kristi martel



People have asked, "Why kmetal? You're music isn't metal!"
So, here's an answer...but eventually I might get the whole story up here, if you are persistent.


met-al (13c) 1: any of various opaque, fusible, ductile, and typically lustrous substances that are good conductors of electricity and heat
2 a: METTLE 2a b: the material or substance out of which a person or thing is made

met-tle (1581) 1:quality of temperament or disposition 2 a: vigor and strength of spirit or temperament b: staying quality: STAMINA

So...Persistence has finally paid off. :)

Once upon a time, Kristi Martel was known for the extended vocal techniques she used to express all kinds of emotion in her full-length performance art pieces. Extended vocal techniques include any sound one can make with their voice, and Kristi specialized in doing these odd sounds without hurting her voice and with incredible stamina. The overtone singing she did was described as a metallic sound. She started using kmetal as her email address for this reason: her voice had a metallic quality.

Around the same time (we're talking early 90's) her mom thought some of her work was slanderous because she was telling hard stories about her childhood. Kristi considered changing her name or at least adopting a stage name, to help out her mom.

Some backstory: Kristi's father's father's father's surname was "Matelski." When he traveled to the states from Poland, the immigration officer shortened his name to "Matel." When his son, Kristi's grandfather, went to school, the teacher called, "Henry Martel?" and grampy said, "Here!" He was the firstborn, and his younger siblings' birth certificates read, "Martel." His driver license said, "Martel," even though his birth certificate said, "Matel." And that is how a name is changed.

Kristi didn't find this out until her great grandmother was in the hospital and she read the tag at the end of great-grammy's bed, shocked that it did not match her own last name. She was 13 at the time.

So...when she considered stage names, "Metal" appealed as a last name, because it so well described her vocal tone, and also because it was such a subtle switch from "Matel."

She performed as "Kristi Metal" for about 3 months in early 1997. She was amazed at how quickly the name took off. Over a year later, people still asked if she was Kristi Metal, even though she had long since decided to stick by her birth name. It just felt more right to keep it.

But she did always like the definition of "mettle" and how it suited her and her life's work. She created a 6-voice overtone singing tape piece in 1993 called "Mettle (Metal)." And when she designed her website in 2000, "kmetal" stuck. :)

The End.




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