Alvester Martin Talks About Going from being Homeless to Touring with Mariah & Releasing His First Album
We covered Alvester Martin some time ago as one of our featured Eye Candy models which by itself as a little insulting of a title as he’s talented all around in the industry. As a singer, dancer and actor who has worked with a list of artists from Mariah to Rihanna and Beyoncé and been in a slew of films, his resume is definitely blessed. Life on the other hand has not always been that way for him. In a new interview with AXS.com he explains how when he finished the album his current album Love Me or Leave Me he was homeless because he put all of his money into his career. His story is powerful and encouraging because he was willing to put his everything into his work because that’s how much he believed in himself. I almost teared up reading that too. (But don’t tell anyone.) Sidebar: Can we talk about this beard he’s grown and how it amped up his #FineFactor by about 200%?
Glitzers, check out Alvester Martin’s interview with AXS.com below:
AXS: Have there been shifts in focus from dancing to singing throughout your career?
ALVESTER MARTIN: When I was younger, I focused on being a ballet dancer because I had a high school teacher at my art school tell me I couldn’t do it as a black man. That was something for me… Don’t ever tell me I can’t do anything because you just f***ed up, and I’m going to make it happen.
But the focus has always been music. I started off singing in the church choir; I played alto sax in school and went All-State, best in the state of Florida. When I moved to L.A., I never planned on dancing. I had a friend who was dancing for Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. His agent signed me based on [my friend’s] word and my commercial look at the time. Since they knew I was a ballet dancer, they sent me to a Beyoncé audition. I went in not knowing anything about hip-hop. I needed money. I was living in a studio [apartment] with four other people on air mattresses and no kitchen. I knew that I had to go for broke and couldn’t be the weakest link. God had a whole other path for me, and I got the job. That’s what actually started my dance career. Acting just happened. Debbie Allen exposed me to it and trained me, and I actually fell in love with it. So that’s like my second passion.
AXS: Are you currently balancing singing, dancing, and acting?
AM: The only dancing I do is for myself as an artist. Acting– I am open to stuff as it comes up. I just recently finished shooting [the BET television series] “Tales” this past season. That was literally a godsend. Anything that comes up as far as acting, I’m open to it. I don’t think right now I want to be a series regular on something. I’m not going to say no because I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities in the universe, but my primary focus is music right now. Dancing? No. I’m not going to go back and dance for anybody at this point in my career.
AXS: Many of us were introduced to you through “Vivica’s Black Magic.” Do you feel that the final product was an accurate portrayal?
AM: It actually was. I already knew halfway through that they were going to make me the villain just by the separatism that went on during the filming process. They kept us apart from each other.
When I first went into the real world, I was a novice. It was pitched to me [as], “This is going to be great exposure for your music.” So [I thought], “Well, I am making this transition, I will have parts that delve into my life on this side, so if it happens, it happens. If not, okay cool.” Of course, it happened.
From the first day of shooting, I was even told [by producers], “You are the loner.” As shooting went on, I saw how it was going to go. As far as my demeanor during the show, I don’t use it as a scapegoat, but there was a lot going on in my personal life. My dad had just died. Not to mention I take what I do very seriously. I feel like it’s a privilege to do anything that’s not conventional. To have a steady work stream in entertainment, that’s a blessing. So at any time, at any point, I’m intense. And I don’t apologize for it. I love what I do so much, if I could work every day, I would do it. I wouldn’t even take off for Christmas if I had a gig.
AXS: What was the time frame in which you created Love Me or Leave Me and what was your process in creating that project?
AM: Love Me or Leave Me chronicles the last four to five years of my life. The transition is probably one of the hardest parts. Professionally, you’re trying to shake this, “I’m not just this”– which is a background dancer. If I’m really, really frank and transparent, the industry doesn’t want to see you break out and do anything else as a dancer. Dancers are the lowest thing on the totem pool. That’s just how it is. Even with all the shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” the inside industry [sees] dancers as a step above the extras. Even in treatment, you have very few artists that value their dancers like that or even productions. When you’re transferring into an arena like music, a lot of people think, “Oh, they just want to be in the forefront.” And it’s really not that.
The actual song, “Love Me or Leave Me,” I wrote in 2012. I recorded it again in 2013. I sat down and [decided], “I’m totally walking away from dance. This is it. If I go broke, I go broke.” And I did, three times. Even homelessness and I say that on the album. I recorded the bulk of Love Me or Leave Me in two weeks. It was just a lot of voice notes, a lot of ideas from over the years when I didn’t have the money to really be in the studio and record a song of how I felt.
I was homeless when I recorded Love Me or Leave Me. That was November 2016 when I actually finished the album, and I didn’t have a place to stay. I didn’t have a place with Alvester Martin on the lease. I was actually staying out of Motel 6s. I didn’t even think about that until a couple of days ago– a reflective moment. I was staying between my grandmother’s house and Motel 6s. This was even post-“Black Magic,” because I took all that money and I threw it into my career. I went [to Philly] and I had two weeks, and I was just supposed to do nine songs. It developed into this album of 17 tracks.
AXS: Do you have visuals coming from the project?
AM: We have three coming pretty much back to back. The fans have picked [them], and that’s what I love about it. “Love Me or Leave Me,” the title track. I see that a lot of people like “Can’t Help It,” so I’m going to do that one. And then “H.O.T.” featuring Reek I’van, I’m going to do that one. If budget allows [laughs], I will get “I’m On” and “Ain’t Gonna Wait” in there.
AXS: Do you have any upcoming shows?
AM: I’m putting it out into the universe: I’m ready to go on tour. I don’t care if it’s an opening act spot or a smaller venue, headlining tour. I’ve been saying that; I’ve been praying for that. That is what [the team and I] are focused on right now.
[SWIPE ??] Thank you @ktla5news & @marcuswilsonsmith for having us. We had a blast! THANK YOU GOD for the opportunity And BIG THANKS to my team making this happen with 1 Day OF REHEARSAL ??! I love the f*@k outta y’all!!! ????? Management: @skylimitgroup @mrcarringtonalexander Creative Direction/Choreography: @iamaishafrancis @tobiasthaartist Music Arrangement: @kaybismee Dancers: @rilahhh_ @katcdiaz @noel_frias @thederrellbullock Styling: @jamar_hart
Credit for all photos: Alvester Martin’s Instagram account
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