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Chris Martin hails his dad the ‘Great One’

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2019 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru - Gleaner Writer
Chris Martin (right) and his father, Cleveland.

“I call him ‘Pops’ or ‘Great One’, and he calls me ‘Rasta’,” says singer Christopher Martin of his father, Cleveland, who, he says with gratitude, was there for him “from Jump Street”.

Martin says that as far back as he can remember, his father has always called him Rasta, and this, he says, is rather strange, considering that his parents are Christians. “You know, I wondered what he would say if I had really become a ‘Rasta’,” he said with a laugh. But as fate would have it, he didn’t embrace the Rastafari faith, choosing instead to become a reggae singer.

“I think they (his parents) would have preferred if I had become a gospel singer,” the Mama singer said.

Actually, like many Jamaican singers, Martin got his start in the church, the Pedro Church of Christ in St Catherine, where he worshipped every Sunday with his parents.

A father of three – two girls and a boy – Martin named his dad as his role model. “He was the ideal role model, and he still is.” According to the Puma ambassador, his parents’ relationship has been his inspiration. “I saw how my father treated my mother – like a queen,” he said of his parents, who have been married for 31 years. “They had their arguments, but nothing too big and out of the ordinary. I am probably not following in their footsteps,” the unmarried father confessed, “but I am blessed by my babies.”

Musical hero

“Musically, my dad moulded me into the artiste I am. Before I was 10 years old, I knew all about Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis and Stevie Wonder because my father used to play their songs. And it was like a light bulb went off in my head. With the other side of the music, it was the influence of my uncle. He introduced me to singers like Beres Hammond and Alton Ellis, and then when I went to high school, I got more into the dancehall.”

Martin describes his father as “the real general”. He said, “He’s suave, he’s cool,” in a tone that indicated that there is nothing too big that he wouldn’t do for his father.

And what would he consider the best thing he has done for his parents since success came his way? The VP Records artiste said he bought a lovely house and took his parents to live with him, but he explained the arrangement to them a bit differently.

“I told them that it’s their house and I am living with them,” the proud son told The Sunday Gleaner. And while he has ensured that they have all the trappings of the good life, including stuff like nice cars, it’s the smaller things that he can do for his parents that gives Christopher Martin the most pleasure.

“For me, it’s not so much about giving them the big stuff. It feels good when they are celebrating their wedding anniversary, for example, and they want to go somewhere special and I can make it happen,” he said.

For Fathers’ Day, the plan is just to chill out with his dad and play dominoes. “We play a lot of dominoes. He’s a good player, but if he is honest, he will admit that I am better,” Martin said cheekily.