“They don’t recognize that [domestic violence] until it is too late. So it’s an ongoing education that you have to give young girls.”
Martina Mariea Schiff was born on July 29, 1966 in Sharon, Kansas to Daryl and Jeanne Schiff. Her father, a farmer and cabinetry shop owner, introduced Martina to country music at a young age. After school she listened to, and sang along with, recordings of popular women country artists. Her father fronted a band, “The Schiffters,” and at the age of eight or nine, Martina began singing with them. Over the next few years her role with the band increased as she played keyboard. She joined a Wichita rock band, the Penetrators, and in 1987, she formed a band, Lotus, which rented space from a studio engineer, John McBride who she married in 1988. In 1989, the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee to launch their country music careers. The two worked for Garth Brooks who was impressed by Martina’s enthusiasm and made her his opening act. She obtained a recording contract from RCA Nashville Records in 1991. Her debut album, The Time Has Come, was released later that year. Over her career she has had 13 studio albums and several concert and compilation albums. In early 1996, she had her first number one hit “Wild Angels” which was the title song from her third album. Her second number one song was “A Broken Wing” from her album Evolution. She won her first Female Vocalist of the Year from CMA in 1999. This was followed by three more in 2002, 2003 and 2004 tying her with Reba McEntire for the most wins. Her 17 nominations for this award also tied with those of McEntire. Her number one hits continued in 1999 with “I Love You,” from the album Emotion. The number three country song “This One’s for the Girls,” off her 2003 album Martina, was a number one song on the Adult Contemporary charts. In 2010, Martina’s run with RCA ended when she signed with Republic Nashville. Her 2016 album Reckless released through Nash Icon Records, debuted at number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Over the years, she has played a larger part in writing her songs on her albums. Martina has been very active in charitable causes, working as spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. Every year since 1995, she has hosted Middle Tennessee’s YWCA’s celebrity auction. Martina was awarded the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award in 2003. Martina and husband John have three daughters, Delaney born in 1994, Emma born in 1998 and Ava born in 2005.