Born as Dorothy Martin Valentine on April 11, 1986, the singer-songwriter originally grew up in Budapest, Hungary before calling Los Angeles, California her home. Better known as Dorothy, she was introduced by her cousin to guitarist Mark Jackson and his production partner, Ian Scott. When the men heard her singing voice for the first time they were blown away. The musicians wasted no time putting some old-school metal riffs to her songwriting talent with the knowledge they had something special in the works as a group talent.
In 2014, Dorothy Martin and her band released Dorothy as an EP that would turn them into LA’s own brand of jukebox heroes. Using the influence of AC/DC and Black Sabbath as sources of inspiration, they also fused in some old-style hip-hop material that enabled them to come up with some original material they felt was worth recording. “After Midnight” was the hard-hitting debut single that would put Dorothy’s name on the map as an American rock band. The live performance which became their first music video had the lead vocalist sport a faux-fur coat, vintage t-shirt, and red lips. This became the woman’s signature look.
During the summer of 2014, Dorothy and her band were invited by Skullcandy to accompany them in performances for a European tour. When “After Midnight” debuted as a music video on September 14th of that year in the U.K., Suki Waterhouse was the actress that was used in the footage. In the United States, Dorothy was invited to perform at Bardot in Hollywood for Chris Douridas’ School Night series. Her stage presence as a performer had the audience revved up as they couldn’t seem to get enough of Dorothy Martin’s vocal talent.
2014 was a big year for Dorothy Martin and her bandmates as all the eyes of the music industry that were paying attention knew they were destined for greatness. According to publications like LA Weekly, Dorothy was seen as a serious rock band that was doing everything right as musical performers.
On June 24, 2016, Dorothy released their debut album, Rockisdead. Immediately after this, they teamed up with Halestorm, serving as their opening act while on tour. Come 2017, “Down to the Bottom” would be released as a standalone single. It became one of the songs chosen for Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 4 car racing video game.
In 2018, Dorothy released a second studio album, 28 Days in the Valley. According to Dorothy Martin, this was an album that was lighter and brighter with feminine energy that steered away from edgy metal into something a bit softer. It was also that same year she performed a duet with Dolly Parton for the country legend’s film, Dumplin.
In 2019, a remixed version of “Freedom” was released as a single 2019 that would once again become popular among the fans accessing the streaming channels of SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube. Then in 2021 Dorothy released a second EP, Thrive in the Darkness. It featured four previously released tracks, including her two biggest hit singles, “After Midnight” and “Wicked Ones.”
After this, Gifts from the Holy Ghost became Dorothy’s third studio album in 2022. The songs featured in it were influenced by an incident Dorothy Martin experienced after witnessing what she felt was a supernatural experience.
Dorothy’s Star Quality
Prior to becoming a rockin’ sensation that’s captured a global collection of devout fans, there was a time Dorothy Martin had a fear of performing before a live audience. Long before adopting the ultra-confident persona expressed on stage and in videos, the otherwise introverted songstress was actually hesitant at first to take her singing career to the world-class level it is at now. After overcoming her shyness, she’s made tremendous leaps and bounds as a rocker who seems to have shelved that shy girl personality into the archives.
Martin’s popularity doesn’t come from catering to the whims of what’s trendy. It comes from what works for her as a person and as an artist. That’s what makes her so appealing to an audience who knows raw talent when they hear it. It’s not about sex appeal or about meeting mainstream expectations. It’s about being open and honest in an industry that’s been known for making one u-turn after another. Dorothy’s approach to rock and roll has been refreshing, especially among a fan base who sometimes felt the aura of the genre hasn’t always been on track as it should be.
However, just like the music industry, including rock, Dorothy continues to evolve as new life experiences continue to pave the way for some really good songwriting material. Again speaking as a fan, here’s hoping we hear more from this incredibly talented band.
Top 10 Dorothy Songs
#10 – A Beautiful Life
Release in 2022, “A Beautiful Life” was just one example of how a direct encounter with the supernatural forever changed the life of Dorothy Martin and her crew. Coming from the album, Gifts from the Holy Ghost, this song shared the same inspiration after Martin witnessed someone close to her coming back to life after briefly experiencing death while they were on tour. She shared in interviews that what she witnessed felt like God himself was listening as she instinctively prayed on behalf of the guitar tech that lay dead on the floor before her.
According to Martin, she saw the man’s skin color feature the same bluish-green pigment that describes the appearance of a human being that’s just passed away. At the time, the guitar tech was a heroin addict who apparently overdosed when Martin discovered him on the floor. As instinct, she prayed for him and saw him come back to life before her own eyes. At that point, her Christian beliefs reached new heights. As for her associate, it was a life-changing experience for him as well.
That’s what sparked “A Beautiful Life” to become the inspirational song it was destined to be. This is also a great tune performed by a recording artist that also pointed out people have no right to judge each other based on appearances alone. When love is recognized and appreciated for what it really is, that’s what matters the most. That’s what makes life so beautiful. The combination of love and faith is what makes the impossible become possible, something Dorothy Martin realized by witnessing what was clearly a miracle.
Among the fan base who’ve listened to this enlightened side of Dorothy, “A Beautiful Life” branched the band, as well as Martin, into new territory as a musical talent.
#9 – Missile
Released in 2016, “Missile” was the second single from the album, Rockisdead. Literally behaving as a bullet fired from a rocker launcher, this powerful tune had Dorothy Martin put her love interest on notice that when a woman is scorned, they better watch out. What made this song a favorite was how well it shot the message home as a heavy hitter that would make the perfect theme song for sporting venues, as well as rallying cries for political and social movements.
