Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
More than halfway into his European tour, Chris Martin is having a good time singing to the ladies in packed venues.
Martin left Jamaica over a week ago for a 12-city tour that sees him performing in at least four countries. On the weekend he spoke to The Gleaner from his hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he was due to perform on Saturday night.
"It's been going good. It's been more than good, it's been excellent," said the entertainer, who was speaking just about an hour after he arrived in Gothenburg for his eighth stop on the tour. He had just flown in from Stockholm where he performed the night before and was communicating on Skype.
"The turnouts have been nice and the people have been enjoying the music."
The best show up to that point was at a concert hall called Melkweg in Amsterdam where more than 1400 persons turned up at the venue designed for 1500.
"The support so far for every show has been great. Every show has been packed. From Amsterdam, Cologne was packed, and the good thing about it is that it's mostly girls that come out to the shows," he said, smiling even though the fatigue on his face was evident.
"You really get to see that it's mostly the girls I sing for. The girls outnumber the men like three or four to one."
Martin's manager Lydon 'Kingy' Lettman is very pleased about the way things have gone so far. What he has seen has made him proud of the strides Martin has made in the past few years.
"As soon as it's showtime everybody comes out and as soon as the show finishes they are gone. So you know they definitely came out to see Chris perform and that is really huge. It shows that he is becoming the star that we have been working for him to become."
One of the other significant revelations, Martin says, is that no matter what country he is in, the songs the people like are basically the same.
From the old staples to the new ones, Martin's songs seem to resonate across the European landscape, irrespective of nationality. The members of each audience, in response to the songs, raise their hands in the air and make loud noises of approval and, according to Martin, because of the strong Jamaican influence; they make gunshot sounds celebrating each song.
"Songs like Take My Wings, Melody to My Song, Cheater's Prayer, Paper Loving, Chill Spot, Mama, Mi Fren Dem, those songs are like staples anywhere. Everywhere across Europe you go, those songs are big songs," he said.
"So I don't even have to switch up my set too much. I basically sing like 18 songs for the night and it's just a joy and for each song, every song, the response has been incredible so you have to sing them over and over."
The almost nightly performances have taken their toll on the young Jamaican though. The singer, known for his muscular body, the result of a strict exercise regimen, reveals that it has been tough.
"To me, it's kind of taxing. My voice isn't at 100 per cent right now, closer to 70 per cent, because you're singing night after night after night. We've only had one day off so far but it doesn't take away from the shows, as physically taxing and mentally taxing as it is," he said.
To keep up, he tries not to talk during the days and he tries to get as much rest as possible, eliminating sightseeing and shopping for the most part.
"Most of these places are like return visits and personally I am not that fussy about going out and seeing the sights. I just want to chill and rest and make sure that when showtime comes, I am ready."
There are other challenges as well.
"It's the first that I am touring being a father so I miss my family and I miss my two little daughters, but the work haffi do."
The tour comes to a close in Mannheim, Germany, on Saturday.