Chase Martin on new single “Levi Denim”

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Photo by Jason Myers
       

Chase Martin knew she wanted to be a star from the time she appeared in her school talent show when she was just eight years old. She has been performing music ever since and is quickly establishing herself as America’s pop-country sweetheart. She has just released her first single, “Levi Denim,” and has a fun video to go with it.

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Martin about her new single, her career, and what’s on the horizon for her moving forward. 

Let’s start by telling fans what made you start singing and playing guitar.

I was in the fourth grade and there was a talent show that was posted on the little bulletin board outside of my classroom saying, “Hey, sign up for the talent show, blah blah blah.” I grabbed a piece of paper, and I signed up to sing and play the guitar. I remember I came home from school that day and said to mom, “Hey mom, I signed up for the talent show at school.” She was like, “Oh, ok! What’s your talent?” I said, “Well, I’m gonna sing and play the guitar.” She said, “Chase, you don’t own a guitar, and I’ve never heard you sing a note in your life!” I was like, “Yeah, you’re gonna need to buy me a guitar.” I was just a little diva about it, and my mom, being the great mother that she has always been, bought me a guitar. Two weeks later, I played in the talent show, and you could not pull me off the stage from there. Literally, I was just an artist from then on (as far as the neediness for attention goes!).

What made you gravitate toward the pop-country genre?

You know, it’s one of those things where I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and I have grown up on country music. Country music has 98% of my heart, I just love it so much. I grew up learning Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline, and Tracy Lawrence songs. As I started to get older, I started kind of gravitating towards Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin and I just loved it so much. I loved their vocal styles. So I was just influenced by so many different genres of music—I would go up to my room and listen to a variety of different genres and artists. I think that it influenced me vocally and the way that I write songs as well.  Of course, my parents would just listen to country music. So I just kind of naturally started merging genres together.

In your bio, you described yourself as a weirdo. Can you tell us why you felt you were weird and whether your identity as an outcast inspired you to play music?

I think that everybody that has that kind of creative side is a little weird in some ways. I went to an art school—I would say a school full of weirdos, so I fit right in. I was never made fun of or anything like that like there was no bullying at my school because we were all weirdos. I used to show up to school wearing a cone head bald cap—full-on bald—and I would wear these ginormous purple Elton John round glasses. I have pictures somewhere. I would make weird noises at people as they passed in the hallway, and nobody ever picked on me for that because I just grew up with weirdos! And I’m still that person. My mom defines me as a “jackbutt,” except for she doesn’t say butt; she actually curses. So, I don’t know, I’ve always just loved to put a smile on people’s faces, and I kind of have this shock and awe thing where I’ll just do something really shocking just for the pleasure of shocking someone. I think that’s what makes me a weirdo, I guess.

Photo by Jason Myers

What does it mean to you to be a woman in the music industry?

Oh my gosh, you know I grew up listening to so many influential females, and they inspired me so much as a young girl growing up, listening to music and wanting to be an artist. I just hope that I can be that voice for other young females, and really males, females, whatever, growing up wanting the same thing that I want now and dreaming the same dreams that I dreamt. So it really means a lot to me to hopefully have that voice for other young women coming up behind me.

I understand that moving to Nashville was a dream for you. From an inspirational standpoint, how do you think the move has affected you as a musician?

When I started playing out live shows, I was fifteen years old. Like I said, I’m from Charleston, South Carolina, so I started playing at pretty much any bars or restaurants that would give me a chance to play around my hometown and the surrounding areas. I did that for a few years. And it was funny because I got to the point where I was opening for the national headliners that would come to my hometown. I was always playing and showing my face and having my music be heard by people that lived in that lived area. So, you know, I started to get more well-known there. People would come up to me when I was out with my family and say, “Hey, I saw you play here!” And so you kind of get that big fish in a little pond syndrome because there’s not the same ginormous music scene in Charleston that there is in Nashville.