#8 – No Church in the Wild
In 2014, Dorothy covered “No Church in the Wild,” a hip-hop fan favorite that was originally performed by the combo of Jay Z and Kanye West in 2011. What they had as an R&B classic became a hard-hitting rocker, thanks to Martin’s ability to take this song to a whole new level. Since adding it to their live performances, it has become a major fan favorite.
As a song, “No Church in the Wild” dealt with a variety of issues that focused on philosophy, religion, and stereotypes. It was one of many songs the hip-hop artists collaborated on as vocalists. Dorothy’s association with Jay Z through his Roc Nation label gave them the opportunity to perform this tune with a style of their own.
#7 – Get Up
2016’s non-album single, “Get Up” was a song fans of the Survivor reality TV series may recognize as it was used when the series promoted Survivor: Kaoh Rong as its new season at that time. The song was a perfect choice for the series as it served as a musical encouragement to make the most out of a journey that offers one opportunity after another. The vocal powerhouse known as Dorothy Martin was at her best as she fueled “Get Up” as a song where sitting out on life’s adventures simply isn’t an option.
#6 – Raise Hell
Released as a single in 2015, “Raise Hell” came from the debut album, Rockisdead. This would be the first song released by Dorothy that would make a mark on the US Billboard, namely the Mainstream Rock chart. It peaked as high as number thirty-one. Already by this time, Dorothy Martin and her bandmates were already certified rockstars among an audience who became fan favorites ever since first hearing “After Midnight” in 2014.
Where Trooper softly suggested “Raise a Little Hell” in 1978, Dorothy cranked it all up by at least a few notches with “Raise Hell.” Hard-hitting and loaded with sex appeal and smokin’ guitar, this was a song that was geared to crank up the heat as an easy fan favorite. Speaking from a fan’s point of view, when accompanying Dorothy’s “Raise Hell” with Ozzy Osbourne’s “Hellraiser,” it definitely packs a one-two punch that is sure to feel like a rush.
#5 – Down to the Bottom
“Down to the Bottom” became a number thirty-five hit on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart after it was released as a single in 2017. It was also one of the songs featured on Microsoft’s highly popular video game, Forza Horizon 4. This standalone single was yet another hard-hitting fan favorite that featured Dorothy Martin sharing a lyrical request to be taken to a realm where love is expected to fulfill her needs.
As a great tune for road travel, “Down to the Bottom’ is definitely one of those tracks that would do a highway-themed soundtrack justice. Should you feel fatigued in your travels and you don’t feel like pulling over, crank up the volume and let this song wake you up, at least for a few more minutes.
#4 – Flawless
“Flawless” became Dorothy’s biggest hit to date after it was released as a single in 2018. On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, it peaked as high as number eight. From the album, 28 Days in the Valley, the fans listened to a softer Dorothy Martin as she steered away from the metal-influenced material that was used at the start of her recording career.
As a song, “Flawless” was a reality check that nobody should diminish themselves simply to cater to other people’s expectations. As a recording artist, Dorothy has always chosen to beat to its own drummer and that is why they’re so well-favored by an audience who appreciates this. Why cater to something that doesn’t know how to cater back? That was the message Dorothy delivered and it was done so flawlessly.
#3 – Rest in Peace
After witnessing what Dorothy Martin believed was the death and resurrection of a guitar tech she worked with, it sparked her to produce a third studio album, Gifts from the Holy Ghost. From it, “Rest in Peace” became the highest charting single for the vocalist and her band so far. On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, it peaked as high as number two.
What Dorothy witnessed was a life-changing experience that only a few people can honestly relate to. Already softening her vocal performance from the intensity of heavy rock and metal since 29 Days in the Valley, Gifts from the Holy Ghost revealed a spiritual side to Martin that she hadn’t realized before.
What “Rest in Peace” did was push Dorothy to a new level of stardom that has seen over four million streams worldwide and is considered an essential song worth listening to by a collection of music critics who’ve raved non-stop about a song that genuinely felt like a spiritual experience.
As a song, “Rest in Peace” dealt with the elimination of an evil that Dorothy put an end to. Like many people who’ve experienced a life-changing experience, the old version of themselves is laid to rest while the new springs forward with a new sense of purpose. It also hammered home certain truths not every self-proclaimed Christian has come to terms with.
#2 – After Midnight
“After Midnight” was Dorothy’s debut single that quickly became a fan favorite in Los Angeles and overseas. Many critics commented on the raw power behind her sexy voice that oozed with a whiskey flavor. As far as they were concerned, this was the kick-up the rock and roll genre needed.
When Dorothy performed “After Midnight” at a local club in Los Angeles, she did so with a microphone in one hand and whiskey in the other. Oozing with personality, the songstress had the crowd under her spell as she blew them away with a show that had “destined for stardom” written all over it. Simple and straight to the point, “After Midnight” was an energized invite to take in an overnight splendor of partying up and simply having a good time.
#1 – Wicked Ones
According to fans and music critics, “Wicked Ones” would be Black Sabbath’s answer to their idea of a bluesy number if it was they who performed it. However, this became one of Dorothy’s signature hits after it was released in 2015. While the debut single “After Midnight” rightfully earned its place as a smokin’ favorite, “Wicked Ones” became the most successful single she and her bandmates released so far. On SoundCloud, it was the number one song trending in its indie category. This was the same song Skullcandy chose to lead a national ad campaign they had with James Harden.
When World Wrestling Entertainment held its TLC pay-per-view event in 2015, “Wicked Ones” was used as its theme song of choice. Fans of pro wrestling quickly found themselves drawn to Dorothy Martin’s sheer power as a vocalist. This song was also used for a series of ads by Gatorade and Levi’s.
Top 10 Dorothy Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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