Hackney singer Aaron Martyn is one to watch

Aaron Martyn. Picture: Jake Green

Aaron Martyn. Picture: Jake Green - Credit: Archant

Father and son Darren and Aaron Martyn talk to Zoe Paskett about one day filling the O2 and following in Justin Bieber’s footsteps

Justin Bieber was only 13 years old when he was discovered on YouTube. Nearly 10 years later, he has sold upwards of 100 million records.

“I want to be a big artist like Justin Bieber,” says 13 year old Aaron Martyn from Hackney, reclining in his chair. “I can visualise it, my name on the O2 arena.”

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This could be the dream of many a young teen, but Aaron may well be the one to achieve it.

“At 16, I reckon he could sell it out,” says his dad, Darren Martyn, record producer, songwriter and founder of DM Unsigned, where Aaron’s music is being developed.

A father’s faith can be easily won, but Darren has worked with enough acts to know when he’s onto something: Tinie Tempah, Krept n Konan and X Factor’s Luke Friend and Union J, to name but a few.

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“In the last year, I cut it all out and focused on Aaron and unsigned acts. Big contacts were like, you’re crazy to do that, it takes balls!”

Since July, Aaron has racked up more than 150,000 views on his YouTube channel, singing covers of artists he admires – Drake, The Chainsmokers and, of course, Justin Bieber. He’s been offered management deals and approached to appear on The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent.

This all began exactly a year ago, when he was in his Dad’s studio.

“One night, he had a group in and one of the people there inspired me to sing. That night I showed by dad what I could do and it led from there. I felt better once I’d done it because I knew mission accomplished, it was done. Now I could move on instead of just holding it back.”

“I said to him, if you want to do it you’re gonna do it properly,” says Darren. “I’m not going to half-heartedly develop you. We got into the booth one day and he said: ‘I can’t do this’, and I asked him ‘are you paying for this?’ He carried on and I said ‘right, get out of my studio. If you come back next week and say I can’t again, it’s over’.”

Darren is adamant that he treats Aaron the same way he would anyone who works in his studio, and is sure he won’t cave under pressure.

“At first, I thought he was being extra,” says Aaron, “but as we were doing it, I realised he was making me a stronger artist and trying to get me ready for what happens next. Now, I feel it’s a good thing.”

“I’m not going to bubble wrap him until he’s 18 then take the blinders off and let him get destroyed even more,” Darren adds. “Whatever happens, I’ve had highs and crazy lows in the industry and I’ve always learnt the most from the lows. If you start becoming numb to rejection early it won’t be much to deal with later.”

Having endured years of professional football already, going through Tottenham, Charlton Athletics, Fulham and Leyton Orient academies, Aaron is undoubtedly used to pressure.

“It’s full of constant rejections and making you question if you’re good enough,” says Darren. “It was volatile, just so horrible and harsh.

“But as a person, it built you into being ready for the music,” he says directly to Aaron.

Like his son, Darren started young – he began singing at the age of 10 and had his first management deal by the time he was 12 with Delroy Murray.

“It’s really fun because I can tell him what I want and he can deliver it to me,” Aaron says, appreciative of the insight his father offers.

He understands that his father’s help has got him to where he is, with a music video under his belt already.

Tears Don’t Dry tells of a verbally abusive relationship and the effect it can have on children.

“I was kind of going through a moment with my mum, because she had a boyfriend I didn’t really like and it messed up my school work and everything. Me and my dad had a chat one night and he was talking to me positively about it but I was so angry, and we thought, why don’t we do a song about it?”

“The reason we did Tears Don’t Dry is because so many kids are going through that,” says Darren. “The woman we got in to act in the video has been through it with her kids. It’s not just for the kids to look at, it’s for the mum to see what it looks like, it’s for the guy to see that kids have feelings and what they go through.”

You can listen to Aaron Martyn’s EP on Spotify and Soundcloud.


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