Dani Martinez ’21 (stage name Ohio Martinez) released her first full-length album, titled Sentences and Figurines, on March 10, 2021 to follow her first EP from August of 2020. Martinez, an English major and music minor, recorded the album from her basement in New Jersey, and released it after returning to Kenyon.
She came up with the name “Ohio Martinez” during her first year at Kenyon, before she began writing her own lyrics and recording vocals. Martinez said that “Ohio Martinez is an homage to a place that was and continues to be really formative for me as an artist.”
Martinez has been making music since she was a little kid when she would write “funny songs and musical numbers” with her sister in the basement. In elementary school, Martinez began taking clarinet and piano lessons, which became a form of self-expression in a world she “otherwise found very dull.” In middle school, Martinez began to write her own music using the same technique she does now: trial and error.
Martinez recorded the album entirely on her own, from instrumentals and vocals to production. It was an arduous process. “I had to play every instrument that I wanted to have included in the song, and sing every little harmony,” she said. Despite creating the album on her own, she credits her patient friends for helping her finish composing the songs.
Sentences and Figurines is a personal work for Martinez, as it follows an intense emotional trajectory concerning self-image which can, according to Martinez, “present itself in a deceivingly simple way.” She explained, “The [album] title was my way of remembering that everything is made up of smaller parts if you look close enough.”
Martinez recommended listeners first play the album through without shuffling the songs to absorb the journey it documents. “I tried to have the songs parallel a kind of emotional trajectory by starting the album with a lot of pain and confusion, and ending with something hopefully more conclusive and relieving,” she said.
It’s evident there’s a story behind the making of this album as the songs get progressively longer. The first song, “It’s Never As Bad As You Think It Is” is just under a minute, while the final song, “Paper,” is just over four minutes. Though the album is deeply personal to Martinez, she said, “I sincerely hope people who listen to my music for the first time are able to connect with it in some way.”
Sentences and Figurines is accessible on most streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.