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Chris Martin

This article is about the Coldplay musician. For other uses, see Chris Martin (disambiguation).

Chris Martin
Music Midtown (Piedmont Park) in Atlanta, GA on 24 September 2011
Born Christopher Anthony John Martin
(1977-03-02) 2 March 1977 (age 38)
Exeter, Devon, England
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
  • producer
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Gwyneth Paltrow (m. 2003–14)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Keyboards
Associated acts

Christopher Anthony John "Chris" Martin (born 2 March 1977)[1] is an English singer-songwriter, the lead vocalist and co-founder of the band Coldplay.

Early life and education

Chris Martin was born in Whitestone, Exeter, Devon, England, and is the eldest of five children. His father, Anthony Martin, is a retired accountant, and his mother, Alison Martin, is a music teacher. His family's business was Martin's of Exeter which was a business selling campers. His aunt married a descendent of Winston Churchill, thus Chris is a cousin by marriage of the Churchills.[2][3]

Martin was educated at the pre-preparatory Hylton School and the preparatory Exeter Cathedral School where he found his passion for music.[4] After Exeter Cathedral School, Martin boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent school in Dorset and where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.[5] Also, at Sherborne School, he co-created a band called Bunga, that lasted for 2 years, with guitarists Ben Laidlow and Simon Clark, bass player Gavin Reece-Smith, and drummer Ralph Cree.

Martin continued his studies at University College London, staying at Ramsay Hall, where he read Ancient World Studies and graduated with first-class honours degree in Greek and Latin.[3][6] Here, he also met future Coldplay bandmates Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman.[7]

Recording career


Main article: Coldplay

While studying at University College London, Martin met Jonny Buckland with whom he decided to form a band - Martin on lead vocals and Buckland as lead guitarist. They were joined by Guy Berryman as their bass player and Will Champion, who learnt how to play drums in order to serve as the drummer for the band. In 1996, they formed the rock band Coldplay, originally known as Pectoralz, later changed to Starfish temporarily until finally they were offered the name Coldplay by another band who did not want it anymore.

Since the release of their first album Parachutes in 2000 the band has had internationally recognized fame and success. To date, they have released six studio albums in total along with several EP's, including A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay Live 2003, X&Y, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, Prospekt's March, LeftRightLeftRightLeft, Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay Live 2012, and Ghost Stories.

Solo work

Martin sitting at his piano for a 2005 concert

As a solo artist, Martin has written songs for a variety of acts including Embrace ("Gravity") and Jamelia ("See It in a Boy's Eyes", co-written with Coldplay producer Rik Simpson). Martin has also collaborated with Ron Sexsmith, Faultline when he sang on two haunting Faultline tracks: 'Where is My Boy?' and 'Your Love Means Everything Part2.', The Streets, and Ian McCulloch. He also sang a part of the vocals for the Band Aid 20 single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at the end of 2004. In 2005, Martin collaborated with Nelly Furtado on the track "All Good Things (Come to an End)", for her 2006 album, Loose. The two were once rumoured to be a couple, after they both performed at Glastonbury in 2002. Furtado joked about the situation, saying that "Yeah, he's my boyfriend – he just doesn't know it yet".[8]

Martin's fascination with hip hop was shown in mid-2006 when he collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for the rapper's comeback album Kingdom Come after the two met earlier in the year. Martin put some chords together for a song known as "Beach Chair" and sent them to Jay-Z who enlisted the help of hip hop producer Dr. Dre to mix it. Coldplay producer Rik Simpson conceived and performed the drum beats. The song was performed on 27 September 2006 by the two during Jay-Z's European tour at Royal Albert Hall. In 2007, Martin appeared on a track titled "Part of the Plan" for Swizz Beatz' debut solo album One Man Band Man. Martin has also worked on a solo collaboration with Kanye West, with whom he shared an impromptu jam session during a 2006 concert at Abbey Road Studios.[9] He performed the chorus of "Homecoming", from Kanye West's album Graduation.


