Marteen’s here to take over the pop world, one hit at a time. The Bay Area native grew a huge buzz after the release of “Sriracha,” which currently clocks in at over 1.3M views on Youtube alone. On top of his vocals and singing capabilities, it’s his authenticity to stay true to himself that is immediately apparent through his lyrics and everyday life.
Currently, the newly-minted 18-year-old rides off the momentum of his critically-acclaimed NOTHANKYOU. EP, released February of last year. Since then, he’s toured on the road for the likes of Dua Lipa, Kehlani, Fifth Harmony, etc.
With over 123K followers on Instagram, the young heartthrob exudes a warm, contagious energy that fans can’t help but gravitate towards. With the support of his cousin Kehlani and many others in the industry, there’s no telling what the future holds.
Trending All Day caught up with the R&B/pop singer to discuss his love for the Bay, Kehlani being a mother, and remaining independent.
For those who don’t know, who is Marteen?
I’m a young boy from the Bay, trying to be a superstar [laughs] I’m definitely somebody who likes to be out of the box, that people don’t expect. I guess I like to surprise people.
You just turned 18, how did you celebrate?
I just had a little family thing. Soon, I’m gonna do something crazy. It was really lowkey, kicked it with a bunch of friends. Had cake, just a cool little kickback in the Bay.
I think I’m gonna get one soon!
You’re from Berkeley but live in LA. How do the two places compare?
I love the Bay, it’s so special. Our culture is so different. I love it there, I love being there. Obviously ‘cause it’s home but the people are so original. All my homies and friends are there. My family’s there, it’s a cool place for me to be.
Was the hyphy movement before your time?
Yeah, I was born around the time. I was still growing up. It was always around me, music was always slapping. My dad and hella people in my family are all into that type of stuff. It’s naturally a part of me.
Talk about your dad being your manager.
Man, it’s tight actually. It’s really cool ‘cause he’s helped me a lot. He’s been in a bunch of different aspects in the music industry so he can help me in that way. ‘Cause nobody has your back like your family. Even though people are kind of judged because their parents are their managers or whatever, at the end of the day, it’s tight.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Probably when I turned 13. Because I started doing covers when I was 12 out here. People from labels started hitting me up after I started getting some attention on there. I was like “what the hell? This is crazy.” I started taking a label meetings, people were actually really interested. That’s when I started being like “oh shit, this could be something.”
How long have you been in LA now?
I’m actually back and forth right now, but moved out here when I was 12 for 3 years. I went to middle school out here. I like it out here. Obviously working, the industry’s out here. I get to do a bunch of cool shit out here. It’s definitely a different vibe, but I love it.
Talk about the industry, are you signed?
I’m not, I’m independent right now. The industry’s definitely a struggle obviously to get into. I don’t know, everything’s been a learning process for me over the last couple years. I had to deal with Warner Bros, got to see the ins and outs of that. Now I’m independent. There’s a lot of benefits to being independent.
You were signed to Warner?
Yeah, the regime kind of changed around and hella people got fired. Messed up. [laughs] But it’s all good, it was actually a blessing in disguise. I probably wouldn’t have gotten on the map as much as I did if I didn’t have that deal, but I got a lot of other stuff coming up now I’m excited about. This new project I’m working on, I’m super juiced.
You haven’t dropped a project since NOTHANKYOU.
Yeah, it’s been a minute. I dropped a single in December, “This Shit Sux,” that’s gonna be on the project.
What were you going through at the time?
Well I was in a relationship. Obviously, it’s a break up song. It was my first real relationship so I was really heartbroken, it going downhill the way it did. That type of music is always therapy for myself and anyone who listens to it that’s going through shit. I’m glad I put it out.
Has the girl heard it?
I don’t know, maybe. [laughs] Probably.
Talk about your forthcoming project 8.
8 is my lucky number. It’s my favorite number. The thing I like is when you turn it to the side, it’s the infinity symbol. It stands for this music: when I put it out, it’s here forever. Also the longevity I want to have in the industry. It’s a bunch of different meanings. Some people pointed out on Twitter, “oh and you’re 18 now, your nickname is Teen.” That was something I haven’t thought about but a cool coincidence. It originally came because it’s my lucky number and I liked the infinity twist on it.
Did you think “Sriracha” would be what it was?
I didn’t really have expectations. I just made the song out of having fun. We put it out, it did pretty cool. It got a crazy response from Korea especially. I have no clue why, Sriracha is Vietnamese. Maybe the type of music out there is similar, like R&B/pop type stuff. I love it out there, they have crazy style. Maybe it’s the bangs. [laughs] It was cool to see that response.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
I’ve had people cry, which is crazy. Korea was crazy. I got to the airport and there were 100 people waiting, with signs and a bunch of stuff. I’ve never had that experience until then, so that was really tight. I was out there for a couple days but we went twice in 2018. We’re gonna go back this year, I’m hyped.
Did you pick up any Korean language when you were there?
A little bit. I learned how to say the basic stuff. I know how to say “hello, I love you, I miss you, thank you.”
You’ve opened for Lani, Fifth Harmony, Dua Lipa. What’s been the craziest memory on tour?
Shoot, they’re all really tight. One of the craziest ones was in the Bay, a show with Kehlani. It was at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, like 8,000 people. It was the biggest show I’ve done at the time, so that was really tight. I was definitely a little nervous but as soon as I got on stage, the adrenaline kicked in. I saw everybody jumping with their hands up. Seeing that many hands, it was crazy dope. It was in the Bay, so that was home.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Damn, I have no clue. Probably baseball, I played baseball for 5 years. I wasn’t that fire though. I liked center field, played center field for a little. I played third base, that’s the hot corner.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media’s hella important. Honestly, it’s most of the reason why I got into the music industry. ‘Cause if I hadn’t started posting covers on Youtube… it’s definitely a great way to reach out to your fans. Reach out to people period. Show people who you are, show off your talent.
Favorite person to follow on Instagram?
Damn, that’s hard. I guess it’s my friends. Cardi B’s hella funny. [laughs] I don’t know who wouldn’t like to follow Cardi B. G-Eazy, Kehlani, the homies.
What’s it like seeing Lani be a mother?
Crazy, I’m super proud of her. Adeya is hella cute. She’s a great mom, she’s got all the right qualities to be.