Award-winning country music singer/songwriter and Season 14 American Idol contestant Tori Martin is a Texas-native who moved to Nashville to follow her musical dreams.
Martin’s roots run deep in country music classics, and the 21-year-old is a die-hard Dolly Parton fan. Such a die-hard that her last hit release was called “What Would Dolly Do?” For die-hard Martin fans — both current and future — check out her new release “Lucky (Remix),” due October 15.
A Military Brat Lands in Texas
Tori Martin describes herself as a military brat who landed in the small town of Azle, Texas, at age 7. She recalls having hopes of becoming a country music singer because of her grandfather. “For me, Texas is where I consider home! My Paw-Paw raised me on the classics of country music and even bought my first guitar when I was a young girl. Paw-Paw always encouraged his talented granddaughter to follow her dreams — no matter what.
Ever since Martin can remember, she had aspirations to sing. In fact, in second grade, she still remembers being asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. And the spunky second-grader didn’t hesitate.“I told my teacher that I was going to be a famous singer, Even though I don’t come from a musical family, I knew early on that this was what I was created to do.”
You Can Take the Girl Out Of Texas …
Martin spent most of her life in Texas but now lives in Tennessee. What does she miss most about the Lone Star State? Of course, with all of her family still living in Texas, that’s a “huge part” of what she misses. “I definitely miss Tex-Mex, that Texas sky and the Southern hospitality. There’s just no other place like it,” she adds, like the true Texan she is. Martin and her husband, Jason, have some land in Texas that they love going back to.
Future World Traveler
Even though her career began in Texas, Martin looks forward to the day when she can travel the world. “I started performing at Opry houses across Texas at the age of 16, from there I ended up playing my own concerts all over the state of Texas.” By now, she’s played much of the Southwest. And she’s glad to be back on the road, after the COVID hiatus. “I went on a tour in Texas for the summer of 2021, and it was great to get back out there!” The ambitious Martin is looking forward to touring across the country soon, and would love to tour in Europe one day.
Inspired by Dolly
Her 2020 hit single, “What Would Dolly Do?” was inspired after a visit to Dollywood. “Inspiration struck a chord when I visited Dollywood for the first time. I’ve always looked up to her, and when I saw handwritten letters from Dolly to her parents it humanized her for me.” Martin realized that Dolly had been exactly where the rising star is today. “It’s easy to forget the humble beginnings of superstars,” Martin says. “I wrote the song, “What Would Dolly Do?” to encourage others on their journey and to be confident in who they are.”
“Music is my #1 passion, but I love all things creative. Another way I get to express myself is through interior design.” It turns out, Martin decorates and designs historic vacation rental homes. “It’s another way I love to express myself and a creative outlet.”
Yes, Follow Your Dreams
“I say go for it!” You should always follow your dreams no matter what they may be, she adds. Which means, in Martin’s view of the world, you should never be afraid to put yourself out there. “Everyone’s journey looks different but you have to be brave enough to believe in the beauty of your own. Keep writing, singing, playing and creating… never quit!”
Martin’s greatest musical experience, so far, was being an American Idol contestant on Season 14. “It was truly surreal.” She remembers watching Kelly Clarkson audition on Season 1 as an 8-year-old — and even then thinking that she would one day audition. In 2014, that dream came true when Martin went to New Orleans to audition — and ended up leaving with a golden ticket. “I’m glad that I went for it and was a part of the show, because it taught me a lot about the entertainment industry,” she says. “It thickened my skin and lit a fire within me to keep on going!”
This week, Martin releases her new single, “Lucky (Remix),” which was inspired by her marriage to Jason. This enthusiastic transplanted Texan is excited to get back on the road to share her single and album with her fans, and plans on a radio tour. “I’ve been busy writing new music and plan to get back in the studio towards the end of 2021.” That’s something to save the date for!
Cover photo courtesy Tori Martin
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.