Christopher Anthony John Martin (born March 2, 1977) is the lead singer, pianist and occasional rhythm guitarist of the popular rock band Coldplay. He has a baritenor voice and is known for his frequent use of falsetto. Martin is the husband of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Martin was born as the oldest of five children of Anthony and Alison Martin, an accountant and teacher, respectively, in Exeter, Devon, England. He was educated at Sherborne School, a famous boys' independent school in Sherborne, Dorset, in England, and later at University College London where he read Ancient World Studies. Martin played the family piano from a young age, and would later learn how to play the guitar.
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"). Martin has also collaborated with Ron Sexsmith, Faultline, 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 the summer of 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 add the drum line to complete the track. The song was performed on September 27, 2006 by the two during Jay-Z's European tour at Royal Albert Hall. "Beach Chair" is featured on the album Kingdom Come and is rumored to be the third single off the album.
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 performs the chorus on a song called "Homecoming" on Kanye West's newly released album, Graduation.
Martin married actress Gwyneth Paltrow on December 5, 2003. Their daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born on May 14, 2004 in London. The couple's second child, Moses Bruce Anthony Martin, was born in New York City on April 8, 2006. Simon Pegg (who happens to be a close friend of Martin) is one of Apple Martin's godfathers (the other is bandmate Jonny Buckland), resultant of a friendship between Paltrow and Pegg, prior to Martin's appearance in Shaun of the Dead.
He is a close friend of singer-songwriter Matthew Logan.
William Willett, the inventor of daylight saving time, is Martin's great-great-grandfather.
Martin is ambidextrous, he writes with his left hand, plays the French guitar the orthodox way and draws with his right hand.
One of the bands that Martin credits with the heaviest influence on him as a musician is Norwegian pop-band A-ha. One song in particular has stayed in Martin's mind, as the following quote says: "As a 12 year old, Hunting High and Low was always in my head, and A-ha still continues to be an important band to me." In 2005 Martin said "I was in Amsterdam the other day and I put on the album Hunting High and Low. I remembered right there and then how much I loved that album. It's just unbelievable songwriting." He has also been known to copy the style of A-ha vocalist Morten Harket: "It was the way Morten Harket used to have different things on his wrists. I do it myself, still. He is the most disarming and beautiful man you'll ever gonna meet."
U2 has been another important influence on Martin both musically and politically,he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time 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 catalog 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 impact on his own charity and political efforts.
Martin has also cited Bob Dylan, The Police, Sting, James, Travis, Embrace and Keane as influences.
Martin and Coldplay guitarist Jon Buckland made cameo appearances in the film Shaun of the Dead as supporters of the fictional charity ZombAid. In 2006 Martin had a cameo role in the second series episode four of the Ricky Gervais- and Stephen Merchant-created comedy Extras.
Martin has been particularly outspoken on issues of fair trade and has done a great deal of campaigning for the charity Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. He personally traveled to Ghana and Haiti to study the effects of free 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.
Martin has been somewhat active in politics. 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".
On April 1, 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 entitled "Talk to David". This was later revealed to be an April Fool's joke.
Martin was voted as one of PETA's two 2005 "World's Sexiest Vegetarians".
- See Discography for Coldplay discography.
|2002||"Where Is My Boy", "Your Love Means Everything, Pt. 2"||Faultline||Your Love Means Everything||Featured vocals|
|2002||"Gold in Them Hills"||Ron Sexsmith||Cobblestone Runway||Featured vocals|
|2003||"Sliding", "Arthur"||Ian McCulloch||Slideling||Piano, backing vocals|
|2003||"See It in a Boy's Eyes"||Jamelia||Thank You||Co-writer, backing vocals|
|2004||"Gravity"||Embrace||Out of Nothing||Writer|
|2004||"Dry Your Eyes"||The Streets||A Grand Don't Come For Free||Co-writer, backing vocals|
|2004||"Do They Know It's Christmas?"||Band Aid 20||–||Featured vocals|
|2006||"All Good Things (Come to an End)"||Nelly Furtado||Loose||Co-writer|
|2006||"Beach Chair"||Jay-Z||Kingdom Come||Co-producer, featured vocals|
|2007||"Part of the Plan"||Swizz Beatz||One Man Band Man||Featured vocals (sampled)|
|2007||"Homecoming"||Kanye West||Graduation||Co-writer, featured vocals|
Facts and Figures
- William Willett, the inventor of daylight saving time, is Martin's great-great-grandfather.
- Although left-handed, he plays guitar in the right-handed style.
- He often refers to himself as "Crono" emulating his hero Bono.
Chris Martin on Coldplay fans
Coldplay is for people with great taste, intelligence, incredible good lookingness, talent, ability, success, grabbing of life.
Coldplay's for people who know what life's about. They're always entertaining. Delightful to talk to. Sweet, charming, incredibly good in bed. Virile. They have incredible success with girls, or boys, or both. They're generally just the world's best citizens.
Maybe I'm biased, but I'm definitely right.
The Oracle on Chris Martin
Answers from The Oracle about Chris Martin are categorized by year and can be found on the following pages: