South African-born producer and songwriter, Pete Martin reflects on his 20-year stint in the UK, collaborations with A-list artists, and his newly acquired state of the art London studio with the ultimate Genelec monitoring setup.
“I'm a total nerd, as you know,” begins a cheerful Pete ‘Boxsta’ Martin, who catches up with Headliner after last speaking a few years ago. “My wife and my colleagues joke with me because on my bedside table, my reading material is just manuals! I'm technology obsessed.”
By the time he relocated to London in 2001, Martin had written over 15 number ones, and countless top 10s – becoming one of South Africa’s most sought after multi-platinum selling producer-songwriters. Soon after arriving in the UK, Universal Island signed him to his first international label deal, working closely with Darcus Beese and Nic Gatfield.
Fast forward to today and he’s an award winning producer-songwriter who has written, produced and remixed for artists such as James Arthur, Arrow Benjamin, Jessie J, Mali Music, Missy Elliot, Rizzle Kicks, Sugababes, Alexandra Burke, Leah McFall, Paper Crows, Roll Deep, Pete Tong and Natalia Kills.
“It’s been a very, very good couple of years,” he says modestly. “I have worked with some really cool people. Working with high profile people does build your career, but I also really like working with up and coming acts; I love that blend.”
Since first working with Arthur, Martin has gone on to work with him numerous times, including two tracks on the singer’s number one album, Back from the Edge.
“He did a couple of sessions with me and I think what clicked with him was, I didn't let him off the hook. You put that guy behind the mic and that one take is the one that you could keep for the rest of your life, but I pushed him a little bit because I just thought, ‘I want to see what he's capable of’. I know that sounds insane, but it was a lesson to me because I thought, ‘let me push him a bit and see what actually happens’.
"We did a couple of tracks and after that he hadn't called me, so I thought that I’d stepped over the line, and then suddenly he said, ‘Pete, I want to write more’, and we started forming this relationship.”