Darius Martin, an LA-based singer-songwriter and producer, pioneers expansive alt R&B with pop hooks and island vibes. His music, inspired by life’s beauty and struggles, aims for deep connections, weaving his emotions and experiences into every release. From a desert-influenced childhood to a career altered by illness, Martin’s journey resonates in his genre-blending soundscapes. Graduating from the Los Angeles Film Institute, he wields skills honed for professional music production. His inventive tracks like “Options,” “Some Time,” and “Secrets” showcase textured vocals, captivating rhythms, and tales of love and longing. Martin’s music, drawing from genuine experiences, portrays life’s complexities authentically, echoing both the glamour and challenges of reality.
Can you tell us about your early life in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and how the desert landscape influenced your music and creativity?
My early life in Alamogordo, New Mexico was wild. With nothing but the desert surrounding you, you’re constantly looking for something to do. After you hiked and rode dirt bikes on all the trails, there was nothing left to do but be with your people listening to music and just enjoy life. I got to experience music from different parts of the world because I was friends with a lot of the military kids connected to the base nearby.
What was the turning point in your life that led you to pursue a career in music, especially after your experience as a serious athlete?
I tried out for the Xavier basketball team and played the worst I’ve ever played in my life. As if knowing I probably wouldn’t touch that court again wasn’t enough, they emailed the very next day. I didn’t even make it to the second day of tryouts. It broke me to my core and I needed something to help rebuild myself. That very next day, my friend showed me GarageBand and that night I made my very first beat! That’s when I knew I’d found my purpose in life.
How did your time at the Los Angeles Film Institute shape your approach to music, and what skills did you acquire there that you find valuable in your music career?
My time at the Los Angeles Film Institute helped me sharpen my tools toward everything to do with the business side of the music industry and I can’t thank them enough! I had amazing teachers who really cared about changing future generations for the better and that is hard to find, at least in my experience. I knew how to make music before I went there, so I spent more time learning the ins and outs of the business like royalties, publishing and things of that nature.
Your music is often described as a fusion of genres. Could you elaborate on the genres and artists that have had the most significant impact on your musical style?
My music is usually described as a mix of genres because I listen to absolutely anything that is just good music. Genres never mattered to me much. I just love good sounding music and the people who make them.
Your single “Options” is known for its seductive and imaginative sound. Can you walk us through your creative process when developing such a track?
For “Options”, the creative process I used was definitely new. We actually had an entire song done and were just tightening up some parts on it, then Ink came in and started free-styling melodies and we all just lost it in there. We threw the song we had away, started fresh with the same beat and rewrote everything.
“Some Time” features island waves and lyrics about longing. What inspired this song, and how do you bring out the emotions in your music?
The thing that inspires most of my music, especially “Some Time” is speaking my truth but also allowing my emotions to do the speaking. You can sing all day but if there’s no emotion in it, you’re not going to feel it. For me, I think back to the times in my life when I was the lowest and embody those same feelings
“Bottles” paints a glamorous Los Angeles landscape. Could you share the story behind this track and your connection to the city’s music scene?
The story behind “Bottles” was me just feeling free and having fun. I spend a lot of time making more serious, emotional records and that one was me just saying “F it let’s go!!!”
”Secrets” combines island vibes with sultry R&B. What emotions or experiences led you to create this unique blend, and what message do you hope listeners take away from it?
“Secrets” was created to make you see who is really there for you and who is there for themselves. It’s about keeping secrets and if you can’t keep secrets, you can’t be trusted. I just want to know who I can trust. I want my listeners to figure out who they can trust as well.
Your single “Sparks Don’t Fly” tackles the sensitive topic of abusive relationships. What motivated you to address this issue in your music, and what kind of impact do you hope it has on your listeners?
My motivation for “Sparks Don’t Fly” was being in abusive relationships myself and at the time, I didn’t even know it. I hope it gives listeners hope in knowing that sometimes there’s a lot of love there, but when you’re not good for each other in a relationship and “sparks don’t fly” anymore, it’s okay to feel all the emotions about it. Embrace those emotions and feel it all. When you’re done feeling it, move into your higher calling and allow God to take the wheel and lead you down his path, not your own.
Your music is known for its authenticity and emotional depth. How do you draw from your own life experiences and contrasting perspectives to create music that resonates with your audience?
I draw from my own experiences and lessons to make the most emotional and beautiful music I know how. I want everyone to know they’re not alone in this world, or even with the feelings they feel; we’re all going through something. I just want to make music to connect with people.
Can you describe your songwriting process? How do you go about turning your personal experiences and emotions into lyrical storytelling?
My song writing process is always different. I might freestyle one day, and write a song before I even hear the beat the next. But all the time, I try my best to make sure all my emotions are left on that track when I’m done.
As you continue to evolve your musical style, what can your fans expect from your upcoming releases in terms of sound and themes?
As I continue to evolve with my music, you all can definitely expect some country vibes for sure. I’m tapping back into my roots. New Mexico and Texas will forever be in my heart & soul.
Your fanbase is growing rapidly. How do you connect with your listeners on a deep level, and what role do they play in shaping your music?
I connect with my audience on a deep level because everything I do is genuine. I want nothing more than to make this world a better place, one person and conversation at a time!
What are your long-term goals and aspirations as a singer-songwriter and producer in the music industry?
My long term goals are to create a place where I can feed not just my family, but as many individuals and families as possible. You all make me feel so much love and I just want to do the same for you in every way I know how.
Finally, can you share any insights or advice for aspiring musicians who are looking to make their mark in the music industry, particularly in the alt R&B genre?
The advice I would tell anyone looking to get into the industry is stay true to who you are at your core. When you move with the right intentions and allow God to move things into position for you, there’s no stopping you. Create, create, create everyday. Even if you turn on voice memos and just sing 16 bars that day, stay consistent!