The rose tattoo at the top of Martika's cleavage isn't subtle--but then neither is Martika.
The pretty, 19-year-old from the San Gabriel Valley, whose dance single "More Than You Know" is in the pop Top 30, likes to play the sultry vixen. She's from the if-you've-got-it-flaunt-it school.
"I like people talking about me," she admitted. Apparently that's what happened at a recent party. "I was a big hit. I was wearing this short, short dress and high boots. People liked it. And they were asking me about my tattoo. But they were talking about my music too. That's the important thing."
Martika really is one of the brightest new dance-music singers in the business. But she doesn't like that term.
"I'm not a dance-music singer," she insisted. Spoken like a true dance-music singer. Most of them hate that tag.
"It's so easy to make a dance-music record," she said. "If you're in that category it often means you can't sing--that you're limited. I'm not limited. Listen to my album and you'll hear what I'm saying is true."
If you cut through the layers of production on "Martika," her debut album on Columbia Records, you can see that she has a point. Her rousing version of Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" is particularly impressive. Martika, who's of Cuban descent, does have a decent voice, which she developed as a regular on the TV show "Kids, Inc.," in her midteens.
If Martika does become a star it will be the fulfillment of a dream she's had since she was a toddler.
"My mom asked me when I was 2 what I wanted to be when I grow up," recalled Martika, whose last name is Marrero. "I told her, 'I wanna be a star.' I started taking singing and dancing lessons when I was 4. When I was 11 I looked in the yellow pages myself to find agents. I told my parents I had to be a star."
With the help of her mother, who's now her manager, she's on her way.
What's the lure of stardom?
"I just love the idea," she replied. "To be the center of attention is great. Other people who love it won't admit it--but I do, very willingly. And I love driving in limos and wearing nice clothes and having people fuss over me and stare at me.
"It sounds silly and shallow, I know, but I'm not silly and shallow. People always say that the life of glamour and glitter has its drawbacks. Maybe, but I want to find out for myself."