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The Providence Pheonix
Hit Rolfe Square for Artists' Exchange's New Music Festival
...part of a fantastic and diverse roster, which ranges from Kristi Martel to the Anne's Cordial."
(and the article features my picture)
by Chris Conti, June 21, 2011

The Noise: Rock Around Boston (CD Review)
Sealed Lip Records
The Scared Whore Demos
8 tracks
The Sacred Whore Demos has to be one of the most beautiful CDs I've heard in a very long time. It's very basic musically. It's just Kristi and her piano. It's amazing how such a timeless formula can still sound so good. This is a musical diary, a place where Kristi lets us into her darkest places. She leads us through painful memories, happy moments, and feelings of confusion - but mostly she brings a positive feeling of empowerment. She stands tall in "Warrior Daughter" when she says, "I am your warrior daughter/ fighting for you to love yourself wholly." In "Dear Sister" she writes an open letter to a younger sibling, wishing with a cautious apprehension to make sure her future husband really is the right one, "because we all change with time." "Blessed Community" explains openly her reasoning why she gets so deep and personal, "Here, I can be myself/ And here, I can look right at you/ Here, I can sing the song of my soul/ And I will be heard by you." If you've been lacking a strong opinionated woman expressing her deepest thoughts unfiltered, I recommend adding this CD to your collection."
by Melvin O, February 2011

The Providence Phoenix - 8 DAYS a Week
"RAPTURE: A set of pipes, a sense of purpose, and plenty of poignancy -- KRISTI MARTEL has aligned all the essentials on The Sacred Whore Demos (Sealed Lip). She's also known as a passionate performer. See for yourself at AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence. The Awesome Something, Full Void, and Big Benny B share the bill at 9pm | $6 | 401.831.9327 |"
by Jim Macnie, 31 December 2010

iTunes Preview
"This is an impressive initial release that many seasoned performers would be ecstatic to present to the public. It reveals a portion of what she is capable of now and at the same time reveals hints of what is to come. It is both a complete work and the beginning of a career that knows no limits. It displays traces of such eclectic interests as Ani DiFranco and Joni Mitchell, and the power of voice and the phrasing brings to mind the spells that Billie Holiday used to weave. Her voice is her main instrument and it can be at times subtle and soft or on other occasions a powerful torrent that sweeps you along with it. Her delivery is ever changing and this helps to make this a very interesting and impressive disc. The lyrics and songs are intelligent without being obscure and quirky. Yet she is unafraid of disclosing her quirks in an unabashed and delightful way. She wrote all the words and music on this disc as well as accompanying herself on piano and vocals."
by Bob Gottlieb, Rovi
"Kristi Martel says Prince is biggest influence on her music...From the age of 11 and after seeing the Purple Rain tour live, Providence, Rhode Island pianist/singer KRISTI MARTEL has always had Prince as her biggest influence on her own music. She stopped by the Upper Room with Joe Kelley & Gi Dussault and WVOF for an interview to promote her most heartfelt album to date "Ravengirl". The chat is airing in the 24 hour mix at The Upper Room with Joe Kelley.
by Joe Kelley, July 2007

Curve Magazine Interview
Kristi Martel
"Rhode Island-based singer, songwriter, composer and pianist Kristi Martel dives into an emotional abyss and lives to tell about it on Ravengirl, her fifth full-length release on Sealed Lip Records. Martel has shared the stage with Melissa Ferrick and Jason Mraz, played in venues from Kimo's in San Francisco to New York's famed Knitting Factory, and spent the spring touring both solo and with the Kristi Martel Trio."
Read the interview by Jaime Roca for Curve Magazine, June 2007

January 5, 2007: NPR's Open Mic Feature: Kristi Martel: 'Littlebird's Flight'

Bay Windows Interview
"...This fall saw the release of her sixth CD, Ravengirl, and the music press has started to take notice... It's a clich to call songs personal, but that's the first word that comes to mind about Ravengirl, a beautiful and beautifully honest examination of the death of Martel's partner... Martel brushes aside the notion that this is brave work... The world seems to be responding to Martel's energy and optimism. She'll be featured on NPR soon, and Curve magazine wants to interview her. She'll also be stepping up her touring schedule, and has big ideas for the future."
Read the whole interview by Brian Jewell for Bay Windows, December 14, 2006

Kristi Martel - Ravengirl -- "There's something downright uncanny about the way Kristi speaks to her fans... Her performance, her lyrics, the way she holds herself, and the way she dances (literally and on the keys) when she sings...she is, in essence a true storyteller. But, more than that- she's like a spirit guide- as she takes you through her emotional experience, pain, and joy, holding your hand the entire way as if she's known you your entire life. She's a true artist who's mastered her form, and composes rich music, writes emotionally shocking lyrics, and possesses a four-octave range that is simply amazing... Ultimately, Ravengirl is a masterpiece.
Read the whole article by Leslie Piken for Sealed Lip Records, December 2006

WERS 88.9fm Interview
"On November 22, Kristi Martel visited the WERS studio for an on-air performance. Just like her live shows, the set was beautiful and showcased her unique style of music."
WERS Interviews, November 29, 2006

WERS 88.9fm's Artist of the Week: Kristi Martel
"There must be a ton going on in Kristi Martel's head. You'll get this impression from the structure of her music. In nearly every song in her 2006 release 'Ravengirl,' the intricacies are so slight but strongly crafted...The depth and diversity of her music should be no wonder, really...She plays directly to the emotion of every track. Best of all, she's a startling lyricist to compliment her trained voice. To aid her anti-folk, somber-sounding music, she puts together beautiful arrangements of dark words...Her music will undoubtedly merit her assimilations to Fiona Apple. Her voice will shoot her comparisons to Bjork. Her lyrics will, and have, draw her Ani DiFranco fans. But, need not worry, she's not Ani DiFranco-depressed yet. She album is filled with a lot of quirk and a fair amount of fun...'Ravengirl' has already earned a 'highly recommended' from the Providence Journal. The Providence Phoenix, usually a tough crowd, bragged of her 'meaningful lyrics, passionate performances, and an emotional mission.' You'd worry that this could get to her head and maybe effect her music. But, in the head of Kristi Martel, there may not be enough room left for arrogance."
Read the whole article by Ben Collins for WERS Boston, November 2006

"Pouring it all out -- THE JOY OF HEALING: Martel celebrates life of her new disc.
For many, the tired adage 'honesty is the best policy' is just that, an antiquated expression. But for Kristi Martel, it's been one of the keys to her be truly ecstatic after hearing Ravengirl...Martel proves that she's a powerful storyteller, with meaningful lyrics, passionate performances, and an emotional mission."
Read the whole article by Bob Gulla for The Providence Phoenix, October 20, 2006

Kristi Martel -- Ravengirl: "In this arresting, intense and surprisingly uplifting album, Martel works out some of her feelings about her lover's suicide...raw awareness, bemused and hurt but grateful and joyous, ...makes Ravengirl so compelling. The album begins with the eerie instrumental "Oya," a sort of rite of passage easing us into Martel's psyche. Martel then wraps us in the gentle "Day of Rain," a song about the day you realize the crying is finally over and are able to look back, calm and clear-eyed. The collage of memories that follows is tinted with the full spectrum of emotion, and Martel's nimble voice constantly shifts with the music... "I am doing fine, I am doing fine," she bubbles; it's not some ironic mantra or attempt at manifesting, just a cheerful chorus of simple truth. She's doing fine indeed, and the album soars way above fine."
Read the whole article by Brian Jewell for Bay Windows, October 19, 2006

Kristi Martel -- Ravengirl: "Singer Kristi Martel has a booming, beautiful voice and sets it to strong, sensitive original compositions on "Ravengirl." Highly recommended."
by Rick Massimo for The Providence Journal, October 19, 2006

"Kristi's spirit flows with music, and as Buddy Mondluck insightfully observed, her command of her instruments is uncommon and dazzling."
Craig Werth, Songwriter, October 2006

Kristi Martel -- Ravengirl: "Kristi has a rare voice with exceptional range that she tinkers and toys with throughout Ravengirl, as she does during live performances. In the CD's included booklet, each track has a preamble which serves as backstory to the song. Much of who Kristi is, is reflected in her music...Kristi is clearly a gifted pianist with a sweet voice that does justice to illustrating her words...Kristi Martel is an extremely talented artist, who has already proven herself in the fields of not only recording, but also performance art." Read the whole Motif Magazine review by Don DiMuccio, October 18, 2006

Kristi Martel -- Ravengirl: "Kristi is a true avant-soul piano diva. Her voice is sweet and gutsy; her lyrics, spiritually enriching...Her most recent CD, 'Ravengirl,' is a gem -- a musical catharsis. Most of the songs were written after an eleven-month writer's block following the death of former life partner and music collaborator, Littlebird...But not all of 'Ravengirl' is about Littlebird. The CD opens with 'Oya!,' a powerful invocation naming the album as an offering...hear for yourself why her four-octave range vocals earned her this year's 'Best Alt-Rock Female Vocalist' in the Motif Magazine music polls."
Read the whole review by Mary Ann Rossoni for GET Magazine, October 2006