So I came here I was thinking, “Oh, this is gonna be easy! I’m going to get a record deal within a couple of months!” I think that I was just very naïve, not so much arrogant. It was just not knowing what Nashville was really about. It was a really humbling experience for me, and it definitely brought me down a few notches, to say the least. It really teaches you patience and humbles you and shapes you into a completely different person when you come here and you realize that you are a very small fish in a very, very, very large pond. So if Nashville has done anything for me, it’s definitely just taught me a lot when it comes to patience and just being humble and grateful for everything.

Your new song “Levi Denim” is a lot of fun, and so is the video that goes with it. Can you talk about your inspiration for both the song and the video?

I actually did not write the song. It’s always been a dream of mine—because I am also a songwriter, not just an artist—to release music that I wrote, especially coming out of the gates to be the first song from me that the world would get to hear after I signed my first record deal. And so it was kind of a weird scenario when the song was sent to me. My manager actually sent it to me and was like, “Hey, I just heard this song, and I think it’s such a smash. It sounds like you. I just wanted to hear what you thought.” And right away, I was like, “This sounds like something I would have written. It’s so fun, it’s so sassy, and it’s a confidence booster; I just love everything about this song.” So it was kind of a no-brainer. As far as the inspiration goes for writing it, props to Alison Velt-Cruz, Abby Anderson, and Matt Stell for writing it. They’re amazing; they smashed it.

But as far as the video goes, I just wanted it to be really fun and sassy and everything that the song stood for. And I think that somebody that portrayed that image so well is Savannah Chrisley.

Is that the model in the video? 

Yes. She is actually a reality TV star that lives in Nashville. She’s on the show Chrisley Knows Best with her whole family. She’s just so inspirational to young girls and is such a good role model. I loved having her be a part of this video with me. She was just so much fun to work with on set, so it was really just about us wearing Levis and going out and having a good time. I was singing the song and she was getting ready for a date, and then she ended up getting picked up by the guy in the video, so it was just her rockin’ Levis!

Did you have to deal with copyright infringement for using Levi Denim?

No! they ended up coming on board and sending me a whole bunch of cool stuff!

I see you have written alongside many established songwriters and have also performed songs other people wrote. When you perform a song that is not a Chase Martin original, how do you make it your own?

I think it’s one of those things where my artistry just kind of comes through with every cover song that I do or a song that I cut that I did not write. I don’t feel like I try to make it my own. I think that naturally, an artist, whenever they’re cutting any song that they weren’t a part of, their artistry comes out in the song regardless.

In addition to being a great musician, you’re also a bit of a social media icon. I’m sure the two work together in helping get your name out there. If it weren’t for the music, would you still be active on social media? Is it a bit of a hobby for you?

Oh, I don’t know if I should lie! (laughs) I don’t love social media; I’ve never been much of a public person. Kind of a fun fact about me—I’ve always been kind of shy and pretty private. I love social media in the aspect of connecting with people that I would not be able to if it did not exist, so that’s the really great part about it for me, and I love talking to people cause I’m a people person. And I’m sure you can probably tell I can talk your ear off all night long. And so I love getting to talk to people on social media, but as far as taking pictures and doing that side of things, it’s never been my favorite.

What can we expect from Chase Martin in the year ahead?

I am hoping that the second I can get back out on the road, you can count on me playing as many live shows as possible. I can’t wait to get out there. It’s funny because I signed my first record deal in the midst of the pandemic, and typically when a new artist signs their first record deal, they sign with a booking agency and then go out on the road with a headliner to play live shows. I signed with my booking agency right at the height of COVID, so I didn’t get to do any of that stuff yet. So I’m so, so excited to get out on the road as soon as we get the clear. You can definitely count on more music; we’re already in the midst of recording more singles, so I’m excited for everyone to hear some of the stuff that I did write. And I’m excited to get to meet the same people that I’ve been talking to on social media since I was fifteen years old. That’s when I started my Instagram and Facebook pages. I’ve been talking to some of these people that I’ve never met in person. I feel like we’re so close, but we’ve never met—and I’ve been talking to them for almost seven years now. So I’m ready! I’m ready to meet everyone. I’m ready to play some live music and just entertain!