Hearing Angie Martinez's voice pour from anything other than a car radio can leave one slightly flummoxed. After all, this is the same voice that has long been a staple of hip-hop radio, delivering news, hits, and exclusive interviews to rap aficionados the country over for roughly two decades. Aided by her confident yet comforting tones, Martinez has reached an iconic status shared by few radio personalities in modern media.
"I definitely still have a hideous tattoo on my shoulder blade from getting tattooed on South Beach... "
The last few weeks have seen fans connecting with Martinez more intimately than ever before. Stepping out of the radio booth and into the bookstore, Martinez has made several meet-and-greet appearances in support of her new memoir released this month, My Voice. Speaking to New Times in advance of her June 2 book signing at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Martinez says that directly interacting with her audience has been her favorite part of assembling and releasing the new book.
"That's been the best part of it, is meeting people that seem to be touched by different parts of my life or career," Martinez says. "That's the best you can hope for when telling your story."
As a public figure, Martinez has generated more than her fair share of stories herself. This proved particularly true in June 2014 when she left Hot 97 (WQHT-FM 97.1), the New York-based radio station where she developed her reputation as the "Voice of New York," for its chief rival, Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM 105.1). Martinez's change in employment prompted a sizable number of outlets to publish think pieces lamenting the fall of Hot 97. In a culture that has been traditionally defined by masculinity and continually finds itself on the defensive from blanket charges of misogyny, for a female DJ to rock the boat that significantly, well, that's power.
Since the eventful switch, Martinez has set her sights on Miami's radio frequencies. Her program, "The Angie Martinez Show," can be caught on Miami's the Beat (WMIB-FM 103.5) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Although Martinez's relationship with Miami is not as well known as her celebrated career in her birthplace of New York City, the 305 remains a critical part of her narrative, both
"Miami is my second home and was my first home for a little while," Martinez says. Having been sent down south at the age of 16 to live with her aunt, Martinez spent much of her adolescence as a student at Coconut Creek High School. Like most longtime Miami residents, Martinez has a regrettable South Beach story or two.
"I definitely still have a hideous tattoo on my shoulder blade from getting tattooed on South Beach at 18," Martinez discloses. "I'm still trying to laser it off!"
Bad ink aside, though, Martinez has nothing but love for Miami. And according to her, it has been a reciprocal affair, dating back to her short-lived days as an MC.
"Miami has always been super supportive of me, even before I was on the air there," Martinez recalls. "When I had my music career, Miami was one of the most supportive markets besides New York."
As for what has kept bringing Martinez back to Miami, it helps that she loves the city's musical offerings.
"There's definitely a Miami sound," Martinez observes. "People who have migrated to Miami spend a significant amount of time there, and when you look at people like Jennifer [Lopez's] music, you can definitely tell that she's spent time in Miami... Even if you're not from Miami, if you spend time there, you wind up falling in love with the city. And I think that translates in music."
Angie Martinez book signing. 6:45 p.m. Thursday, June 2, at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305-442-4408; booksandbooks.com. Admission is free.