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Les Martin
Les Martin’s award-winning song ‘Feel the Burn’ recalls the best ballads of Styx and GNR - but updates them with a jawdropping speedmetal interlude. The result is one of the best rock ballads of recent years.

Self-taught musician Les Martin describes himself as a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Northern California. He originally sought to license his work to other singers, but it was not long before his original renditions became popular. Martin is a phenomenal axeman, but unlike legendary shredders like Satriani and Vai he doesn't allow his talent to overwhelm his music - at the compositional level, or in production later. His latest single ‘Feel the Burn’ is a soulful but explosive rock ballad that is quickly climbing the radio charts, and Martin's command of the genre's form and nuances suggests a readiness for wide exposure to its adherents. Reporter Lily Clark recently caught up with him to learn more about the development of this remarkable song and the various features of his personal history that conspired to bring it forth from a notional state.

LILY: When When did you first discover your love of music?
LES: When I was a young child my two older brothers were old school rockers and would come home with albums from some of the greats. That was the beginning. Then one of them got a guitar and it was all over from there. Every time he'd leave the house I would sneak in his room and attempt to play it for hours. My parents took notice of my love for music and bought me my first guitar then. I loved it so much they had to limit my playing time. That was the beginning...

LILY: Your song ‘Feel The Burn’ is receiving a strong listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard it played?
LES: It's always nice to hear your music on a national radio station. But I am a perfectionist - I perceive the flaws and know that I can do much better.

LILY: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
LES: To give hope to people who have been hurt in relationships, and to let them know that Love is out there if you open yourself up to it.

LILY: Would you say that the mood of your other songs is in the same vein as ‘Feel The Burn’?
LES: I keep imagining Toni Braxton re-recording this song and making it her own. Remember 'Unbreak My Heart'? This would be a great follow-up song. If you read this Toni… I wrote your next hit!

LILY: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician?
LES: I love humor. I tend toward a combination of serious and down to earth.

LILY: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
LES: I am a self-taught musician. A lot of the greats are, too. I never learned theory, it just came naturally to me.

LILY: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
LES: There's nothing like the creative process of writing songs. I really do enjoy that and find it very rewarding and exciting to develop new ideas. The challenging part is translating what you hear in your mind, making it come to life in a recording.

LILY: Who are your role models in music?
LES: Man... where do I start? I am kinda old school ... Paul Rodgers of Bad Company's soulful, soothing voice. Eddie Van Halen's groundbreaking guitar playing. The list goes on and on… Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Buckethead… I love great guitar playing.

LILY: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
LES: That would be tough to say.

LILY: Do you have a music video for your hit single? If so, what can you tell us about it?
LES: Not yet…

LILY: Thank you for your time, Les. Wishing you continued success.


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