Christopher Anthony John "Chris" Martin (born 2 March 1977) is an English singer-songwriter, the lead vocalist, and co-founder of the band Coldplay.
Early life and education:
Chris Martin was born in Whitestone, Exeter, Devon, England, and is the eldest of five children. His father, Anthony Martin, is a retired accountant, and his mother, Alison Martin, is a music teacher.
Martin was educated at the pre-preparatory Hylton School and the preparatory Exeter Cathedral School where he found his passion for music. After Exeter Cathedral School, Martin boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent school in Dorset and where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey. Also, at Sherborne School, he co-created a band called Bunga, that lasted for 2 years, with guitarists Ben Laidlow and Simon Clark, bass player Gavin Reece-Smith, and drummer Ralph Cree.
Martin continued his studies at University College London, staying at Ramsay Hall, where he read Ancient World Studies and graduated with first-class honours degree in Greek and Latin. Here, he also met future Coldplay bandmates Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman.
While studying at University College London, Martin met Jonny Buckland with whom he decided to form a band - Martin on lead vocals and Buckland as lead guitarist. They were joined by Guy Berryman as their bass player and Will Champion, who learnt how to play drums in order to serve as the drummer for the band. In 1996, they formed the rock band Coldplay, originally known as Pectoralz, later changed to Starfish temporarily until finally they were offered the name Coldplay by another band who did not want it anymore.
Since the release of their first album Parachutes in 2000 the band has had internationally recognized fame and success. To date, they have released six studio albums in total along with several EP's, including A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay Live 2003, X&Y, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, Prospekt's March, LeftRightLeftRightLeft, Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay Live 2012, and Ghost Stories.
As a solo artist, Martin has written songs for a variety of acts including Embrace ("Gravity") and Jamelia ("See It in a Boy's Eyes", co-written with Coldplay producer Rik Simpson). Martin has also collaborated with Ron Sexsmith, Faultline when he sang on two haunting Faultline tracks: 'Where is My Boy?' and 'Your Love Means Everything Part2.', The Streets, and Ian McCulloch. He also sang a part of the vocals for the Band Aid 20 single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at the end of 2004. In 2005, Martin collaborated with Nelly Furtado on the track "All Good Things (Come to an End)", for her 2006 album, Loose. The two were once rumoured to be a couple, after they both performed at Glastonbury in 2002. Furtado joked about the situation, saying that "Yeah, he's my boyfriend - he just doesn't know it yet".
Martin's fascination with hip hop was shown in mid-2006 when he collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for the rapper's comeback album Kingdom Come after the two met earlier in the year. Martin put some chords together for a song known as "Beach Chair" and sent them to Jay-Z who enlisted the help of hip hop producer Dr. Dre to mix it. Coldplay producer Rik Simpson conceived and performed the drum beats. The song was performed on 27 September 2006 by the two during Jay-Z's European tour at Royal Albert Hall. In 2007, Martin appeared on a track titled "Part of the Plan" for Swizz Beatz' debut solo album One Man Band Man. Martin has also worked on a solo collaboration with Kanye West, with whom he shared an impromptu jam session during a 2006 concert at Abbey Road Studios. He performed the chorus of "Homecoming", from Kanye West's album Graduation.
Martin's and Coldplay's main influence is the Scottish rock band Travis, with Martin crediting the band for the creation of his own group.U2 has been another important influence on Martin both musically and politically, on whom he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", in the section on U2, saying: "I don't buy weekend tickets to Ireland and hang out in front of their gates, but U2 are the only band whose entire catalogue I know by heart. The first song on The Unforgettable Fire, "A Sort of Homecoming", I know backward and forward - it's so rousing, brilliant, and beautiful. It's one of the first songs I played to my unborn baby." Martin also comments on Bono's effect on his own charity and political involvement he is even known to joke with friends referring to himself as "Crono".
Martin and Coldplay were greatly influenced by Radiohead. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Martin had this to say about the English rock band: "Sometimes I feel like they cleared a path with a machete, and we came afterward and put up a strip mall... I would still give my left ball to write anything as good as OK Computer."
Martin is very vocal about his love for Norwegian new wave/Synthpop band a-ha. In 2005 he stated the following in an interview: "I found myself in Amsterdam the other day and I put a-ha's first record on. I just remembered how much I loved it. It's incredible songwriting. Everyone asks what inspired us, what we've been trying to steal from and what we listened to as we were growing up - the first band I ever loved was a-ha." Martin has also performed live together with Magne Furuholmen of a-ha, introducing him as "the best keyboard player in the world". In November 2011, he stated that "back when we didn't have any hits of our own we used to play a-ha songs."
He is also known to be a fan of artists such as English alternative rock bands Oasis and Muse, Irish pop group Westlife, British pop groups Girls Aloud and Take That, and Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire. Solo artists Martin likes include Noel Gallagher, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel. In 2014, Martin inducted Gabriel into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career, and performed live with the former Genesis frontman.
