Stream Martha Skye Murphy’s dark, experimental, hypnotic EP ‘Heal’
For many artists, providing vocals to Nick Cave while dishing out life advice would come at the end of a lengthy career where there’s nothing to lose. However, for Martha Skye Murphy, it wasn’t the twilight of a career but the very inception of one. It was 2005 and she was nine years old.
It’s no coincidence that the rising South London based singer/songwriter, actor, and theatre company co-owner who drenches her brittle and ruminative songs in the beauty and myth of journeys, has her own enchanting story to tell.
Murphy recounts how the stars aligned to birth the collaboration with Nick Cave: “I’ve been interested in performing from a very young age…That meant from the age of three, I’d get up and perform at my parent’s friend’s parties," she says. "So when a friend of my parents, John Hillcoat [director of The Proposition – a film soundtracked by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis] came around with his wife Polly Borland, I decided I needed them to hear me perform Cat Power’s “Free”, so I put the song on and asked them if they would listen to me sing it and they listened and John said: ‘That’s funny, Nick said he wants a child to sing the opening credits for the film.’” [The Line of Best Fit]
London artist Martha Skye Murphy, now in her 20s, has been leaving a big mark with her solo material lately, but as mentioned in the Line of Best Fit article quoted above, she was just nine years old when she first gained public exposure after singing on Nick Cave's soundtrack for the 2005 film The Proposition. It wasn't the last time she'd collaborate with Nick -- in 2013, she sang backing vocals on three songs on Nick's excellent album Push the Sky Away -- and then in 2018 she released her debut solo EP, Heroides. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, it has three proper songs and a short outro track, and each song shows off a different side of her dark, somber, singer/songwriter sound. She's been compared to a variety of artists, including PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Jessica Pratt, and her past collaborator Nick Cave himself, and when you listen to Heroides, it's very easy to hear why.
Martha followed her debut EP in 2019 with the "Black Eye" single (recorded at 4AD Studios with Fabian Prynn) and a Bill Callahan cover, and she kept the momentum going in 2020 with a collaborative drone piece with Savage Gary for Speedy Wunderground's Quarantine Series, the score to Ivan Krzeszowiec's The Late Departure, and her second EP, Heal, which found her once again at 4AD Studios with producer Fabian Prynn. Martha continues to expand her sound on Heal, still recalling some of those same artists that Heroides was compared to, but also working in her more drone-like side, eerie spoken word, and gothy, operatic vocals. It's noticeably more experimental than Heroides and "Black Eye," and it's more proof that Martha Skye Murphy is someone to be keeping your eyes and ears on.
Listen to her two EPs and the "Black Eye" single and watch a few of her videos below...