Kristi Martel -- Give Me a Little...: "'Give Me a Little,' though seemingly the effort of a much more accomplished artist, is the first release of Rhode Island singer-songwriter Kristi Martel. At just four tracks and sixteen minutes long this EP is short and intense; each song beautifully crafted leaving the listener wanting more.
Read the whole review by Taelor Richards Australian Fan, June 2006

Kristi Martel -- Quaint & Curious Ravendemos: "Poet, singer and troublemaker Kristi Martel flies words alongside sprite lyrics to grow stunning Americana powerchick gems. From 'Harder Than Dying:' 'I still need the ocean here almost like you did there. / But I am not a bird. I will not fly away home. I will keep my feet planted on this shore / 'til it's my time to go. Living is harder than dying, and truth is harder than lying. My roots dig deeper than your flying / pulled me to sky. You wanted to fly. So fly away, Littlebird. You are my truest home still. And here in my heart you live: alive alive alive!' My top picks: 'Harder Than Dying,' 'Ravengirl,' 'Photophobia,' and 'Littlebird's Flight (Radio Edit).'"
From San Francisco Bay Times' Music Beyond Boundaries, by DJ Pusspuss, January 5, 2006

Kristi Martel -- Brave Enough: "Martel is a singer/songwriter pianist whose catchy pop melodies and exhuberance should draw in most listeners. There's a strong Ani DiFranco influence in her strident feminist content, but I also hear traces of Tori Amos and Sarah MacLachlan in her singing style. The sensitivity of her lyrics and bravado of her performance elevates her above the mediocrity of many of her sister keyboardists.
From Acoustic Live's review of the NERFA Conference, December 2005

Got Range
"Kristi Martel can handle rock vocals, or folk, or the RI Philharmonic.

Kristi Martel finds joy in overcoming pain. Kristi Martel's got that grin again. It fills her whole face, girlish and disarming, like she's gotten away with something and you're in on her secret now. She grins when she's being goofy, but also when she's on stage, singing her heart out.

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."
Read the whole skillfully written and honest article by Marion Davis for Motif Magazine, May 2005

"...powerfully emotive piano-based music that comes from a storytelling territory though is personal, too. Kristi Martel has a strong voice, musical style and presence...a force to be reckoned with...varied, intelligent, and expressive..."
Neile Graham, the Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music, September 2004

About her album, The Mule...
"Kristi Martel is refreshing and unique among singer-songwriters today. She employs post-classical piano and the dramatic vocal style of Twentieth Century Music art song in delivering the lyrics of real life. She is a middle point between Tori Amos and Diamanda Galas. Fans of Laura Nyro will also appreciate this powerful, dynamic musician that combines exquisite technique with a hip, natural style. (4.5)"
Tom "Tearaway" Schulte, Outsight, August 2004

"Kristi Martel infuses her music with passion and pain, creating a revealing self-portrait. Her music is simple yet complex, with lyrics that bore right into the listener's soul, compensating and fostering commercial appeal." **Four Stars**
Music-Tech.Net Indie Artist Showcase, July 2004

"A true New Englander returns: Although dealing with personal travails, singer/songwriter Kristi Martel perseveres with new tour, album..."
Read the whole Interview with Tony Giampetruzzi, associate editor for In Newsweekly's 2004 Pride Guide

"Kristi Martel's The Mule floats dreams and is also part homage to Littlebird, her partner who tragically died days before production ensued. Sweetly introspective, folk-rocking lilts and forlorn diatribes ala Laurie Anderson or Ani DiFranco will lift you to a better cloud. My picks: Give, Honeymoon, My Torn In Two, Aged, Carrying Stories, Carry It On, The Maiden And Her Master, Hooker, Carry Me, When Outside Gets Inside Through The Skin & Road Song."
Benji Holmann, Music Editor, SF Spectrum, April 2004

