Martha is the daughter of folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and sister of acclaimed singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Born in New York City and raised in Montreal, she spent her childhood immersed in music and often performing with her parents. She took the first step in her own recording career in 1998 when she contributed her song “Year of the Dragon” to her mother and aunt’s album The McGarrigle Hour. The same year she started singing back-up for her brother both live and on record.
After leaving college, Martha moved to New York City and distinguished herself almost immediately.
Martha released a self-titled EP as well as a four-song EP called Factory in 2002. In February 2005 Wainwright released an EP called Bloody Motherfu*king As*hole, followed by the eponymous Martha Wainwright in April to great critical and commercial acclaim. In the January 2005 issue of Mojo Norah Jones listed her as one of the “best things she heard all year.” London’s Sunday Times included “Bloody Mother Fu*king As*hole” in their songs of the year and Rolling Stone called BMFA “a blistering prelude to her debut album.” Throughout her career, Martha has also contributed to albums by Dan Bern, Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Rufus Wainwright, Snow Patrol and Teddy Thompson among others.
A dynamic performer, Martha was a part of the acclaimed Leonard Cohen tribute concert in May 2004 at Brighton’s Dome Concert Hall. Martha also took a turn performing on film in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and contributed two songs to the soundtrack of American independent film P.S. starring Laura Linney and directed by Dylan Kidd. Martha joined her brother on his fall 2004 UK dates to rapt audiences and has also supported artists such as Cyndi Lauper and Van Morrison, Neko Case, Snow Patrol, Pete Townshend and Sean Lennon among others over the last few years.
Undoubtedly her own person, with her own sense of style, Martha creates her own music with an extraordinary versatile and compelling voice.
Martha is set to return with her third studio album, Come Home To Mama, via Cooperative Music in the U.S. on October 16th. The album is her first collection of original music in four years and was produced by Yuka C. Honda of Cibo Matto. Recorded earlier this year, mostly at Sean Lennon’s home studio in New York City, Come Home To Mama displays the passionate angst of her 2005 eponymous debut coupled with the twisted pop of 2008’s I Know Your Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too. Yuka and Martha have created an edgy, multi-instrumental soundscape that showcases Martha’s raw, confessional poetry with undeniable style and grace. The captivating 10-song set features performances from Yuka Honda, Nels Cline (Wilco), Sean Lennon, Jim White (Dirty Three), Brad Albetta and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman).
During the winter of 2009 and 2010, Martha gave birth to her first child and her mother passed away. Confronted with both joy and anger, the songs on Come Home To Mama are, at times, aggressive and forceful, but also the most reflective of Martha’s songs to date. She stated, “This record is a culmination of my life experiences so far. Everything changed for me a couple of years ago and this record is a representation of that and a return to the reason I started writing songs.” Martha continued, “I’ve made this record as a motherless child and as a mother. Two things I had never been before. For me, it is a new beginning.”
Regarding Yuka C. Honda’s production, Martha stated, “Making this record was a totally different experience. Yuka’s approach was very open. Sometimes I would just demo the song, singing in the closet, which served as the vocal booth, then she would build the track around that. In other instances we would jam with a few musicians and try and get a live take. I don’t think I’ve ever sung this hard, played this hard, or tried this hard.”
Come Home To Mama follows Martha Wainwright’s live collection of Edith Piaf songs, Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris in 2009 and Martha has plans to tour and perform worldwide starting Nov 2012 in Europe and in North America in 2013.