Jazz, drum & bass, and a little bit of that soul. Gabriela Martina sings about joy, flowers, humans, longing, despair, temptations, failure, different tastes, narcissus, tears, fire, growth, and curiosity.
Born in Lucerne, Switzerland, GABRIELA MARTINA was no stranger to urban settings before
moving to Boston MA, USA. But she spent her childhood in a bucolic idyll, amidst a family
dairy farm surrounded by orchards. The third of four children in a tight-knit working class
family, she grew up in a highly musical environment. At the age of five, she discovered her
passion for singing while yodeling with her family’s traditional Swiss group.
Realizing her calling to perform, she studied music in high school, and spent one year in
London at the Vocaltech Music School. Drawn to African-American music, she spent several
years studying at the Jazzschool in Lucerne, all the while saving money to come study in the
United States. In the meantime she became a ubiquitous presence on the Swiss scene,
performing with an array of bands (including Talking Loud, Soulvirus, and the pop-rock group
PinkBliss), the electro/urban trio Aromat, an a cappella duo Not2help, and her own jazz duo
with pianist Luzia von Wyl. She never gave up on her ambition to study jazz at its source.
Thriving during her two years at Berklee College of Music, she had the opportunity to perform
and collaborate with heavyweights like Meshell Ndegeocello, Jack DeJohnette, and Angelique
Kidjo. She recorded with veteran drummer J.R. Robinson and performed at 2009 Montreux
Jazz Festival with guitarist Lee Ritenour’s band as a semi-finalist in the Shure Voice
Martina released a critically hailed EP in 2010, Curiosity, which included her original song
“Ain’t Nobody”, a finalist in the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Awards 2012.
Performing around US East Coast and beyond, she honed her original repertoire with her band
at clubs around the region, particularly The Beehive in Boston, MA.
Her upcoming album No White Shoes, due out in 2015, represents a major step in the singer’s
sojourn as a 21st century musician exploring an array of influences, styles and issues, a
journey that’s intoxicating and utterly unpredictable.