Keith Eric Martin was born September 22, 1966 as the second son of 3 children in Washington DC. Growing up, Keith Martin listened to a lot of Glenn Louise, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Stevie Wonder. He was also influenced by jazz and gospel music]. He started playing piano, drums and singing when he was 10 and started writing music when he was 19.
Keith was a force among local artists in the late 80s, working and performing with such artists as Johnny Gill and Stacy Lattisaw. He was a part of the group Masqerade, which included twins Art & Scott Powell, Sharif Walters and D’Extra Wiley, who later became a member of the 90’s new jack R&B group II D Extreme.
Con Funk Shun founder and drummer Louis McCall saw Keith and immediately signed him to his Gaithersburg, MD artist management company owned by he and his wife Linda Lou McCall, a music business consultant and songwriter. Linda Lou was hired by MC Hammer in 1990 to help set up his corporate operations and administration in Oakland, CA. When she became Vice President of Hammer’s artist management company, she and Louis arranged for Keith to come to California and got him on as part of MC Hammer’s “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” and “Too Legit to Quit” world tours.
When the McCalls relocated to Los Angeles in 1992, Keith followed, enabling him to work with Boyz II Men, Shovani and Buster, Grammy award-winning songwriter and producers Marty Sharon and Danny Sembello, Oji Pierce, Ian Prince, and the The Time’s Jesse Johnson. He also honed his already impressive vocal skills under Kenny Lattimore and Johnny Gill, then part of New Edition.
Seeing how prolific Keith is with his songwriting, one of the Boyz Michael McCary finally brought Keith to Sony, where he eventually put out his first album, It’s Long Overdue in 1995, which peaked at #82 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. His first single “Never Find Someone Like You” (which was also independently recorded by Backstreet Boys before) peaked at #53 on the Billboard Hot 100and at #43 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and was included in the platinum-selling Bad Boys soundtrack.
For the next decade Keith stayed busy in the music business, producing and writing, and even making time to release several successful solo CDs, gaining him a large fan base throughout the world. His ballad, “Because Of You”, is still a major favorite in the US and Asia.