year, "Who Cares" as Jade, and "Hold Your Horses Baby" as Nancy Martin.  With this success it was time to step into the spotlight, and Nancy signed an album deal with Matra Records using her real name.  She released her first single as Nancy Martinez, "So Excited", also in 1983.  Her album, Lay It Down, soon followed, as did her next single, "Take It Slowly".  Thanks to the production of successful Canadian disco/hiNRG producer Joe La Greca (who later produced the albums by Isle postees Natasha and Pobi), the tracks were successes in clubs.  She released two last, non-album singles in 1984 for Matra: "Number Two In Love" and the medley "Sunshine Reggae / La Vie En Rose", the former a remake of the Laid Back song, which was a duet with her then-husband Allen Harris, and the latter a remake of the Edith Piaf classic.  "Sunshine Reggae" became her biggest hit in Canada thus far.  It was time for Nancy to pursue international success now that she was more comfortable in the spotlight, and she signed with Atlantic Records for worldwide distribution.  This time working with hiNRG/freestyle producer Teneen Ali, she updated her sound, and her first single, "For Tonight", became a huge hit and an instant freestyle classic in 1986.  The song even hit #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the dance chart.  Her album Not Just The Girl Next Door followed, and her follow-up single, "Move Out", managed to hit #12 on the dance chart.  The third single, the much more traditional pop track "Crazy Love", failed to chart, however.  There were plans to release the freestyle song "It Happens All The Time", but the original group L.I.F.E. released it first.  And though the non-album Atlantic single "Can't Wait" hit #17 on the Billboard dance chart in 1987, her contract with Atlantic ended.  Luckily A&M sublabel Vendetta snatched her up, and again working with Teneen Ali, she crafted another dance album, Unpredictable, released in 1989.  Unfortunately none of the singles - the poppy "You've Got Me On Fire", the hiNRG "Save Your Love For Me", or the ballad "Everlasting" - found much success, though the remixed "(Fire) You've Got Me On Fire" was a minor dance hit.  No longer with Vendetta, Nancy decided to sign with Canadian label ISBA and record her first French album, the self-titled Nancy Martinez, released in 1990, which included the single "Tomber Sous Les Mots".  She released her second and last French album for ISBA, Pourquoi Tu Pars?, in 1993, which was produced by legendary Canadian rocker Aldo Nova, who had long admired her and even asked her to sing the demo of the song "I Love You", which would eventually be recorded by Céline Dion on her Falling Into You album (on which Nancy did prominent backing vocals on the song "Your Light" - and Isle fans will also be interested to know that she also did backing vocals in 1988 on Isle postee Sequal's track "Took Another Chance").  Her biggest French single was "La Maîtresse De Tes Rêve", which Isle fans will also be interested to know is a cover of Isle postee West End Girls' "Anything To Make You Mine".  Over the following years Nancy kept a much lower profile, occasionally doing guest vocals.  Then, in 1997, she returned with an independently released English album, Bird's In The House.  Though I adore Nancy's dance music past, this album is by far my fave, and it's very rare so I had to share.  She switched to pop-rock and was much more involved in the writing, and the album was produced by John Farley, who also worked with Isle postees Sonia Papp and Pobi.  The album is pure perfection from start to finish.  She released the singles "Jack", "Fire" and "I'm In Heat", and though none were major hits, it was great having her back in the spotlight.  She soon again faded from the public eye, but in 2000, Nancy returned to dance music with the Europe-only release "For The First Time".  Four years later she surprised everyone by switching direction again and releasing the jazz standards album Downtown, and also featured on the K-Maro hip-hop track "Crazy".  She followed it up the next year with Live At The House Of Jazz, and also released the reggae influenced French single "Laisse-moi Te Donner" and a duet with Denis Ducharme, "Wouldn't It Be Nice". In 2005 she returned to dance music as the featured vocalist on MC Mario's "Not Guilty".  Since then Nancy has kept busy doing guest vocals, performing locally, and teaching music and voice.  Luckily she finally emerged on Facebook, where you can keep up to date on her current goings-on and view amazing rare clips.  This bodes well for some new and amazing material from one of the best and most diverse voices in the business.

Download Lay It Down

1 Take It Slowly
2 Lay It Down
3 We Got The Real Thing
4 So Excited
5 Right Here By My Side
6 The Love You Made Me Feel

Video for For Tonight

Live performance of Move Out

Download Not Just The Girl Next Door

1 For Tonight
2 Move Out
3 It Happens All The Time
4 I'll Be There
5 In The Heat Of The Night
6 Hurt Me Twice (Shame On You)
7 Crazy Love
8 Without You
9 Rhythm Of Your Heart
Download Unpredictable

1 You've Got Me On Fire
2 Save Your Love For Me
3 Unpredictable
4 Make A Move On Me
5 First Impression
6 Everlasting
7 I Will Make It Up
8 I Believe In You & Me
9 How Many Times
10 Got Something On My Mind

Video for Fire

Download Bird's In The House

1 I Can't Wait
2 It Ain't Right
3 Jack
4 Fire
5 Getting Over You
6 How Low Can You Go
7 Don't You Call Me Anymore
8 Looking For A Rainbow
9 I'm In Heat
10 Highway
11 Without You
12 Living In The Gray


  1. I love Nancy, thank you very much, comrade !

  2. I love checking out unknown (to me) Canadian artists! Her history with Celine Dion and Aldo Nova makes her even more interesting. :) Thanks! ~Chris