The singer is Billie Ray Martin and she’s one of the living legends in modern music history and one of the best voices on planet earth.
Billie Ray Martin is an absolute revelation.
Billie Ray Martin is the Nico of the rave generation...
Billie Ray Martin describes herself as "a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer".
Dubbed the „queen of electronic soul“, Billie first came to prominence as a guest with S-Express before leading the acclaimed deep house act Electribe 101, her unique voice hitting both the house scene and charts with a strong infusion of soul. Electribe 101 scored a brace of hits including the classic Talking With Myself and the album Electribal Memories, gaining rave reviews worldwide, before Billie departed to continue exploring fusions of electronic music, pop and soul.
After releasing the thoroughly scary Persuasion with Spooky and the monumentally beautiful Four Ambient Tales with The Grid, Billie found herself with a worldwide number 1 in Your Loving Arms on East West Records; now considered one of the all-time classics of dance music. Four more top 30 hits and the album Deadline for My Memories followed. The album explored her vision to create music that draws equally on Kraftwerk and Phil Spector as influences, and allowed Billie to tour extensively.
She realised a dream by travelling to Memphis to work with Ann Peebles, Carla Thomas and members of Aretha Franklin’s band on her next album 18 Carat Garbage. Having attempted to capture the original Hi Records sound, Billie returned to Europe to add breaks and electronics to the final mix. She followed this with hit collaborations with DJ Hell and Slam and solo releases such as 2008’s Moroder-fest Undisco Me which hit the top spots in the UK and US dance charts.
The Crackdown Project, released in 2010, featuring Billie‘s takes on Cabaret Voltaire‘s landmark Crackdown album, reinforced her unique position as an artist who appeals to both the uber-cool mags like Flux and The Wire as well as the pop mainstream, achieving ‘Song of the Day’ status at Popjustice. 20,000 downloads in a matter of days, plus overwhelming press and DJ support made this an unexpected success.
2011 began with the solo single Sweet Suburban Disco, Billie’s take on Italo disco, followed by a collaboration with Hard Ton on the Sold Life E.P., taking her back to her house beginnings and Electribe 101 roots.
2011 also saw the arrival of The Opiates – a project with Norwegian musician Robert Solheim. Their unique brand of electronic music combines a rare match of songwriting with cutting-edge beats and bleeps, the press dubbing them „The Carpenters of Techno“. The Rainy Days & Remixes E.P., served as a prelude to their eagerly awaited full-length album Hollywood Under The Knife, a celebrated gig at Rough Trade East causing much furore. Each song on the album is about another tortured diva, Hollywood actress, failed star... in search of identity, gender and a life beyond isolation. Turner-prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans, who had twice photographed Billie and selected her as „most influential woman“ in i-D Magazine, supplied nine previously unseen images for the cover art and booklet.
The album met with support from DJs, press and blogs alike including a four star review in Metro and many „album of the year“ entries in major publications. Eight music videos and a UK tour, including a gig at HMV Oxford Street, played their part in gaining The Opiates a growing fan community. A deluxe double CD remix collection entitled Hollywood Cuts was released in March 2012, with one of the mixes being chosen to soundtrack HMV’s Summer TV campaign.
Spring 2012 saw the release of a series of collaborations including Make Me Feel on Terranova’s Hotel Amour album, and Hyper Lust on Motor’s Man Made Machine – both earning support when released as singles across the Summer.
The limited edition DVD Five Takes (A Song About Andy), featuring five movies inspired by Andy Warhol‘s Screen Tests, was released in September. A song entitled On Borrowed Time is presented in five unique takes, with music by electronic producer and soul singer Waterson. This unique project was greeted with press and online acclaim.
In 2014, Billie released two singles which made a serious impression on dancefloors and club charts, gaining support from the world’s leading DJs. Her David Bowie approved cover of his song After All, followed by Off The Rails with Hercules and Love Affair’s Aerea Negrot continue to get played.
Her Album The Soul Tapes, released in May 2016 has received worldwide acclaim. The second single from the album The Glittering Gutter made it to number 8 in the Billboard Dance Charts and number 12 in the UK commercial POP Dancecharts.
