Betting on himself

Ex-UW Oshkosh student chases music dream

David Paul Martin, singer, songwriter and former UWO music student, is a multi-instrumentalist that recently dropped out to pursue his music career full time.

While Martin recognized the importance of a college education, he decided to chase his dream and put his music first.

“I loved my time at UWO. I learned a lot; the teaching staff was incredible,” Martin said. “But with all of the opportunities that have presented themselves, I decided school could wait for now. It came down to prioritizing what was important, and honestly, it’s just what felt right.”

Martin said he experienced a bit of backlash from his family, but in the end, they were supportive as always.

“For the most part people have been supportive, but it always just seems to be the expectation that I finish my degree,” Martin said. “I’ve talked to my parents a lot about it and they’ve come to a place where they are supportive of me no matter what I do.”

Friend and former classmate of Martin, Zach Miller, described Martin’s style with great praise.

“He thinks out of the box within convention,” Miller said. “He uses proper techniques but does them in a different and innovative way.”

Martin said a piece of advice to any students out there attempting to break into the entertainment or music industry, is to constantly be hardworking.

“If you’re going to do this for your living whether its performing, writing, audio production or video production, you have to be willing to be versatile and not be entirely focused on your one thing you’re going to school for,” Martin said. “In order to get where you want to be you’ll end up doing a lot of weird side jobs you never thought you would do, but it’s all about the connections you make along the way.”

Martin was first introduced to music when he was 10 years old by learning to play the piano.

“When I was younger, I was taking piano lessons and then like every kid they hate piano and then they start drum lessons hoping this might be better or easier,” Martin said.

However, it wasn’t until Martin was hospitalized for Crohn’s disease that he truly found his love for writing and creating music.

“The big turning point for me was getting really sick,” Martin said. I was in the hospital a lot and through that time was when I found that writing was my thing. I had an uncle who taught me a couple chords on the mandolin, and it was then that I discovered I could create something of my own, which was a lot more interesting to me than playing ‘Swans on the Lake’ on the piano.”

Since that moment, Martin has been performing nonstop, playing in youth group bands, middle school band and creating his own band all of which eventually led to his debut album “Human Satellite.”

Human Satellite is a concept album about a man floating in space trying to find his way back to Earth.

“Human Satellite is about this guy that starts as a lost astronaut drifting in space with hope to return to back home to a girl,” Martin said. “He eventually gets brought back to Earth only to find everything is different. His girl has moved on, he feels lost in the world, which leads him on this journey to find true happiness.”

Martin said the album has a lot of different emotions tied into it but ends on a positive note.

“Human Satellite almost runs through the entire process of grief with anger and denial but most importantly, it does end on a happy note with acceptance,” Martin said. “In the closing track ‘Horizon,’ he finds friendship and realizes that love isn’t about himself, but instead about other people.”

The album idea all started after Martin attended a planetarium.

“I ended up going to this awesome event which was a listening party featuring Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ accompanied by a laser show inside a planetarium,” Martin said. “That incredible experience got me thinking about space, eventually leading to the creation of the first song on the album ‘Human Satellite.’”

Martin hatched the idea for the album after writing the title track “Human Satellite” and then realized the idea could be something much more.

“I took the idea of the Human Satellite and then went to my family cabin for seven days, each day writing a new song for the album,” Martin said. “At the end of the week I had eight songs, and from there I filled in the gaps with the last two songs, thus completing the ten-track album.”

Martin recorded the entire album on his own in his home studio while also working on some post-production aspects of it at the studio on campus at UWO.

“Working on my own comes easily for me because I hear everything and every little detail in my head,” Martin said. “However, I am extremely grateful for the help of my professor at the time, Nathan Edwards, for helping with some of the post production sound mixing.”

One of Martin’s fans, Bryan Jean, said Martin has a natural ability when it comes to performing.

“Watching him perform live was shockingly amusing,” Jean said. “I’ve listened to his album before and watching him play it live in front of me, I felt like a fangirl.”

Martin has big plans for the near future that will give listeners a lot to look forward to.

“I’m working on releasing a few singles this spring, and I’m working on the final touches to my second full-length album,” Martin said. “I think releasing singles is smart because it keeps people interested. People’s attention spans are so short, which is why I’m trying to get this second album out not even a year after my debut album.”

Along with the release of new music, Martin has a few big shows he is excited to be playing this summer.

“I’ll be playing at the Refuge Lounge on March 17 for St. Patrick’s day, and I’m super excited to be a part of the lineup for the Mile of Music Festival again this summer in Appleton,” Martin said.

Martin said, when taking risks in life, it takes willpower and drive to be successful.

“Find what you’re passionate about and go do that, but you have to realize that nothing’s going to fall into your lap just because you have a degree,” Martin said. “You have to work for it.”