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Meet Johnny Ray Martin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Johnny Ray Martin.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Well, I was born in Loxahatchee, Florida with practically a pick in my hand, haha. From a young age, I was captivated by the original rockers of the eras of the ’50s and ’60s. Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley, Wanda Jackson, Buddy Holly, Dion, Nancy Sinatra, just to name a few.

I was homeschooled, and there weren’t a lot of people around, so I didn’t have very many friends. Instead, I just played guitar, primarily 50’s music at first. I began to become very obsessed with the early rock n roll music and all the possibilities of what you could do with a simple three chords structure. I became aware that this was all just coming from early blues and folk music and that you didn’t have to be some classically trained musician to exert feeling and emotion with an instrument. Raw human emotion, that infectious spine-tingling feeling being is what I’m interested in and what draws me to the music. I started playing clubs as a teenager, always in other bands. Once I accumulated so much gear I didn’t know what to do with and started to play all the instruments myself, I never stopped. I play old gear (a 1962 Sears Silvertone student model guitar), not because of some retro thing. Just because I like the sound of it. I have yet to play a guitar that sounds anything like that. It’s much harder to play, so therefore the attack and the way you would go about playing it is completely deferent than a guitar with perfect action that stays perfectly in tune. It’s always a fight with it, every show.

Please tell us about your art.
I used to fix my guitar with matchsticks. My old bandmates used to call me Matchstick when I would show up for practice, so the name just stuck with me. I’ve been playing solo now for about two years. I have two albums out and a new single due out in May, and on my 4th tour. So you could say I stay fairly busy with it, I’m always hitting the road. I’m excited to have my music on a record. My newest thing now is working on my own DIY start-up label called Realtone Recordings, which I’m going to be releasing my single on. The label is run completely independently from the recording process to the production of the record. The label will be dedicated to Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, and all things primal. So I can’t wait to see where that goes. I have a website that stays pretty up to date, so sign up for that. I send out a mailing list letter roughly every two weeks. You can sign up at www.matchstickjohnny.com.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
The internet and adapting to this new shift of how information is delivered and how much you wanna buy into it.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I have a Bandcamp, which is probably the best way if you wanted to support me. I’m also on iTunes, Spotify, all those. I also have music videos on Youtube.

I’m setting up a pre-order for my new single “Let Me Tell You About My Baby.”

All of that information is going to be on my website. All you would need to do is plug in your email at the top, and it stays pretty up to date.

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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