Martin's and Coldplay's main influence is the Scottish rock band Travis, with Martin crediting the band for the creation of his own group.[10] U2 has been another important influence on Martin both musically and politically,[11] on whom he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Artists of All Time",[12] in the section on U2, saying: "I don't buy weekend tickets to Ireland and hang out in front of their gates, but U2 are the only band whose entire catalogue I know by heart. The first song on The Unforgettable Fire, "A Sort of Homecoming", I know backward and forward – it's so rousing, brilliant, and beautiful. It's one of the first songs I played to my unborn baby." Martin also comments on Bono's effect on his own charity and political involvement he is even known to joke with friends referring to himself as "Crono".[11]

Martin and Coldplay were greatly influenced by Radiohead. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Martin had this to say about the English rock band: "Sometimes I feel like they cleared a path with a machete, and we came afterward and put up a strip mall... I would still give my left ball to write anything as good as OK Computer."[13]

Martin is very vocal about his love for Norwegian new wave/Synthpop band a-ha. In 2005 he stated the following in an interview: "I found myself in Amsterdam the other day and I put a-ha's first record on. I just remembered how much I loved it. It's incredible songwriting. Everyone asks what inspired us, what we've been trying to steal from and what we listened to as we were growing up – the first band I ever loved was a-ha."[14] Martin has also performed live together with Magne Furuholmen of a-ha, introducing him as "the best keyboard player in the world".[15] In November 2011, he stated that "back when we didn't have any hits of our own we used to play a-ha songs."[16]

He is also known to be a fan of artists such as English alternative rock bands Oasis and Muse,[17] Irish pop group Westlife,[18] British pop groups Girls Aloud[19][20] and Take That,[21] and Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire. Solo artists Martin likes include Noel Gallagher, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel.[17] In 2014, Martin inducted Gabriel into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career, and performed live with the former Genesis frontman.[22]

Coldplay performed R.E.M.'s "Nightswimming" with Michael Stipe during their Austin City Limits performance in 2005, as a part of the Twisted Logic Tour. Martin went on to call "Nightswimming" "the greatest song ever written".[23] He has called Richard Ashcroft, formerly of The Verve, "the best singer in the world".[24]

Other endeavours

File:Chris Martin - Trouble07.jpg
Martin playing "Trouble" on his piano during a concert in Brazil, February 2007

Martin and Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland made cameo appearances in the film Shaun of the Dead as supporters of the fictional charity ZombAid.[25] Martin has a second cameo in this film as a Zombie.[25] In 2006 Martin had a cameo role in the second series episode four of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant created comedy Extras. He also appears singing in the closing credits of the 2009 film Brüno alongside Bono, Sting, Slash, Snoop Dogg, and Elton John.[26] Martin also played one gig with the "Sid James Experience".

Martin has been particularly outspoken on issues of fair trade and has campaigned for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. He travelled to Ghana and Haiti to meet farmers and view the effects of unfair trade practices.[27] When performing he usually has variations of "Make Trade Fair", "MTF" or an equal sign written on the back of his left hand and the letters "MTF" can be seen emblazoned on his piano.[28]

He was a vocal critic of President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Martin was a strong supporter of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, most notably during his acceptance speech for the 2004 Grammy Awards Record of the Year, accepting for "Clocks". Martin also supported the Democratic Party candidate for President in 2008, giving a shout-out to Barack Obama at the end of a performance of "Yellow" on 25 October 2008 episode of Saturday Night Live.[29]

On 1 April 2006, The Guardian reported that Martin was backing the British Conservative Party leader David Cameron and had written a new theme song for the party titled "Talk to David".[30][31] This was later revealed to be an April Fool's joke. Whilst touring Australia in March 2009, Martin and the rest of Coldplay were the opening act at the Sound Relief benefit concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, for the bushfires and floods in Victoria and Queensland.

Martin appeared in a video for the "Robin Hood Tax" campaign, which proposes a tax on stock trades in the United States.[32] This tax is aimed at levelling the field between the so-called "1% and 99%".

On 12 December 2012, Martin performed as a part of the "12 12 12 Concert" which was held as a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief. He performed "Viva La Vida", the R.E.M. song "Losing My Religion" (with the former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe),and "Us Against the World". Other performers in the show included Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney.[33]

On 25 March 2014, just moments after his "conscious uncoupling" separation with wife Gwyneth Paltrow was announced, it was revealed that Martin would join The Voice US as a guest special advisor beginning the following week.[34]

On 15 November 2014, Martin joined the charity group Band Aid 30, performing alongside British and Irish pop acts on the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa—this was the second time Martin has contributed to a Band Aid recording having performed in the 2004 version.[35]

In March 2015, Martin attended the televised launch of music streaming service Tidal via a video link, and revealed himself, along with other notable artists, as a shareholder in the company.[36]

Personal life

Martin was married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow for 10 years. The couple met at a Coldplay concert in 2002, while the band was touring their second album A Rush of Blood to the Head, after tabloids had started rumouring a relationship between the two. Only after that did they begin an official relationship.[37] Martin was a help to Paltrow while she was dealing with her father's death, writing the song "Fix You" in the process. The couple announced Paltrow's pregnancy and proceeded to get married on 5 December 2003,[38] a quiet ceremony in the absence of all their friends and family. They announced their separation in March 2014.[39]

