Robert Livingston challenging Chris Martin to be better
‘You’ll Never Find’ takes him higher
‘Hunger’ is a word both Chris Martin and Robert Livingston used in separate interviews to describe their passion for music. The two are collaborating now, more than before, to satiate that need and give the world the proper medicine, especially in the ‘age of COVID’. And it all starts with a song – a love song celebrating the warm, mushy feeling a guy has for his girl.
You’ll Never Find is the love song that fans are loving, and Martin, who just happens to be born on Valentine’s Day, sings his heart out on every syllable.
“It feels like I have discovered this hunger again,” said the 2005 Digicel Rising Stars winner, who has since done consistently well on the international circuit. “People are telling me, ‘Singer, yuh find the vibes’. This song has a freshness, and, yes, there is a difference in the sound. The instrumentation and the melody were intentional. Robert had the melody in his head, and he told me, ‘I like this song that yuh have but Chris, I think you can give me something better.’ Sometimes you need someone to shake you up and challenge you to be better,” Martin explained.
Martin, whose 2019 album, And Then, topped the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart, added, “Robert tells me, ‘I want to see you on this level.’ He wants to be a certain way, and so this whole new image and new direction is part of that master plan. And with his experience in the business, marketing artistes like Super Cat and Shaggy, Robert definitely knows the road. He and Kingie, my manager, are related, and I have been at Big Yard [Livingston’s studio] since I first buss. So Robert was always there, somewhere, and the synergy is perfect. The response to You’ll Never Find is amazing, and we are working on an album to be released possibly by the end of the third quarter.”
For Robert Livingston, this is the season to deliver fun, uplifting love songs, and Martin, who signed with VP Records in 2013, is his vehicle of choice to make that delivery. “After everybody get shut down for so long, right now what we need is some happy music, instead of the heavy songs that make you depressed. In every song, the arrangement, the verse, the bridge and the chorus all mean something. As a marketer, as well as a producer, it is my job to figure out how we can get the most clients or customers buying into each song that we put out there. With You’ll Never Find, we have taken a global market approach. It has that kind of melody that everyone catches on to, and it is a full song. Sometimes artistes get complacent and give their listeners just a chorus, but we need to think deep. Chris needs songs like this to maximise his talent and go to the next level,” the Big Yard CEO stated.
The producer hailed Martin’s discipline and respect, two qualities which he says are integral to the overall success of any artiste, regardless of age. He also pointed out that they have a great working relationship in studio, fuelled by mutual respect. “I explain to him how we are going to approach a song, and he understands. So when I say to him, ‘That line, you can do it better, put more emotion in it,’ he follows the instructions perfectly. We both enjoy the music, and he gives me a chance to produce him, and I also listen to his suggestions and implement them as well,” Livingston shared.
“Chris has been here at Big Yard for a long time, and he was always a likeable young man, and I have always wanted him to go on the road with Shaggy. I remember sending him on a tour to Africa with Shaggy some years ago. I actually gave up my ticket for Chris, and so he travelled first-class and enjoyed the best treatment and, quite importantly, that tour opened doors for him and he made his breakthrough on the African continent,” he recalled, quite satisfied.
Livingston, whose music biz résumé reads like a Who’s Who, has rubbed shoulders with execs from major record labels across the globe, as well as the top artistes in multiple genres. By his own admission, he still has fingers in the music biz, because “every time I reach the exit door, somebody is always calling me”. He has a theory that “you never make a crossover song, you make a song that takes over the entire household; and you make music to suit the world, not just Jamaica and the diaspora”. He is implementing all of this in his latest project.
“Chris is one of those artistes who can sing. Believe me; he can deliver. I have put him to the test, and he always comes through. We have a great chemistry, and I am still hungry, always am. I never thought I have done enough,” he said simply.