Dorothy Martin is a badass frontwoman who sings like a banshee and prowls the stage like a summa cum laude graduate from the School of Rock. When paired with loud electric guitars, her seriously bluesy pipes summon earnest comparisons to rock legends Janis Joplin and Heart’s Ann Wilson.
Dorothy’s raw vocal power recently found the ears of JAY Z’s Roc Nation label, who released her debut, ROCKISDEAD, earlier this year. It’s a relentless set of direct, hard tunes that reinvigorate a classic rock sound with the stomp & thump of gothic American blues: think AC/DC meets the White Stripes.
The Couch Sessions grabbed a few minutes of Dorothy’s time between tour dates for find out what makes her tick…and explode.
A lot of the songs on ROCKISDEAD sound like they came straight out of the Seventies—raw, blues-rooted, down & dirty rock ‘n’ roll. What first drew you to that style of music? Why do you think it still connects so powerfully with people?
I grew up on my dad’s vinyl collection; CCR, Janis, Cream, etc. I really love the rawness of the blues. It connects because it’s real and it takes a real human being to play it.
“Missile” sports some particularly potent vocals from you. How do you approach recording something like that in the studio? What fires you up or gets you into the right frame of mind?
I do a thorough warm-up. I make sure to get enough sleep and exercise, and I always try to find the sweet-spot of emotion in the song.
I think it’s safe to say that your album title is tongue-in-cheek (or maybe tongue-in-switchblades). But name us one thing about rock music today that does actually deserve to die.
We have a sense of humor. The band and I have been mulling this question over for 15 minutes and still don’t have an answer!
Who or what motivates your songwriting? To whom are you speaking when you’re writing lyrics?
I wait for a catchy riff, if the music doesn’t inspire me it’s no fun to write to. Lyrics are my way of storytelling and it can vary from personal experiences to complete fantasy. The fun part of writing is getting to be creative and not being held back by any rules.
If you could pick any living artist to sing a duet with, who would it be? And what song?
DOLLY MOTHERFUCKING PARTON! I would rather co-write a song with her than do a cover.
Tell us one thing that would surprise us about being the female vocalist in a band full of dudes.
They’re pretty clean and they always smell good.
What did you learn or take away from your time touring with Miguel?
I learned how to let go of insecurities and be more comfortable with my body language.
Tell us about one of the best shows you’ve ever had. What made it so special?
We just played Detroit and it was FIRE! The reception from the audience was mind-blowing. It truly is Rock City.
Your Instagram shows off a killer look that falls somewhere between glammed out-pinup and goth-punk. Who inspires you there?
Thrift shops! I love vintage shopping. I do my own hair and makeup. I love old Hollywood glam, but I also love grungy tees and casual vans with skinny jeans. My look is a mixture of what makes me feel good. I also have a closet goth side. I love dark lips and smoky eyes. Instagram is the best makeup tutor out there!