Biography - printable BIO
kristi martelavant-soul piano diva

"Kristi Martel loves life, and the joy she gets out of it exudes from her every pore. She can be singing about the darkest things in the world - betrayal, self-hate, death - and yet somehow, coming from her, it feels hopeful and uplifting."
-Marion Davis, Motif Magazine

"Kristi Martel is a breed unto herself in the world of singer songwriters. She sounds like no one else. Unafraid of the quirks in her character, she mines her inner conflicts in an unembarrassing and daring way. Her musical vocabulary is wild and varied without ever being beyond control.
...smart-hearted artist."
-Patrick Arena, Outvoice & PittsburghOUT


When Kristi Martel was 3 she was making up harmonies; when she was 5 she was coming home from musicals to pick out their melodies on her step-mother's piano; her father got her a piano on her 7th birthday...

Today, Kristi Martel's sweet presence, stunning vocals, intricate piano rhythms, and fearless songwriting endear audiences nationwide.

"...love emanates from every note." - Vienna Teng

"Incomparable!" - Utah Phillips

"Damn!" - Cesca Waterfield

Featured on MTV/LOGO, NPR, WERS, in Curve Magazine, and voted Rhode Island's Best Alt-Rock Female Vocalist, 2011 MacColl Johnson Fellowship Finalist and avant-soul piano diva Kristi Martel grew up in New England and left in 1990 to earn an ASCAP grant and two music degrees (Bard and Mills College) before beginning her touring and recording career.

Kristi's piano playing combines her love of blues dissonance and syncopation with her classical training. Her powerful voice is at once sweet and bitter, able to leap and soar, whisper and rattle, expressive of any emotion she chooses and fluid throughout her range. She is visionary in her lyrics and composition, writing her prayers and quirky autobiographical narratives in the same breath.

Through Sealed Lip Records, Kristi has released seven CDs. "Ravengirl" is Kristi's goofy joke superhero name for herself, her recognition of the crazy blessing it is that she felt joy everyday, amidst the profound grief, after her former life partner's suicide in 2003. This newest album is full up with that joy, with the healing and transformation Kristi has undergone to be singing still so powerfully today.

Kristi has recorded and released demos for her next full-length CD, "Sacred Whore." She is currently working on a release of the remaining four demos, on vinyl! The work is more jazz and soul, and focuses on the universal in our human experience and our need for inner and world peace.

HONORS
2011 Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Finalist
December 2009 Outmusic Awards Performance
2008 MTV/LOGO Homophonic Interview Feature
2007 Solarfest Singer Songwriter Competition Finalist
June 2007 Curve Magazine Interview
January 2007 NPR's Open Mic Feature
November 2006 WERS 88.9fm's Artist of the Week
October 2006 Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge Winner
2006 We Are Listening Singer Songwriter Awards Honourable Mention
2006 Solarfest Singer Songwriter Competition Finalist
Voted RI's Best Alt-Rock Female Vocalist in 2006 by Motif Magazine
2005 NEMO Emerging Artist Competition Semi-Finalist
2004 12th Annual Billboard World Songwriting Contest Honorable Mention
2004 SongPrize International Song Competition Honorable Mention
2004 Music-Tech Indie Artist Showcase Semi-Finalist
2004 DM Southwest Independent Music World Series Semi-Finalist
2004 North By Northeast Music Festival & Conference Finalist
2003 Reach Semi-Finalist
1994 ASCAP Foundation Grant for Young Composers (received highest award for her two-voice piece When Outside Gets Inside Through the Skin)


VENUES
Kristi tours nationally in clubs, cafes, ecovillages, concert halls, colleges, festivals, and house concerts, including
Webster Hall, The Knitting Factory, Meow Mix, PS 122, CB's Gallery NYC
Nietzche's, Roxy's Greenroom Buffalo NY
Bard College Annandale NY
University of New Hampshire Durham NH
2004 Boston Pride, Club Passim, Lizard Lounge, WERS, Felt, Milky Way, Simmons College Boston MA
2005 & 2006 & 2007 RI Pride, Blackstone River Theatre, Stone Soup, AS220, The Hi Hat Jazz Club Providence RI
World Cafe Live Philadelphia PA
Babes Richmond VA
Temple Ball DeLaLuz Performance Space Carrboro NC
Bosendorfer Hall Raleigh NC
Namaste Center Asheville NC
Coffee Underground Greeneville SC
The Art Bar Toronto ON
Crazy Wisdom Ann Arbor MI
Abundance Ecovillage, Cafe Paradiso Fairfield IA
The Music Cafe Columbia MO
Alley Cantina, Eske's Brew Pub, Taos Inn Taos NM
OUToberFEST at Reid Park-DeMeester Center Tuscon AZ
Seattle Art Museum Seattle WA
Mississippi Pizza Pub, Portland State University Portland OR
Cafe Paradiso Eugene OR
Southern Oregon University, Ashland OR
Hopland Women's Festival Hopland CA
Russian River Women's Weekend Guerneville CA
Rose Street House of Music, Blake's Berkeley CA
The Nameless Oakland CA
Yoshi's, Bazaar Cafe, Kimo's Nightclub, Dolores Park Cafe San Francisco CA
Cayuga Vault, University of California at Santa Cruz Santa Cruz CA
14 Below Santa Monica CA
Genghis Cohen Los Angeles CA
Twiggs, Claire de Lune's, University of California at San Diego San Diego CA



PERFORMED WITH
Margie Adam, Gwen Avery, Garrin Benfield, Edie Carey, Alix Dobkin, Cliff Eberhardt, Melissa Ferrick, Ferron, Holly Figueroa, Fred Frith, Littlebird, Erika Luckett, Erin McKeown, Jason Mraz, Peter Mulvey, Pauline Oliveros, Doria Roberts, Dar Williams.


SLR RELEASES

Firewater (SLR12, digital single) April 2011
Blessed Community
(SLR11, digital single) February 2011
Seeds
(SLR10, digital single) December 2010
The Sacred Whore Demos
(SLR9, CD LP) June 2009
Ravengirl
(SLR8, CD LP) October 2006
Quaint & Curious Ravendemos
(SLR7, CD LP) August 2005
The Mule
(SLR6, CD LP) March 2004
bound
(SLR5, CD single) July 2003
brave enough
(SLR4, CD LP) November 2001
give me a little...
(SLR3, CD EP) October 2000
With Mouth and Hands
(SLR2, cassette) September 1998
4-track and live recordings
(SLR1, cassette) August 1996