Their daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born in May 2004 in London.[40] Martin and the band released a song "I am your baby's daddy" under the name "The Nappies" in anticipation of the birth of Apple. The band's song "Speed of Sound" was also inspired by Martin's experience and awe at becoming a father. Their second child, Moses Bruce Anthony Martin, was born in April 2006 in New York City.[41] Moses's name was inspired by a song Moses that Martin wrote for Paltrow. Simon Pegg and Martin's bandmate Jonny Buckland are Apple's godfathers, and in exchange Martin is the godfather to Pegg's daughter.[42][43] Martin is a long-time friend of Pegg, having met him in 2001, and appears in one of Pegg's movies, Shaun of the Dead,[25] along with Buckland.

Martin does not smoke cigarettes but he does force himself to drink vodka when he behaves "like an idiot".[44][45] PETA named him the World's Sexiest Vegetarian in 2005,[46] and has even been a vegan for a while, but after breaking up with Paltrow he started eating meat again.[47]

Martin had a devout Roman Catholic upbringing, but has since lapsed. In a 2005 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Martin said of his religious views: "I definitely believe in God. How can you look at anything and not be overwhelmed by the miraculousness of it?"[48] In the same interview he spoke of going through a period of spiritual confusion, stating "I went through a weird patch, starting when I was about sixteen to twenty-two, of getting God, religion, superstition, judgement all confused".[48] In a 2008 interview he said, "I'm always trying to work out what 'He' or 'She' is. I don't know if it's Allah or Jesus or Mohammed or Zeus. But I'd go for Zeus."[49] Following the interview, he released a text message declaring himself an "all-theist", a word of his invention meaning that he believes in "everything".[49]

William Willett, the man who campaigned for and made daylight saving time a recognized practice, is Martin's great-great-grandfather. Willet entered his father's building business, Willett Building Services. They created a reputation for "Willett built" quality houses in choice parts of London and the south, including Chelsea[2] and Hove, including Derwent House. He lived most of his life in Chislehurst, Kent, where, it is said, after riding his horse in Petts Wood near his home early one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down, the idea for daylight saving time first occurred to him.[50]

Martin often suffers from insomnia and has undergone sleep therapy.[51] He has said in interviews that ideas for songs most often come to him at night, and that he also often has nightmares.[51]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Extras Himself "Chris Martin" (Season 2: Episode 4)
2010 The Simpsons Himself "Million Dollar Maybe" (Season 21: Episode 11)
2014 Saturday Night Live Himself Saturday Night Live (Season 39: Episode 764)


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Shaun of the Dead Himself Cameo appearance
With Jonny Buckland
2009 Brüno Himself Cameo appearance



Year Song(s) Artist Album Role
2002 "Where Is My Boy?"
"Your Love Means Everything, Pt. 2"
Faultline Your Love Means Everything Featured vocals
"Gold in Them Hills" Ron Sexsmith Cobblestone Runway Featured vocals
2003 "Sliding", "Arthur" Ian McCulloch Slideling Piano, backing vocals
"See It in a Boy's Eyes" Jamelia Thank You Co-writer, backing vocals
2004 "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" Ash Orpheus Backing vocals
"Gravity" Embrace Out of Nothing Writer
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid 20 Featured vocals
2006 "All Good Things (Come to an End)" Nelly Furtado Loose Co-writer, background vocals
"In the Sun" Michael Stipe - background vocals
"Beach Chair" Jay-Z Kingdom Come Producer, featured vocals
2007 "Homecoming" Kanye West Graduation Co-writer, featured vocals, piano
2009 "Lukas", "Fun", "Want" Natalie Imbruglia Come to Life Co-writer
"Dove of Peace" Brüno Brüno Featured vocals
2010 "Most Kingz" Jay-Z Featured vocals
"Me and Tennessee" Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw Country Strong Writer
2012 "I Don't Want You To Die" The Flaming Lips The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends Featured Vocals
2014 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid 30 Featured vocals
2015 "Heaven" Avicii Stories Featured vocals

