by Adam McGrath
The Philly artist and reality show winner is in residency at Ortlieb’s this month.
Hemming may be a relatively new creation, but Candice Martello has been doing the songwriting thing for most of her young life. Before landing a life-changing gig on a VH1 reality show, Martello went to college in West Philly and cut her teeth in the city scene playing punk rock with friend Nick Fanelli and palling around with the girls in Cayetana.
Then, after an unlikely appearance on Make Or Break: The Linda Perry Project transformed Martello from one half of punk band Omar into newly-christened solo artist Hemming, life took a very different turn for the raw talent. As co-winner of the show, Hemming scored a deal with Perry’s Custard Records, and the resulting album drops in July.
Speaking to Martello a couple weeks ago, I asked her what it was like to go from playing basement shows to essentially breaking up with her bandmate in front of a nation of TV-watchers.
“It was intense,” she laughs. “We both cried on TV. Nick is like a golden child… He knew that we wouldn’t make it as this trashy two-piece punk band, but he told me later that he really wanted to go because he thought my solo stuff could make it. He’s my manager now, so we’re pretty much together all the time anyway.”
Martello made sure to take advantage while working in the studio with Linda Perry. “It was a great experience,” she relates. “We got along really well, and I think she kind of sees a little of herself in me.
“She’s a very intense person,” Martello continues. “If I’m not giving enough emotion when I’m singing, she’ll literally stop me and make me explain to everyone what this heartbreaking song is about. The chemistry was there, and we definitely came up with a sound that I’m super happy about.”
In addition to soaking up pearls of wisdom from an accomplished writer and producer like Perry, Martello got a crash course in touring from the lovely Rachael Yamagata, who took Hemming on the road and under her wing last fall.
“I couldn’t have asked to be on tour with a better artist,” Martello sighs. “She was awesome, just totally mothered me through the whole thing. I definitely got a sense of the wear and tear that comes with playing every night.”
Thus, last November, Martello found herself on stage at Union Transfer in front of friends and family, an emotional moment for any artist playing their hometown.
“It was a total trip playing Union Transfer,” Martello admits. “I mean, I’ve seen some of my favorite bands play there, and I’ve seen some of my friends’ bands play there, so it was pretty bizarre being on the other side. Plus it was the first time my mom saw me play live!”
With the success of the TV show, tour, and first single “Vitamins”, Hemming has almost put the cart before the horse. While she has experience playing in bands, Martello is relatively new at standing front and center. Her residency at Ortlieb’s should give her plenty of time to stretch things out and experiment in a smaller setting before things take off again with the album’s summer release.
Ortlieb’s, 847 N 3rd St
Doors 8pm, Show 9pm
Wednesday, April 8
w/ The Dove & The Wolf
w/ Dead Tenors
Taco from The Love Club
w/ Abi Reimold
w/ Augusta Koch from Cayetana
Jeff Riddle and the Bella Vista Social Club