Prince and Martika Keep the Faith Strong on ‘Love…Thy Will Be Done': 365 Prince Songs In a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
Due to the success of her debut, which featured the No. 1 smash, "Toy Soldiers," and two other Top 40 singles, Martika was in an enviable creative position for her second record. The former child actress, who first shot to fame as a member of the Kids Incorporated musical TV show cast, wound up collaborating with Prince, and they co-wrote "Love...Thy Will Be Done," which appeared on 1991's Martika's Kitchen.
Ironically, Prince's "Batdance" knocked "Toy Soldiers" from the top of the charts, but Martika didn't hold a grudge. “I wanted to work with him and had a message sent through to his camp," Martika told Noise11.com in 2012. "He responded favorably, so I flew to Paisley Park and we sat and talked. I had a notebook with a lot of lyrics. ‘Love…Thy Will Be Done’ was a prayer that I had written in my notebook."
Prince was intrigued, and asked to borrow Martika's lyrics book so he could make copies of things that caught his eye. "I had no idea what the process for collaborating on music with him would be, because it is always different with everybody," she says. "For him, he said, 'I have photocopied a few things. Why don’t you just let me live with this for a bit and we’ll go from there?' So I flew home to L.A."
True to his word, Prince got in touch a week later via fax "with a bunch of my lyrics with some of his lyrics," Martika recalls. "The next day I received a cassette. There were several songs, basic tracks with just drums, bass and some changes with background vocals. That’s how I first heard it. My prayer was turned into 'Love… Thy Will Be Done' and from there he sent me the master."
Martika took Prince's raw material and polished off the song in Los Angeles with some of her existing collaborators. Together, they fashioned "Love...Thy Will Be Done" into a moody, cotton candy-airy R&B ballad that's a sincere declaration of religious faith. Appropriately, the song builds slowly and accumulates layers and sounds as it progresses: stacked harmonic stabs on certain words and phrases; comet-like keyboard streaks; and a gospel-tinged vibe. A methodical, heartbeat-steady rhythmic underbelly provides stability. Throughout, Martika sings in a higher, sighing vocal register that bears the unmistakable imprimatur of Prince's falsetto.
"Love…Thy Will Be Done" wasn't the only Prince-Martika collaboration on Martika's Kitchen: He also wrote or co-wrote the title track, "Spirit" and "Don't Say U Love Me." However, "Love…Thy Will Be Done" was the biggest success: The song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a No. 1 hit in Australia.
(Of course, this wasn’t Martika’s first foray into Prince music: While on Kids Incorporated, she covered “Manic Monday,” the Bangles song he wrote.)
Prince especially liked how the song turned out, however. He sampled the song for his cover of Joan Osborne's "One Of Us," which appeared on 1996's Emancipation, and sporadically performed the song live in the late '90s and early '10s.
Notably, in February 2016, he performed the song during the Australia dates on his Piano & a Microphone tour dates. This was a typically canny move: In 2014, Delta Goodrem, a popular Australian musician, had taken her cover of "Love…Thy Will Be Done" up to No. 13 on the country's pop chart, which introduced the song to yet another generation of fans.
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