In 2017 Billie collaborated with Wolfgang Tillmans on his installation ‘Hamburg Süd’ im Kunstverein Hamburg (Vocals) and the release of the CD for this project.
Since then she has been immersing herself in the recording and production of four new albums, three of which are nearing completion. For these albums she has recorded with musicians such as the Tindersticks and other world famous instrumentalists. A new approach to music making has replaced previous view as all of these albums were recorded and developed live in the studio and strings and other overdubs added later. each album has a completely different subject matter and concept.
Billie is currently mixing.
March 2022 saw the release of the long lost Electribe 101 album ‘Electribal Soul’ The album received overwhelming praise and acclaim from the press and entered three official UK chart positions in the week of release (Number 1 Dance Albums, number 1 Indie sales, and number 1 overall album sales).
Billie Ray Martin - the most beautiful voice in pop music history shows again she’s on top of the game.
One of the highlights of the year.
Currently riding a recent wave of releases, the ever-reliable vocal and song-writing prowess of Billie Ray Martin is here again. Ace!
Billie Ray Martin is back with her once heard, never forgotten vocals and an energy that is without doubt unstoppable... her legendary vocal, which has been revered and respected since dubbed 'the Queen of electronic soul'.
Never has electronic Body Music felt so soulful! We love this girl.
The name Billie Ray Martin is synonymous with electronic soul. the power and beauty in her vocal never fails to add a sense of humanity and warmth to the machines that provide her the template to soar.
No one who hears Billie Ray Martin’s smoky, commanding voice in full flight is unaffected, unimpressed or fails to enjoy the experience. Hers is a voice that harks back to the great divas of the 1960s and early 1970s; Dusty, Aretha and even a bit of Shirley Bassey.
Fantastic! the dangerously emotive force of Billie Ray Martin.
Billie Ray Martin should be a household name. Her voice is epic. it recalls aretha and soul singers of another era. She’s always been a bit before her time. and those are the reasons why she’s not a bigger star. She may be too talented.
Just when did house music that could grace the pop charts AND the dancefloor go out of style? No matter - thanks for bringing it back, Billie.
How Billie Ray Martin consistently appears to make great dance music so effortlessly - especially in this overcrowded genre - is as much a testament to her perfectionism as it is to her prodigious talents. With no less than three releases planned this year, Martin always takes her time, making sure her great offerings continue to inspire as well as astound.
The ice queen of electronic soul, who has been infusing sleek beats with hefty doses of Weimar decadence since the tail end of the 1980s... a vamp-ish robo diva in full flight. Her 2007 live soundtrack to Roman Polanski‘s Repulsion, which alternated low key torch songs with chilly electronic anthems, offered further evidence of her restless creative spirit.
The high priestess of electronic soul... her voice is unmistakable – ridden with drama and soul – sounding like Marlene Dietrich by way of Diamanda Galas.
Billie Ray Martin is the thinking man’s diva, never being afraid to take a chance and push forward and she can walk up & down my back anytime.
Billie’s been a milestone and innovator in the world of dance music for nearly 20 years now and remains one of the few artists who can pull off a return that challenges the genre’s current royalty.
A female, modern-day Marc Almond... her throbbing electro-disco, torch soul and narcotic pop is awesome.
Avant-garde Deutsche diva Billie Ray Martin’s sublime vocals and catchy, industrial post-punk disco...
The low slung Marlene Dietrich-pitched vocals are the icing on the cake.
The appearance of Billie Ray Martin is revelatory.
The Emma Peel on acid stylings of the lady with the big voice...
Who would have ever thought that old Cabaret Voltaire material would end up as the foundation of fine throbbing electronic disco in 2010? Billie Ray Martin plays the ice queen to perfection over various flavours of bleeps and bumps.
There was this voice, one belonging to Germany‘s resident electro-soul diva, Billie Ray Martin, a voice that is a complete game changer. Channelling the big-voiced classic soul singers, Billie‘s voice sunk its hooks in the first time we heard her and a decade and a half later has yet to let go.
One of the most mesmerizing vocals in the music world... simply one of dance music‘s most haunting pieces of music ever.