Born in Hamburg, Billie Ray Martin moved to Berlin in the Eighties to join the city's infamous music scene, before deciding to move again, this time to London where she placed an ad in Melody Maker: "Soul rebel searching for a genius". Among those who replied were Joe Stevens, Les Fleming, Rob Cimarosti and Brian Nordhoff, four men who were searching for a singer to bring alive the music they'd been busy creating in their studio in Birmingham. Electribe 101 was formed. Under the guidance of the legendary manager Tom Watkins the group signed to Mercury Records and released their first single 'Talking With Myself' in 1988.
Expectations for the band were enormous. Watkins, who previously had guided Pet Shop Boys and Bros to fame, was going to make them stars. Journalist David Stubbs summed up their sound when he called it "lush and sobely entrancing, the very shadow of soul." - 'Tell Me When The Fever Ended' and a re-released 'Talking With Myself' went into the UK charts a few weeks either side of the start of the Nineties.
When Electribe 101 got to support Depeche Mode on their World Violation tour success was supposed to follow automatically. But everything went wrong. Watkins gave the band a hard time when they didn't follow his orders to the... Read More
... letter. On the tour they were occasionally booed off by Mode fans throwing bottles.
In 1992 Electribe 101 split, without releasing their finished second album. The boys formed Groove Corporation, Billie went solo.