On December 12th Dirty Radio, Young Empires and Dragonette took over Sugar Nightclub in Victoria, British Columbia for a brilliant night of grandeur. I had no idea what to expect from the opening act, Dirty Radio, and was authentically impressed with their live set which included a drum kit, electric keyboard and impassioned vocals. Young Empires then rocked the stage and the crowd with ardent lyrics and fierce sound. Before Dragonette hit the stage I was able to peek in to the green room for a quick hello and to give Martina Sorbara (lead singer) a quick vodka/soda cheers which I had read was her favourite.
What I saw was Martina floating around the room like a butterfly, checking in with each band mate, husband and bassist Dan Kurtz and drummer Joel Stouffer, and giving them each a sweet kiss on the cheek. After being provided with an official license to be cool, Martina shared a tip with me: Don’t add lime to your drink or else it’ll wreak havoc on your singing voice–something I knew I had to share with my fellow raspy-voices Betty & Kora.
The show was an absolute knockout–Joel and Dan owned their instruments and Martina domineered the microphone. It was their last show, and yet each band member shared their momentous talent with the crowd as if it were their first. After, the band showed me what true success looks like: hanging with your close friends, sharing laughs and your love for music.
Martina was also nice enough to agree to a little Q&A with me before the show:
Kalisi: You’ve just finished up your US and Canadian tours, can you tell us a little bit about the group dynamic when you are on the road?
Martina: We are like a family road trip. It’s me and my 6 brothers. We have a lot of fun together.
K: What type of tracks did you play over the course of the tour?
M: We played some new tunes. Some songs from our upcoming record and also some songs that are recent collaborations of ours with Mike Mago and Galantis.
K: What is your favourite aspect of the Canadian music scene, and what is your favourite Canadian city to play in?
M: Every city has a different appeal. I think playing in Toronto is bittersweet. We all get a little nervous playing to our hometown. I love going to St. John’s. We don’t get out there as much as we’d like to but when we do they always show us a good time.
K: I’ve been employed in the music industry for just over 10 years, I started by working door at a club, to promoting my own events. It takes a lot to get your foot in the door. How did you get your start and what was your journey like?
M: All of us have been lucky to be doing this our whole lives. It’s really easy to get disheartened by this job, but we love doing what we do and I think that’s really what it takes. Very few people get to rise up to superstardom on some fast track. The rest of us just have to keep working and believing in what we do and be happy with our little triumphs.
K: A lot of girls and teens have issues with their confidence and sharing their talent with a crowd, especially when they are just starting out. Do you have any advice that you wish you could tell your younger self?
M: I am so much more confident than I was as a young performer. And I’m sure if I could I would have a lot of pep talks for my younger self. But in some ways I think it’s an important part of growing into this job: feeling the nerves and the insecurity and finding your way through it. Getting on the stage and singing with your shakey voice until you find your solid ground. I think there is a very lucky, very small group of performers that don’t have to walk through that fire.
K: Do you ever have the chance to go out to see other talent? If so what types of shows do you like to attend?
M: I hardly ever get to see music. But there are some acts that I would never miss if they came through: Nick Lowe, Lucinda Williams, yeah yeah yeahs and Cecilia Bartoli. Kind of random. The list is probably way longer than that but that’s what comes to mind.
Thank you so much to Dirty Radio, Young Empires and Dragonette for an amazing evening of inspiring music.
WORDS: Kalisi Luv ❤ #Staygenuine
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alexander Rossignol