with Coldplay

Main article: Coldplay discography


  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1249). 8 Mar 2013. p. 20. 
  2. ^ "Chris Martin: The stereo MC". London: Independent. 23 February 2003. Retrieved 23 February 2003. 
  3. ^ a b Ellen, Barbara (7 December 2003). "The Observer Profile: Jonny Buckland and Chris Martin". London: The Observer. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  4. ^ "X & Y = Zzzzzzzz". London: The Daily Telegraph. 11 June 2005. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "The State of Coldplay". Q. August 2002. 
  6. ^ No byline (27 January 2003), "She's with the Band". People. 59 (3):69
  7. ^ "Coldplay's university challenge". BBC News. 22 February 2001. Retrieved 21 February 2001. 
  8. ^ "Compilation Brings Nelly Furtado and Chris Martin Together Forever". Chart. 5 September 2001. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  9. ^ NME staff author (2006). "Chris Martin to release solo collaboration" NME magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
  10. ^ "Chris Martin | Martin: 'Travis Invented Coldplay'". Contactmusic. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 December 2006. 
  12. ^ "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  13. ^ "Chris Martin | The Coldplay to Radiohead Connection: A Video Investigation'". Rolling Stone. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Martin: 'I'm A Big Fan Of A-Ha'". 
  15. ^ "Coldplay – Hunting High And Low (Chris Martin and Mags)". Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  16. ^ "Vi kjente at noen av de nye låtene virkelig fant sin liveform – kultur". 24 November 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" (PDF). 8 April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Chris Martin: I dream about Westlife". Now. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  19. ^ Sylvia Patterson (5 October 2008). "Girls uninterrupted". The Observer (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  20. ^ "Chris Martin : you can't just fancy one member of Girls Aloud, its all or nothing". Celebrities News. fametastic. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008. 
  21. ^ "Chris Martin reveals Coldplays secret love of Take That". Celebrities News. fametastic. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008. 
  22. ^ "Coldplay's Chris Martin performs with Peter Gabriel at Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony". NME. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Coldplay On Austin City Limits On Jambase". Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Richard Ashcroft 'Married' To Chris Martin". Gigwise. 19 March 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c "Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Trivia", IMDb, 2008, webpage: IMDb-5748: notes role as zombie, and singer in Ash music.
  26. ^ Ben Child (1 April 2009). "Bono and Chris Martin record spoof single for Sacha Baron Cohen film". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  27. ^ "Coldplay". Oxfam. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  28. ^ Gundersen, Edna (3 June 2005). "Catch Coldplay // USA TODAY". Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Coldplay Gives Shout Out To Obama On SNL // Current". 26 October 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  30. ^ Olaf Priol (2006). "Their wives met at yoga. Now Chris Martin plans to rock the vote for Cameron's Tories" The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2006.
  31. ^ Guardian staff (2006). "Talk to David" The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
  32. ^ "Introducing the Robin Hood Tax". Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  33. ^ "12 Unforgettable Photos from the Epic 12-12-12 Sandy Benefit Concert". TIME. Retrieved 15 December 2012
  34. ^ Walker, Danny (26 March 2014). "Chris Martin confirms The Voice appearance and Gwyneth Paltrow guests in Glee moments after 'consciously uncoupled' announcement". Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "Band Aid 30: One Direction among celebrity line-up". Telegraph. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  36. ^ "Six awkward moments at Jay Z's Tidal relaunch". BBC. March 31, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's love story: How the small town UK boy landed a Hollywood film star". Mirror. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  38. ^ Hiatt, Brian (10 December 2003). "Gwyneth Paltrow marries Chris Martin". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  39. ^ Paltrow, Gwyneth (25 March 2014). "Conscious Uncoupling". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  40. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (14 May 2004). "It's a Girl for Gwyneth Paltrow & Hubby". People. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  41. ^ Robertson, Jessica (10 April 2006). "Coldplay's Chris Martin Has a Boy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  42. ^ "Martin+Paltrow Name Pegg As Godfather". 9 September 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  43. ^ "Simon Pegg named Apple Martin's godfather", Celebrity Baby, 2007, webpage (has 10 ads): CB.
  44. ^ "Chris Martin: The stereo MC". The Independent (London). 23 February 2003. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  45. ^ "Chris Martin Drinks Vodka to Remind Himself 'Not to be Such an Idiot'". Zimbio. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  46. ^ "Chris Martin Named World's Sexiest Vegetarian," Agence France-Presse, 23 July 2005.
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b Austin Scaggs (11 August 2005). "Coldplay's Quiet Storm". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 April 2009. 
  49. ^ a b "What is Chris Martin's problem? – Music, Entertainment –". 22 June 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  50. ^ Jonathan Dekel "Daylight Saving Time’s Coldplay connection"
  51. ^ a b "Chris Martin has sleep therapy". xinmsn. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 

External links