Martin Bullard (aka Artem)
Loch Ness Composer
To listen to or purchase any of my albums click on the on the album covers on the Albums page
My musical career really began at the age of 5, as a chorister at St John's in nearby Belmont in Surrey. Singing was my entry level into music and my experience lay the groundwork for my interest in the piano. Before I even studied the instrument I was knocking out tunes by ear, a natural ability that still serves me well in my music career today. I was soon having lessons and, progressing quickly, I was offered an organ scholarship at Seaford College, near Petworth in West Sussex. Although I studied classical music my real interest was in playing the songs I heard on the radio and on my collection of vinyl albums. It was the era of progressive rock and I was copying the work of my idols, Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. Unbeknown to my teacher and headmaster I was sneaking in a few tunes to the otherwise sedate church music, a ploy that amused a lot of my contemporaries. My final musical statement at school was a concert of "Tubular Bells" that I performed in 1974 on the chapel organ, aided by a guitarist. The chapel was packed and I had to do a second performance to be able to reach the whole school of 300 pupils. I left this legacy behind me, believing I had reached the height of my musical career
I chose not to study music at Exeter University, opting instead to read Economics and keep music as a hobby. Whilst being a writer and performer with The Exeter Revue Society I continued to accompany other artists as well as showcase some of my comedy songs.
My music then took me into the folk clubs where I mostly played bass guitar as part of various groups and duos.
A move from London to Yorkshire in 1980 opened up new musical opportunities that were unexpected, especially after my work colleagues at Nat West Bank, where I was a management trainee, warned me that leaving London would be a mistake. Whilst working as a keyboard salesman at a well known music store in Bingley, West Yorkshire, I was headhunted by The Ward Brothers who I then joined as keyboard bass player for two years and for the making and promotion of their debut album "The madness of it all". We were on a high and looking to repeat the successes of the other artists on Siren Records, T'Pau and Cutting Crew. Sadly it didn't happen and, as a session player, I was the first person to be dropped from the project.
Feeling sadly disillusioned by the music business I vowed to have nothing more to do with it. However, my tune soon changed when, on Friday 4th March 1988, Terry Uttley, Smokie's bass player, called me to ask if I "wanted to do a few gigs with Smokie?". Of course I said yes and I am still here 32 years later.
In the meantime I have kept my work as a composer quite separate from my Smokie career. The only real crossover has been the intro and outro music that I created specially for Smokie, music that has been an integral part of the show ever since I became part of this very popular band.
Whilst still living in Yorkshire I created the theme tune for Hannah Hauxwell whose globetrotting adventures with Yorkshire Television became popular around the world. Her theme tune is found on Track 1 of Senses and Impressions.
TV soap star Malandra Burrows from Emerdale recorded the vocals to her debut single, "Just this side of love" while I provided the backing music.
My move to The Scottish Highlands in 1994 brought yet another unexpected musical opportunity when The Loch Ness Exhibition was rebuilt and required all fresh music to go with the inspiring narrations of scientist Adrian Shine, a man who had spent more time in and around Loch Ness than almost any other individual. This was my favourite project of all time as it provided me with the opportunity to record a very wide range of soundtracks to suit the various moods of the exhibits.
With no more specific projects on which to work I decided to compose and record an album of world music that was appropriately titled "World of Music". I entered the track "Kenyan Sunrise" into the Unisong Competition and it won first prize.
Other tracks from the album also received top placings in this international competition. My next work was titled "The Code Within" and its inspiration comes from the realisation that there is a lot more to human beings than we are taught to believe.
Several people asked me if I would make just an album of piano music and this is where I have arrived today, creating an EP of piano pieces with accompaniment on bass, violin and cello.
I do not know where my music will take me next but I do know that it has been a journey worth making.