Coldplay performed R.E.M.'s "Nightswimming" with Michael Stipe during their Austin City Limits performance in 2005, as a part of the Twisted Logic Tour. Martin went on to call "Nightswimming" "the greatest song ever written". He has called Richard Ashcroft, formerly of The Verve, "the best singer in the world".
Martin and Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland made cameo appearances in the film Shaun of the Dead as supporters of the fictional charity ZombAid. Martin has a second cameo in this film as a Zombie. In 2006 Martin had a cameo role in the second series episode four of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant created comedy Extras. He also appears singing in the closing credits of the 2009 film Brüno alongside Bono, Sting, Slash, Snoop Dogg, and Elton John. Martin also played one gig with the "Sid James Experience".
Martin has been particularly outspoken on issues of fair trade and has campaigned for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. He travelled to Ghana and Haiti to meet farmers and view the effects of unfair trade practices. When performing he usually has variations of "Make Trade Fair", "MTF" or an equal sign written on the back of his left hand and the letters "MTF" can be seen emblazoned on his piano.
He was a vocal critic of President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Martin was a strong supporter of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, most notably during his acceptance speech for the 2004 Grammy Awards Record of the Year, accepting for "Clocks". Martin also supported the Democratic Party candidate for President in 2008, giving a shout-out to Barack Obama at the end of a performance of "Yellow" on 25 October 2008 episode of Saturday Night Live.
On 1 April 2006, The Guardian reported that Martin was backing the British Conservative Party leader David Cameron and had written a new theme song for the party titled "Talk to David". This was later revealed to be an April Fool's joke. Whilst touring Australia in March 2009, Martin and the rest of Coldplay were the opening act at the Sound Relief benefit concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, for the bushfires and floods in Victoria and Queensland.
Martin appeared in a video for the "Robin Hood Tax" campaign, which proposes a tax on stock trades in the United States. This tax is aimed at levelling the field between the so-called "1% and 99%".
On 12 December 2012, Martin performed as a part of the "12 12 12 Concert" which was held as a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief. He performed "Viva La Vida", the R.E.M. song "Losing My Religion" (with the former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe),and "Us Against the World". Other performers in the show included Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney.
On 25 March 2014, just moments after his "conscious uncoupling" separation with wife Gwyneth Paltrow was announced, it was revealed that Martin would join The Voice US as a guest special advisor beginning the following week.
Martin was married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow for 10 years. The couple met at a Coldplay concert in 2002, while the band was touring their second album A Rush of Blood to the Head, after tabloids had started rumouring a relationship between the two. Only after that did they begin an official relationship. Martin was an assistant to Paltrow when dealing with her father's death by writing the song "Fix You". The couple announced Paltrow's pregnancy and proceeded to get married on 5 December 2003, a quiet ceremony in the absence of all their friends and family. They announced their separation in March 2014.
Their daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born in May 2004 in London. Martin and the band released a song "I am your baby's daddy" under the name "The Nappies" in anticipation of the birth of Apple. The band's song "Speed of Sound" was also inspired by Martin's experience and awe at becoming a father. Their second child, Moses Bruce Anthony Martin, was born in April 2006 in New York City. Moses's name was inspired by a song Moses that Martin wrote for Paltrow. Simon Pegg and Martin's bandmate Jonny Buckland are Apple's godfathers, and in exchange Martin is the godfather to Pegg's daughter. Martin is a long-time friend of Pegg, having met him in 2001, and appears in one of Pegg's movies, Shaun of the Dead, along with Buckland.
Martin does not smoke cigarettes but he does force himself to drink vodka when he behaves "like an idiot".PETA named him the World's Sexiest Vegetarian in 2005.
Martin was raised as a Catholic, but has since lapsed. In a 2005 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Martin said of his religious views: "I definitely believe in God. How can you look at anything and not be overwhelmed by the miraculousness of it?" In the same interview he spoke of going through a period of spiritual confusion, stating "I went through a weird patch, starting when I was about sixteen to twenty-two, of getting God, religion, superstition, judgement all confused". In a 2008 interview he said, "I'm always trying to work out what 'He' or 'She' is. I don't know if it's Allah or Jesus or Mohammed or Zeus. But I'd go for Zeus." Following the interview, he released a text message declaring himself an "all-theist", a word of his invention meaning that he believes in "everything".
William Willett, the man who campaigned for and made daylight saving time a recognized practice, is Martin's great-great-grandfather.
Martin often suffers from insomnia and has undergone sleep therapy. He has said in interviews that ideas for songs most often come to him at night, and that he also often has nightmares.
"Chris Martin" (Season 2: Episode 4)
"Million Dollar Maybe" (Season 21: Episode 11)
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live (Season 39: Episode 764)
Shaun of the Dead
With Jonny Buckland
See Coldplay discography for his work with said group.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license