Kartanya is an accomplished vocalist with a wide range and genre. She has sung with several local, interstate and international artists. One review commented
"...If Janis Joplin & Adele could have had a love-child, Kartanya would be that child. Her voice leaves you questioning your soul & looking for a cardigan to calm the goose bumps..."
If when you hear rock, blues, a power ballad, jazz or soul you imagine Jimmy Barnes, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin. Think again! Kartanya Martinez is soul, rock and blues all rolled into one, and you find yourself leaving one of her gigs as if you have just listened to the most heartfelt ballad of your life. Her music is power, grit, pain, love, and has the life experience to tell the story with a song. When asked why she doesn't adhere to one genre but instead, uniquely blends the sounds. Kartanya says,
“...Apart from being incredibly eclectic in what I enjoy listening to, people don't enjoy music just because it sounds good, but they also relate it to themselves; a particular event, an emotion in their lives and we all have that 'one song' in different genres that we can pin to a particular feeling or event. It's my mission to take them there...”
Kartanya's belief is that by invoking her own experiences from life, and unashamedly pouring them into a song that she can take her audience to not only her thoughts and emotions but theirs as well, and to leave her show as if they have relived and felt the whole moment again.
From The Beginning
Kartanya has had something important do since 1977 when growing up in a musical family, days were spent hanging around the piano singing with talented family members. Her Grandmother was a beautiful soprano and avidly sang in the church choir every Sunday; her Aunt not only a school teacher but an established performer in stage musicals such as South Pacific, Pirates of Penzance just to name a couple, was also Kartanya's music teacher. Her Aunt spent a lot of time helping her hone the talent that she recognised in her at an early age. Kartanya started as a young sweet soprano in her local church choir; However, as she grew and started making her own musical selections, Kartanya discovered Gospel music and 'jumped ship' into a Gospel choir, which was considered somewhat rebellious and 'unseemly' at the time for a person of her heritage, she says,
"... I remember my Grandmother having fits of rage and hysteria about me joining a Gospel choir. I can still hear her saying, ' ... It's bad enough your blood is tainted, and you are of mixed race, but you are not 'that heritage (sic., African) ...' All the while my Aunt was in the background silently giving me the thumbs up and encouraging me..."
Just like every other musician, Kartanya says that music is an integral part of her life, although she states,
"...Everyone has a story to tell, and my story so far, has been anything but ordinary, but it is not unique..."
She has navigated her share of stumbling blocks along the way (especially in her teens and young adulthood). But when she pulled herself into her lane, there was always one constant - music was a refuge for Kartanya in a home plagued by violence and abuse and became a calming tool for the anger and hurt that come from this. She reflects that as she has grown, she has never lost her desire for music. Kartanya believes her Aunt's constant interest in making sure she had ballet, tap and music lessons was her 'saving grace' from what could have become a life of destruction.
Kartanya danced in many dance productions in her younger years and as a teen. She also went on to come fourth in a state ballroom dancing championship.
As a young adult, she played 'Nancy' in a local stage production of Charles Dickens, 'Oliver Twist', and followed in her Aunt's footsteps and also performed in local productions of South Pacific as 'Bloody Mary' and as 'Marie' in Pirates of Penzance.
She has fond memories of seeing 'The Wailers' (Bob Marley's band) play at the Red Lion in North Adelaide in the early '90s and ending up back in their hotel room spending the night singing with them as an experience and encouragement that she will always cherish and never forget. She enjoyed it so much, she repeated this informal get together the following year when they came back to Adelaide.
She got involved in the Adelaide pub scene for a while, singing with various bands here and there and really started to get serious after being a support act for 'Pistenbroke' at the Cumberland Hotel in Port Adelaide, South Australia in 2012. Since then she has sung various gigs around Australia. Kartanya is looking forward to getting into a studio and releasing an album and continues to enjoy growing success and working with other artists, Kartanya says,
"...Everyone has a fantasy gig that they jot down on their bucket list. Mine is to at least sing with Jon Stevens, Jimmy Barnes or Kate Cebrano..."