Originally from California’s Central Valley, Joe and Martina’s agricultural roots prepared them for the intense routine and dedication that’s necessary for establishing a career in the entertainment business.
“We are big ‘Ag-Vocates,” said Martina. “Being involved in the FFA in high school taught me morals and values. It really made me the woman I am today.”
“As the son of a third-generation farmer, I’ve always had a healthy work ethic,” adds Joe. “The care and keeping of land and livestock will teach you that, but also about yourself and who you strive to be.”
In August of 2013, the couple decided to move 2,200 miles east to “Music City “ and further pursue their artistry.
Reflecting on moving from California… What are some of your new Tennessee favorites — venues, restaurants, attractions, etc. — that you would recommend to first time visitors?
Tennessee feels almost like a different planet than California — haha. The weather is different, the air feels differently, and it’s so GREEN everywhere! So moving here was definitely a big change. We absolutely love it though and wouldn’t dream of calling anywhere else home.
Some of our favorite music venues in Nashville are The Nashville Palace, Scoreboard, Roberts Western World and 3rd and Lindsley. You’re guaranteed to find great music (and players) on any one of those stages. We honestly haven’t eaten at many restaurants in Nashville, but a few that have really blown our minds were Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and Merchant’s. If you want something more casual Jack’s Bar-B-Que never disappoints. EVERYONE visiting Nashville must visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.
Old billing ‘Terra Bella’. What prompted the renaming?
The name was never originally something we chose. So, for the last few years we were trying to market ourselves as something that we never really felt was “ours.” From day one we always wanted to go by our real names, we felt it was finally time to just go for it.
Nashville Palace. What was it like when you played there the first time?
It felt like a step back in time. It’s one of the original Honky Tonks in Nashville and there is just something nostalgic that you feel inside that venue. Knowing its history and seeing as many amazing bands as we have in that room we were also a little bit nervous too, but that quickly went away once we felt the crowd give us back the energy we were giving them.
Favorite 90’s songs to cover?
Martina: “Fancy” — Reba
What’s the story behind “Give Me Back the 90's” that was co-written with Dustin Huff and Johnny Garcia?
Johnny was the one who brought up the idea of writing a song about “The 90's.” At first we were thinking of centering it around 90’s Country Music, but eventually realized it could be bigger than that. We really wanted to mention 90’s country music, but also talk about the way of life back then. The invention of the cell phone and internet has really changed the world, sometimes it’d sure be nice to just go back for a little while.
How did you connect with John Berry to be part of the song and video?
We befriended John’s son Caelan at a friend’s birthday party and had met John in person shortly after that. When the song was written there was no doubt that he was the voice we wanted on that last chorus, so we asked Caelan to show John the song and see if he’d be interested in the project. To our excitement he was! We finally got each other’s phone numbers and have since become really good friends.
Which John Berry song do you wish you wrote?
Martina: “Standing On The Edge Of Goodbye”
Behind the Scenes — how did the storyboard for the video come together?
We wanted something that was a nod to our heroes, but we were super open to ideas. Our director Justin Hoskins came up with the storyboard which we really loved. He took inspiration from the George Strait movie “Pure Country”, Jo Dee Messina’s video for “Bye Bye,” Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” and a few other 90’s classics. It’s really fun to see if fans can catch all the references!
What songs are on your 90’s playlist?
To name a few….
Charting on Billboard and Music Row Magazine. How difficult has it been to get radio adds during the pandemic?
Being an independent act, it’s never easy getting radio adds, but we’ve been very blessed with this song. The combination of our history and friendships with a lot of these radio stations, our amazing radio team at GrassRoots Promotions, and a song that resonates with people has made this go-around pretty smooth. On the flip side though, we both love visiting stations, so that’s probably been the hardest part about having a single out during the pandemic… we can’t go out and do what we do best.
Connecting with other artists to write and record while staying at home?
We haven’t written much during the pandemic with outside writers, but we did write a new song just the two of us. We’ve also been working on a new album while staying home. Luckily we have a home studio and Joe is a producer, so that worked out pretty well. We’ve been able to get studio musicians to play on the record through file sharing — which has been a pretty cool process.
Challenges of being an indie artist moving forward as the music industry evolves post quarantine?
EXPOSURE EXPOSURE EXPOSURE!!! As an indie act our goal is to get in front of as many new potential fans as we can. With the possibility of no touring this year it makes doing that more difficult, not to mention a lot of our income comes from playing shows. We are finding new ways to connect with fans though social media etc. We both feel like the future is looking bright despite the bit of darkness we are going through at the moment.
What is the power of social media’s role in keeping in touch with fans while everyone is staying home?
Please see above — hahaha! Seriously though, it’s the most important platform we have right now. Without it we would just be singing to each other.
What can fans expect when they join your “FanTheJam”?
Lots of really really cool exclusive stuff! We’re talking unreleased songs, exclusive videos, behind the scenes footage and so much more. This week we are adding our first episode of “The Joe and Martina Podcast/Webshow” which is candid interviews with fellow artists, writers and musicians that we work with. In all reality it’s like becoming part of our “team” you’ll get to see and hear stuff only the two of us and our publicist typically get to. Our parents even have to subscribe to see this stuff!
Outside of working on new music, what have you most enjoyed doing while being at home these past few months?
We’ve re-connected with the outdoors. Martina bought a horse and spends her free time out on the ranch. It’s a different way to embrace your creativity and open your heart to what matters most.
You refer to yourselves as ag-vocates. From new home gardeners to experienced ranchers, what are some resources people can access to grow their own food, raise livestock, etc.?
With the booming success of social media, many farmers and ranchers have created their own profiles and websites. Not only do they share their products, but they also share knowledge for those who seek it. Shop small and buy local. It’s a perfect place to start.
Favorite reality shows to binge watch?
Moving forward, what role will music play in helping people adjust to the new ‘normals’?
I think music is going to play the same role it always has… it’s here to heal broken hearts, to make you laugh, to get you through hard times and help celebrate good ones.