Musical Theatre is a beloved art discipline that gives equal importance to singing and spoken-word as it does to theatrical acting and dance movement. When Katrina Cherys (KC) Martinez steps on stage to perform, it’s not difficult to see that her talent is undeniable and represents an extra wholesome integration of songbook and music score.

Martinez, a former student at Turner Fenton and Fletchers Meadow Secondary Schools, grew up singing gospel music at her family’s Baptist church. When her parents took her to support her cousin’s singing performance at a community theatre, she was motivated and inspired to start performing on stage too.

In 2007 Martinez joined Jubilance Singers and Orchestra Choir and to date has travelled to 15 different countries, including Denmark, France, and Costa Rica. It was in 2009, that the Choir troupe embarked on a trip that would change her whole perspective on singing. Their choir toured the island of Haiti where they performed music in orphanages, jails and hospitals. This experience made her realize that her singing isn’t just for the sake of singing, but it is to share the uplifting joy that can be delivered to others through song.

Despite the language barrier the musical harmonies shared fostered an incredible exchange between their choir and the audiences they performed for while on that trip to Haiti. Martinez says she was amazed when she witnessed the elevated feelings of hope, the entertaining exchanges of songs, smiles and dance that sparked real and sincere moments of joy in the most unlikely of places. 

Martinez undeniably attributes her performances in Haiti as being the experience that shifted her way of thinking and elevating her artistic practice beyond just singing for herself and thinking more thoughtfully about its impact on other people. 

Attending a Brampton Music Theatre show with a friend back in November of 2017 inspired Martinez to audition for an opportunity to perform with the BMT troupe. In preparation for the auditions, she says she was able to develop her creative process, which includes immersing herself in the whole production. She uses moments of solitude to listen to all of the music, absorbing every word contained in the lyrical numbers. She also studies the movies and musicals, if they are available, as a way to research the historical set designs and wardrobe elements used in similar performances.

When she is cast in a part of a musical theatre character, her creative process opens to include the other artistic performers around her on their collective journeys, being mindful of how her part and theirs will blend, as well as mindfulness of their artistic input too.

Martinez herself is a self-taught, naturally talented singer who practices often yet stays open to and has gathered many helpful tips from other musical artists on how to use her vocal cords optimally. Since her initial audition, Martinez has performed in the Brampton Music Theatre productions of Hairspray the Broadway MusicalThe Hunchback of Notre Dame and Newsies the Broadway Musical. Most recently, she performed at Vibrant Brampton Festival in July 2019. 

As she’s progressed forward with her art form, she places a great amount of emphasis on self-care and takes time out regularly to see to those personal things that keep her spirits lifted and help her ward off any fears of not measuring up to other people’s standards. She also finds that she gathers incredible inspiration from watching other artists perform — Waitress at Mirvish Theatre was her most recently attended musical. Seeing different performance styles fuel her efforts to give and be her best to the audience when she is performing.

Martinez is currently the Creative Arts Director at the Bramalea Christian Fellowship church where she handles stage design, event decor and music teaching. In recent years, she started and continues to facilitate her own annual summer music camps, where she teaches and trains Junior and High School students on vocals, piano, drums, guitar and dance. Each camp participant works towards a performance at the end of each summer

Martinez keeps a special place in her heart for gospel music because it is in her roots and where she got her start with singing but holds high aspirations of one-day performing musicals on Broadway. With her talent, willingness to grow and steadfast, focused effort, this homegrown Brampton artist will make it there. Be sure to follow Katrina’s artist journey by visiting her @katrinacherys.

Artist spotlights feature local artists and creatives from all disciplines as a way to spread the word about Brampton’s growing arts and creative scene. The series is brought to you in partnership with City of Brampton. City of Brampton supports local talent and creatives. Visit their website for more information.