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LOCALS LOVE US: John Arthur Martinez hits right note with voters

John Arthur Martinez was voted favorite Marble Falls-area entertainer in the 2015 Locals Love Us awards. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro


MARBLE FALLS — John Arthur Martinez grinned as he thought back over the process of how he landed on “Nashville Star,” a reality TV show to find country music’s next big star, in 2004.

He finished second at the local level, second at the regional level and second at the national level.

But in these parts, the Highland Lakes native is first thanks to the 2015 Locals Love Us awards. The Picayune readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners voted him the favorite Marble Falls-area entertainer.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Whatever I’ve done, I’ve tried to do it with the passion I have and the ability I have.”

Martinez figures he performs 280 gigs during the year. While he and his wife, Yvonna, can make a living performing just in the state of Texas, the exposure on “Nashville Star” has helped him go national and even international.

He sings in Arizona, Florida and New England and in Normandy, France; Austria; Japan; Australia; Switzerland and other parts of the world.

Martinez, who plays the guitar and the drums, began as a songwriter and still writes daily.

He realized early on that if he wanted to hear his songs, though, he had to perform them. Martinez calls himself a songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and entertainer but adds the key to success goes beyond singing on pitch.

“You have to be able to connect with the audience,” he said.

He credits many people for helping him get a start in the entertainment business, including Debbi Walton and Mike Blakely. He and Blakely released “Blakey-Martinez” in 2007.

In December, Martinez released his newest album, “If Stars Could Sing.”

Martinez just finished a song he was inspired to write while performing at the funeral of Bill Allen. Allen’s sister talked about an oak tree that meant a lot to the family.

“A storm took that tree out and left an empty place,” he said. “She basically said to her brother, ‘You were that oak to me. You’re that huge beautiful thing now missing in our lives.’ I have to get it recorded and get it to the family. I’ve also lost friends and family members. It’s a powerful way to say something in a song.”

Though he travels the world, Martinez has not forgotten his roots. He recalled accepting a scholarship from the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce he used to attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Once he became known as an entertainer, he and Blakely were given chamber ambassador awards. Martinez still plays in three Highland Lakes restaurants on a weekly basis.

So everywhere he travels, the Highland Lakes are not far from his mind, he said.

“I don’t want to do anything that would embarrass my mother (Hortense) or my hometown.”