After taking time to re-evaluate his life, he realised that music was still very much a part of it. He decided that to have a successful solo career with new material, he needed a lyricist and teamed up with Chris Difford, who had written some lyrics for the Wets’ Picture This album. Marti and Chris found they had a chemistry for song writing together, and travelled to Memphis to work on the songs with Willie Mitchell. In early 2000, Marti performed on Lesley Garrett’s TV show, showing his versatility as a singer by performing songs from musicals: ‘Luck be A Lady’ and the duet ‘I Have Dreamed’, with Lesley. That year, he appeared on the Elizabeth Taylor Tribute show, singing ‘Luck Be A Lady’ and ‘Love Is All Around’. He also sang at Party In the Park and the Jill Dando tribute. He sang at Feel The Noise in Manchester and performed an intimate gig at the Half Moon in Putney, previewing some of the songs written with Chris and later that year, a live performance from Chris Difford’s Heliocentric Studios was broadcast on the internet. At the end of 2000, Marti embarked on a UK tour, uncertain of the response he would get, but the tour was a big success. His fans were thrilled to see him back on stage.
His first solo single ‘Close To You’ charted at No9 in the UK followed by the release of Marti’s first solo album ‘Smile’ in 2001 which became a platinum seller. In 2001, Marti was also given the honour of a proclamation from The White House, declaring May 9th as Marti Pellow Day in Memphis and Marti performed a live set at BB King’s Blues Club on Beale St! Marti’s Smile tour of the UK, in the autumn of 2001 was another success and he finished the year with a cameo appearance on the TV soap ‘Emmerdale’, singing ‘Close To You’. In the Spring of 2002, Marti took part in Pete Townsend’s series of shows at the Royal Albert Hall, in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust. Entitled ‘Girls' Night Out’, Marti duetted with numerous female singers as well as performing his own songs and a number of Wet Wet Wet hits.
Marti with Lesley Garrett, Ruthie Henshall and Emma Bunton
This was to mark the start of a new venture for Marti as two American producers of the hit musical ‘Chicago’ were in the audience. They asked Marti how he felt about taking on the role of Billy Flynn in London’s West End. Marti went along to see the show & keenly accepted the challenge. In June 2002, he made his debut, receiving excellent reviews. His initial run of 15 weeks was extended to 5 months and the following year he joined the touring cast, performing throughout the UK and in Tokyo. This continued with more UK touring performances in 2004, when Marti was asked to return to the West End, followed by a month’s run on Broadway, New York. On his return to the UK, Marti again joined the touring cast, making what he thought was his last appearance as Billy Flynn in Edinburgh in March 2005. Marti had acted and sung alongside numerous seasoned theatre performers, grateful for their guidance in this arena and many of them have given him their words of praise, both personally and as a performer.
During his time in Chicago The Musical, Marti had also managed to find the time to re-record some of his favourite Wet Wet Wet songs and release an album entitled ‘Marti Sings the Hits of Wet Wet Wet and Smile’ which became another platinum seller.
In November 2003, he released an album of covers entitled ‘Between the Covers’ and the single ‘A Lot of Love’. Sadly, at that time, Marti’s mother passed away. Marti’s band mates from Wet Wet Wet attended the funeral, as a mark of respect and realising that there was still a strong bond between them, they got together in talks to re-unite - Graeme Duffin included. They wrote 5 new songs together.
In early 2004, Marti’s Between The Covers Tour of the UK took place which was again well received. In July of that year, Wet Wet Wet was officially relaunched, marked by a private performance for the press, in London. In the autumn of 2004, the band released the single ‘All I Want’, which charted at no 14 and a Greatest Hits album and DVD which included 3 of the new songs. The guys were happy to return to performing on Top of The Pops, shortly before embarking on a 15 date arena tour of the UK, ending just before Christmas. In 2005, the film ‘American Daylight’ and an album of the same name, included the song ‘Finishing Line’ co-written by Marti and Graeme Clark and sung by Marti.Back To Home