By Staff Writers Ashni Mathuria & Jennifer Xiang
Pop artist Marteen Estevez, known by his stage name Marteen, visited MSJ for a lunchtime concert, a meet-and-greet, and a Q&A session on Tuesday, September 26. This was the first stop in a mini-tour of Bay Area high schools for the 16-year-old Bay-Area-born singer, who recently released his first single “Sriracha.” Marteen, who is the cousin of and has toured with R&B singer Kehlaani, is signed onto Warner Bros. Records. He has worked frequently with acclaimed pop producer and songwriter JR Rotem, who has worked with familiar acts such as Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo, and Rihanna.
Marteen’s DJ started off on a mix of current rap and pop hits as students started to gather at the bottom of the amphitheater during the beginning of lunch, with many more watching from near the N-wing, Library, and horseshoe.
Marteen started off the concert with an unreleased song, “2 Days.” Next, Marteen sang a cover of R&B singer Khalid’s song “Location,” which the audience sang along to. Marteen said that he was to go on tour with Khalid in 2018, and was eager to collaborate with him.
For his last song, the up-and-coming artist sang his most popular song to date, “Sriracha,” and taught the crowd its hook: “Girl you got a body like Sriracha, every time I bring you ‘round the homies wanna watch ya.” An inflatable Sriracha bottle, brought by Senior Kanika Rao, bobbed around in the crowd.
After the concert, Marteen joined a group of fifteen students in E-4, the choir room, to discuss his experience in the music industry. When asked what he attributed his success to, Marteen expressed his gratitude for his family, the professionals with whom he worked, and the power of social media. “Social media is such a huge thing, I can’t stress that enough. You put yourself on Instagram, on these platforms, and people are… going to find you eventually,” he said.
Many of the students who attended the meeting were budding songwriters and musicians seeking to learn about his success in the music industry at such a young age. Marteen explained that he began covering songs, mostly in the genres of R&B and rap when he was twelve. It took him three years of balancing music with school to be recognized. When he did, he threw himself into his career. He told students that his overwhelming love for music was what allowed him to succeed. Though he sometimes faced failure and thought squeezing in time at the studio after school was exhausting, he persevered and was eventually rewarded for his hard work.
When students finished asking questions, Marteen autographed their sriracha bottle-shaped flyers and took time to speak with each individual student.
Marteen stayed further for another Q&A with AP Music Theory Teacher Jason Aucoin’s class. Students asked questions about music production, touring, and his school life, as well as questions about North Korea, Steinway pianos, music history, the racial distribution of MSJ, pineapples on pizza, and whether he could drive. Marteen’s concert left his mark on the school, with students posting pictures of themselves with him on social media and singing his hit song “Sriracha” throughout the rest of the day.
Photo by Staff Writer Karen Li