It is days after the biggest day in local musician, Martin Kerr's singing career! He's still smiling, still glowing after a magical evening. On July first, Canada150in150® gave him a huge break as the opening act for Sarah McLachlan at Rogers Place Arena. It was "Epic", Martin says with his boyish grin.
Martin Kerr was born and raised in England. He met a Canadian girl while travelling in China. They fell in love after spending only just a few days together. He moved here to marry her in 2005. "We are not people to do things by half. Either be friends or get married." 12 years later they have three children - 2 year old Iona, and Lewis and Angus who are 4 and 8 respectively. The adorable children grace his new CD cover "Better than Brand New". His look tells it all about what it's like to make music amidst the chaos of raising a young family. "I'm always away so many evenings, so many weekend, even if it's in Edmonton, I'm still not at home putting the kids to bed. It's a tough balance."
It's been a slow climb for Kerr. "I've played in parking lots, in attics and garages, wherever." You may have heard him at the Farmer's Market downtown, just a block away from Rogers Place, where he dared to hope he would perform one day. On Canada Day, it happened. "It was the biggest show I've ever played - it was literally a dream come true to play that arena and to share a stage with Sarah McLachlan, who is one of the greatest Canadian musicians of all time."
It has been a great summer for Kerr. Two days before his Canada150in150® show at Rogers Place, he was named best male artist at the Edmonton music awards! Weeks before he sang before a packed Winspear. After Canada Day, his new album made the top ten in Canada.
On July first, Martin Kerr came with a small following. "I did have a few fans there. I definitely made some new ones. There was a big lineup for selfies with me and for autographs. It took me an hour to get through it. Most people hadn't heard from me." He says the biggest challenge is winning over new people, as many in the audience were there to see Sarah McLachlan. "It felt intimate because that is how we designed it. Sarah McLachlan is a master at drawing people in. Her songs are so intimate and confessional and tender that people feel very close to her when she sings.
I try to emulate that in both my performance and my storytelling. As McLachlan said during the evening performances in recognizing Kerr, it was a "night to remember".
Martin is moving onto his next gigs. As an independent musician, he's ready to continue to battle for the next big break. He will be charming the the crowds at the Edmonton Folk Festival in August. He's planning warm tours for the tough winter ahead in Alberta, he says with a laugh. But the image of playing at Rogers Place won't be far from his memory. "I'm really grateful to be part of the (Canada150in150®) Canada Day celebrations in Edmonton. It is a great milestone in the history of Canada. As a newcomer to Canada, it meant a lot."