Tuesday, February 15, 2022

"More Than You Know" by Martika

Song#:  3754
Date:  12/24/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  18
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Freestyle

Pop Bits:  Even as a kid, Marta Marreno had entertainment ambitions. She could sing, dance, and act, which helped her get a minor part as one of the orphanage girls in the 1982 film version of the musical Annie. That experience helped when Marreno was cast in a new kids TV show called Kids Incorporated. She landed one of the lead roles and would spend three seasons on the program beginning in 1984. It was during the show's run that Marreno adopted her Martika stage name. With Martika "aging out" of the kids show, she needed to move on to something else and after meeting songwriter/producer Michael Jay decided to pursue a career. Her first venture with Jay was recording a song he co-write with Gregory Smith titled "Bounce Back." That track along with a video they filmed for it helped to secure Martika a contract with Columbia Record. She and Jay then began to work on tracks for a self-titled debut LP. Jay would write or co-write most of the songs with Martika making contributions to four tracks including this lead single that she wrote with Jay and Michael Morrow. The tune would do well reaching #12 at Dance while cracking the Pop Top 20. It was a pretty good start for the former child actor, but her star would definitely soar higher with her next single.

ReduxReview:  I had completely forgotten that this was Martika's first Pop chart hit. It got so overshadowed by her next single that it went by the wayside quickly and pretty much stayed there. I know I haven't heard this since it was first on the chart. The tune certainly sounds of its time now, but it is not too bad. It was a step above the average dance-pop/freestyle tracks of the time with a hooky chorus and good production. Martika sounded better than some of the lead singers from the freestyle female vocal groups of the time and that also helped to elevate the song. It wasn't outstanding, but it was a solid introductory single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  1) Although she first recorded the song "Bounce Back," Martika would not use it for her debut album. However, the song would get picked up by two other artists. The L.A. band Fire on Blonde would record the tune and release it as a single in '88. It would get to #15 on the Dance chart. Then in 1990, Jay would be working on the third album from singer Alisha and she would record a version of "Bounce Back." It would reach #10 Dance and #54 Pop.  2) The TV show Kids Incorporated centered on a group of kids who formed their own rock band called, obviously, Kids Incorporated. The show would last for nine seasons and as some of the cast got older, they would leave and be replaced by other kids. Martika was one of the older kids hired in for the original cast and as she approached her late teens, it was getting time for a turnaround. She then moved on to her music career. Martika is not the only former Kids Inc. alumni to become more famous. Mario Lopez (Saved By the Bell) performed as a dancer during the run of the show. Jennifer Love Hewitt was on the show for two seasons. Perhaps the most famous kid from the show was Stacy Ferguson. The singer/dancer would be on the show for its first six seasons, which was the longest run for any cast member. Ferguson would form a female vocal trio called Wild Orchid, which featured one of her cast mates from Kids Inc. Their 1997 debut LP did fairly well thanks to three singles that reached the Pop chart. However, Ferguson's career would skyrocket after she shortened her name to Fergie and joined up with the Black-Eyed Peas. Both with the band and as a solo act, Fergie would score six #1 Pop hits and would win eight Grammy awards.


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