"There's this thing Kristi Martel does with her voice. The first time I played Brave Enough, it shut me up and made me say, 'Damn!'
That's just her voice. As a pianist and songwriter, Martel does not shy from her feminism. She seems to shy from nothing. Her voice sometimes evokes Bjork's but it is more soulful, more post-punk Laura Nyro. She looks head-on at issues like feminine body image and self-esteem, sex, dying, the power of community, and the challenges and favor of intimacy. But as the liner notes wisely recommend, 'play this thing loud.' Brave Enough is part groove diary, part social exegesis, and a whole lot of fun."
Cesca Waterfield, Expository Magazine, October 2003

"Kristi Martel started the evening off with her solo act. Martel's great voice was only outdone by her keyboarding, but I just couldn't help thinking to myself, 'what in the Ani DiFranco is going on in here?' Her oppressed feminist lyrics just reminded me too much of Ani, and that didn't sit well with me. A cute girl who lived in my dorm dragged me to see an Ani show at Centennial Hall a few years back. At the time I liked Ani, but a high school feminazi had to go and punch me in the back of the head during one of her more anti-male songs. I felt like the victim of a hate crime. Ani DiFranco was the sound track to that horrible experience. Kristi Martel brought back all those bad memories, but I couldn't blame her for that. Despite my own delusions, Martel's set was enjoyable."
rchristie,, October 13, 2003

"Martel is a singer-songwriter with a great deal to say, and she says it extremely well. Her greatest challenge will be, if she chooses to go for wide recognition, how to remain a class act as she becomes a mass act. More than one independent artist has run aground while trying to navigate those particular straits."
Mitch Pravatiner, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music, September 2003

"a fine musician...incomparable!"
Utah Phillips, Folk Artist and Storyteller, January 2003

"She grins when she sings. Watching her perform, it's impossible not to get swept up in the sheer joy of music -- in her deft piano playing and soaring, soul-rhythm-and-blues voice, love emanates from every note."
Vienna Teng, Songwriter and Pianist, January 2003

"The common and despised stereotype is the redheaded songwriter at a piano being compared to Tori Amos. This comparison should not be considered for Kristi Martel. Her lyrics speak through this record with their own tongue. Her voice has a brassy sly accent that gives the songs a risky edge. Martel's CD, Brave Enough, has songs from seven years and bounces between the time periods and the moods."
Artist of the Month July 2002

Why did you choose the title Brave Enough for your album title?
"Brave enough is a lyric in the song 'Honor.' I am sort of pointing out the irony of an ex saying over and again that I wasn't brave enough for certain things, while she wasn't brave enough for others. At the end of the song I repeat that she wasn't brave enough to honor me. I think one of the most radical acts we can do in this society is to honor ourselves. In a culture of buy-this-item-to-fix-your-life, it takes a lot of insight and determination to stick to your guns and believe in your intuition and convictions. Both throughout my life and in particular after that relationship, I began to notice many ways in which I am brave. And often people have told me that after seeing my performance art. So I decided that being brave enough to honor me was a good metaphor for what I do as a working musician. I don't have a day job. I honor my calling and do my work. I am brave enough to tell my stories directly. I am brave enough to tour all over the country solo with my 80-pound keyboard and my subaru forester. And really, just getting up in front of hundreds of people and singing your heart out over and over about completely original, true and personal material is brave, right?"
from Ruby World's Girlmedia interview, 2002

"Kristi Martel... is known for mercurial vocal expressiveness and for the daring visionary lyricism she brings to her treatment of her inner conflicts."
Hobart, Booker, May 2002

"Kristi Martel is Barbra Streisand meets Liz Phair."
Ben Carson, Composer and Critic, April 2002

Read the Liberty Press review of Brave Enough and an interview with Kristi Martel
Julie Greco, April 2002.

"Kristi Martel's dynamic and skillful phrasing, an ever-changing component of her delivery, makes this vocal album [Brave Enough] an impressive effort. Tracks like 'Silver' offer the charming, hip style of electric neo-folk artist Ani DiFranco. However, Martel builds on this with sophisticated jazz improvisation delivered naturally and easily, as on the climax of 'See You Sweet.' (4.5)"
Tom 'Tearaway' Schulte,, March 2002

"Not since Ann Margaret sang Viva Las Vegas with Elvis, has a redhead made such an impact on music! Kristi is the real thing--a first rate diva with a voice that will break your heart! Buy up all her CDs now as they are sure to be collectors' items when the big wigs sign her."
Denise Duhamel, Poet, July 2001

"Headliner Kristi Martel then electrified the crowd with a strong and varied set that ended with a long jam between the three featured performers. Kristi's outgoing stage presence and fluid keyboard work set the stage for a voice that is unique yet familiar, with echoes of Rickie Lee Jones and Ani DiFranco..."
Tim Baldwin, Indiegrrl, July 2001

