Spotlight: Essence Martins

A new force has entered the indie scene- and her name is Essence Martins. The British-Nigerian singer-songwriter has just released her first EP Deer In The Headlights which is a personal and vulnerable debut filled with gems waiting to be discovered. 

If you take a quick look at Essence’ social media accounts, you will see flowy dresses, knitted sweaters and singing sessions in fields. This fairylike aesthetic translates into her music. Soft guitar melodies and dreamy compositions combined with her delicate vocals make for truly magical tracks. ‘Like A Fool’ especially showcases her tender voice and has an aesthetically pleasing music video that goes along with it.

Despite this EP being Essence’s first released project, the North Londoner has been sharing her music with audiences for years, supporting several artists as an opener. Last year, Essence sang background vocals and played the keys for none other than Birdy. That tour took her all over Europe and even as far as the United States, where Essence enchanted the audience not only with her voice but also with her positive aura and stage presence. Apart from Birdy, rising star Rachel Chinouriri is amongst Essence’s many admirers and has chosen her as the support act for her sold-out show at Koko in March. 

After showcasing her musical talents – which include singing, songwriting, playing the guitar and the keys – in national and international live performances, the 22-year-old released her debut single ‘Pending Status’ last September. On her Instagram, she shared the creation process which started in 2021. The song describes what the internet would call a situationship, something almost everyone is familiar with but which is often quite difficult to articulate. Essence, however, pinpoints those feelings perfectly.   

An equally personal track is the follow up single ‘Brussels Sprouts’, a heartfelt song dedicated to her twin sister who lives in the US. Some of the moving lyrics include: “You’re the medicine keeping me alive; You know how to drown all my doubts, you even got me to eat brussels sprouts.” It’s those personal statements wrapped in witty and sweet metaphors that make Essence the perfect storyteller.

According to the singer, her third single ‘Wandering Souls’ explores thoughts about the afterlife and the journey of the soul after the body is gone. It’s clear that Essence has an interest in the supernatural, as she also shared a snippet of a demo she titled “mermaid song”. Her music does not only transcend worlds, she also crosses several different genres; such as folk and pop. The wide range of topics her songs cover – from sibling love to relationship struggles to questions about the afterlife – further proves her musical versatility.

If you wish to experience Essence’s music and magic live, mark the 17th of April on your calendar and catch her at her first ever headline gig at the Folklore Hoxton in London, a venue which could not be more fitting for the ethereal artist. 

Written by: Melanie Falkensteiner

Edited by: Molly Day