Vocal powerhouse and Pinoy R&B innovator Keith Martin has passed away at the age of 55. The enigmatic crooner served as some of OPM’s greatest hitmakers’ writer and producer, and released classic love songs from his 22-year discography.
An avid fan of The Jackson Five, Prince, and Stevie Wonder from a young age, Martin’s artistry was influenced by funk, R&B, soul, and jazz, as well as gospel music. At age 10, he had already learned how to play bass guitar, drums, and the piano, and would soon write his own music.
In 1990, he opened for MC Hammer’s Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em and Too Legit to Quit world tours while signed by Con Funk Shun’s Louis McCall Sr.’s label, and worked with some of the biggest names in urban music, including producers Shovani and Buster, Danny Sembello, and guitarist Jesse Johnson.
His first album, It’s Long Overdue, was released in 1995, which included the Bad Boys-featured Never Find Someone Like You. The album and the song charted on the US Billboad R&B Albums and Singles chart.
Perhaps the most famous of his songs in Asia, Because of You, was included in his debut album as the closing track. The song would eventually rise to extreme popularity in the Philippines, where he would shortly move to collaborate with local artists and further build his fanbase.
In 2004, Martin moved to the Philippines where he would be hired by the record label, EMI Philippines, to produce music for OPM staples that included Gary Valenciano, Gloc 9, and Kyla.
He continued to serve as producer to the more prominent stars in the east, including Australia’s Ron Kingston, Indonesia’s Dira Sugandi Zulham, and Singapore’s Shun Ng. His last official release, the single, Return To Me, came out in 2018.
Martin is remembered by his peers and collaborators, including OPM songstress Kyla, who expressed her condolences to his fans and loved ones with a tweet saying, “In shock and in disbelief.. You will be missed, Keith Martin.. Thank you for the inspiration. You will leave a legacy of great music that is timeless and will always be [remembered]..”
Keith’s legacy is the message of beauty and bliss in the love songs that he crafted for everyone to embrace. Rest in peace, Keith Martin, and thank you for the love and the joy you brought all of us. Your memory will live on through the songs of passion you’ve gifted to us.