"...Devoting her entire life to music has given Kristi the ability to shape her career at her own pace... Her knowledge of music and her added experience with performance art comes through clearly in a live format. With the descending dusk as a backdrop, Kristi Martel's songs were matched only by her expressions in their emotional intensity... With her vocal range, beautiful musicianship and eclectic sound, Kristi Martel let the audience into her mind. Instead of music for the sole purpose of entertainment, Kristi's music takes audiences through an entire range of emotions and ideas..."
Chris Polson, Santa Cruz Guide, July 2001

"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. artist."
Patrick Arena, Outvoice & PittsburghOUT, February 2001

"...Stylistically reminiscent of Joni Mitchell in her phrasing, lyrical content and vocal sculpting, she delves into identity, memory, gender issues and relationships...Lyrically, her songs paint varied pictures of a modern-day soul on the edge. She delves into issues with parents, wonders why loneliness is everywhere and what might be an antidote, spits out anger against games and miscommunication in a failing relationship, spiritedly kicks a lover out of her bed and her life, and proclaims her own strength...she paints a picture of a rocky childhood, which laid foundation for her own artist-activist stance..."
Stacy Trevenon, Half Moon Bay Review, January 2001

"An excellent singer."
Rita Felciano, SF Bay Guardian, December 2000

"Raw beauty"
Bonnianne Boroson, singer-songwriter, 2000

"An excellent singer, she chanted, warbled, improvised, throwing off multiphonics with the greatest of ease."
Rita Felciano, San Francisco Report, January 2000

Read the LUMMOX Journal Kristi Martel interview by Raindog, November 1999.

"a powerful musi-scape by composer Kristi Martel... Composer Martel (recent graduate from Mills College) creates a haunting sound collage of voices (both live and pre-recorded), piano and tape loops. The theme is self-image and eating disorders, done in a way that brings the heartbreak and inherent pathos of these topics into view without 'jerking the chain' of the listener. There are no buzz-words or cheap theatrics in this piece. It is honest and genuinely touching. A very moving recording.
Raindog, LUMMOX Journal, October 1999

"Great work. This tape was sent to me by Kristi who seems to be running around with Mills College crew ov people(john bischoff, circular firing squad...artifact people?). Different as hell for sure though, anything that Tunnel has bothered to review. I usually actually really hate vocal stuff, it drives me nuts, but i liked this tape (and i'm not doing the review to be nice). This tape carried alot ov emotion, along with the extremely sweet and beautiful vocals ov Kristi Martel. Some ov the work is not exactly words that you may recognize, others are spoken word pieces. My favorite was the Tickling piece, which was very, very well done. It described her being tickled by a drunk father and friend, a death ov a friend, air being pushed out. Very appropriate wording throughout the entire piece, and interesting words throughout it. Kristi's voice is powerful, yet tangy at the same time, not typical in any respect. Piano pieces are also thrown in here, which i liked best actually..her wavering sung whispers had an effect, soothing can't exactly describe it. Maybe releasing? Sometimes, you listen to black metal and feel like all the anger is being released....not much other music which isn't very harsh doesn't sound like that, or may I say, FEEL like that. Something in this, twisted me, that I would listen to this when i went to bed this past week, and i thought alot about things i had gone through, people i'd met, sad situations...and maybe the good, that actually came out ov them. That's what this tape made me feel. It ain't no goth crap, where it's a dead end sucking feeling sometimes...this has hope? there are others that sing and do instruments in this aswell.. suhc as Elissa Kammer, Gilda Lyons, Akire Bubar, Aisha DaCosta, and Carmel Holt. Side 2 is lots ov fun! Borderlands is fun with lil bits ov percussion. Hey, i forgot, the book she sent me that was to be distributed at her performance, says how this tape is alot about relationships and identities- exactly the best way to describe. Some ov the stereophonic manipulations really added affect. Bob Boster also manipulated the voice and this really shined through on side two. with gasps and enthralled emotions slowly being puttered out through the mouth. For all you kids out there who think you're too cool for vocal music, or something as sensitive as this, I SLAP YOU! maybe lots ov other stuff blows, but this tape and Kristi Martel seriously know how to make something interesting and appealing and straight up good enough, that somebody like me, or most likely, YOU, enjoy it.
Kush, Tunnel Magazine, July 1998

"Diamanda Galas, eat your heart out!"
Peter Perez, Art Music Collector, April 1998