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Relive Melanie Martinez's Incredible Career from The Voice to PORTALS

The electropop singer has come a long way since her Blind Audition in Season 3 wowed Coach Adam Levine.

By Jessica White

Melanie Martinez has earned mythic status as a powerhouse visual performer, but it all began with her Blind Audition for The Voice in 2012. 

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If it wasn't clear from her frontrunner status in Season 3 of The Voice, Martinez is an artist to her core. Throughout her decade-long career, Martinez has created a unique electropop sound that resonates with audiences far and wide. Martinez flirts with creepy alternative riffs while unabashedly dancing with bubblegum pop influences, leading her to boast magnetic stage energy and a spellbinding discography. 

Now a director, producer, actress, as well as a chart-topping singer and songwriter, Martinez has come a long way since her time on The Voice. Dive into Martinez's whimsical journey from The Voice Season 3 to her smash release PORTALS, below.

Melanie Martinez on The Voice

Melanie Martinez wearing a tan bow and blowing a kiss to the camera.

Martinez was one of the many talented Artists to take the stage in Season 3 of The Voice in 2012, bringing her unique and eclectic style to a nationwide audience. Martinez's ethereal cover of Britney Spears's "Toxic" was mesmerizing, earning her a Three-Chair Turn from Season 3 Coaches Adam LevineBlake Shelton, and CeeLo Green.

RELATED: Who Is Adam Levine From The Voice? A Career Recap

Martinez hopped on Team Adam and soared all the way to the Live Shows, performing smash covers of Ellie Goulding's "Lights," "Bulletproof" by La Roux, and most notably, "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. Martinez's cover of the White Stripes classic reached the top ten on iTunes, as did her rendition of Alex Clare's "Too Close." 

Did Melanie Martinez win The Voice?

Martinez's incredible performances resulted in her becoming one of the Top 6 Artists of Season 3 and one of the most memorable acts of the season. Martinez was eliminated after delivering haunting covers of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and "The Show" by Lenka. Martinez didn't win The Voice, but she cemented a star power that catapulted her career into superstardom. 

RELATED: Every Winner of The Voice Through the Years

"My parents were very encouraging from the start," Martinez told Billboard while exploring her artistic roots. "My dad always wanted to learn how to play guitar and never got around to it, so when I showed interest in music he got me a guitar and I taught myself by looking up chord diagrams online & through YouTube tutorials. My mother always encouraged me to write poetry, paint, or take photographs. I think that’s why I became so obsessed with art and music because it was all I did. I was able to play electric guitar all night till 6 in the morning if I wanted to because my parents understood inspiration strikes at different times for different people."

Melanie Martinez smiling and posing for the camera.

Melanie Martinez Releases the Dollhouse EP

Martinez hit the ground running following her elimination from The Voice by working on original music. The first song Martinez released was the 2014 debut EP Dollhouse, including bewitching tracks "Dollhouse" and "Carousel." Martinez's creepy track "Carousel" was featured in the trailer for the 2014 anthology series American Horror Story: Freak Show. 

With Dollhouse, Martinez further leaned into her alternative pop influences while adding whimsical piano and dread-ridden bass lines to create an ethereally hynoptizing sonic effect. Martinez had developed her unique sound, but more was to come. 

Melanie Martinez's Debut Album Cry Baby

Melanie Martinez smiling and posing for the camera backstage at an event.

In August 2015, Martinez released her first studio album, Cry Baby, with the lead single "Pity Party." Martinez set her sights on creating music videos for each of the standard album's singles, resulting in hypnotizing music videos of her beloved singles "Soap," "Sippy Cup," and the widely hailed titular single "Cry Baby." The album also showcased the alter-ego character Cry Baby, played by Martinez herself. Cry Baby debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 200.

The album resulted in several cosmetic partnerships, including a Cry Baby perfume milk fragrance and two Cry Baby-themed lipsticks through Lime Crime. Martinez had already made waves with her unique sound and brand, and Cry Baby only further elevated that success and positioning as a concept artist. 

Melanie Martinez's K-12 Album and Concept Film

Melanie Martinez posing on the carpet wearing a green and pink dress at the Melanie Martinez K-12 film premiere.

Martinez followed up her Cry Baby acclaim with the sophomore album, K-12, released in September 2019 alongside a full-length film of the same name. The album plays on several elements of schoolyard shenanigans from childhood to young adulthood, with must-hear singles like "High School Sweethearts," "Wheels on the Bus," and "Lunchbox Friends." With her second release, Martinez cemented herself as a conceptual visual artist and earned her another chart-topping record with the album peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200.

In 2017, Martinez chatted with People about writing and directing a musical fantasy horror film based on K-12, which features several anti-bullying themes. "My biggest intention in creating the film was to display school as a condensed version of life..." Martinez revealed. "They're very parallel."

The K-12 album and film were ultimately nominated for Top Soundtrack at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.

Melanie Martinez's After School EP

Melanie Martinez holding the microphone out at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.

Following Martinez's K-12 tour being halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martinez began working on music that aligned with the themes of K-12 but allowed herself to be more vulnerable. In 2020, Martinez officially released her EP titled After School, which featured singles "Field Trip," "The Bakery," and "Notebook." 

In an interview with V Magazine, Martinez revealed the process of writing After School "was really cathartic for me to be able to just express myself freely and not have the limitations of a storyline or a character that I have to play. You know, it’s nice to be able to also have music that I can write for myself. I think any album I put out in the future will have a film and an overarching storyline. But if I put out an EP, it’ll be more personal."

Melanie Martinez's 2023 Album PORTALS

Melanie Martinez wearing a mask with multiple eyes and pink hair while performing.

One of Martinez's most chart-topping creations yet came with the 2023 release of her third studio album, PORTALS. Like her albums and music videos before, Martinez leaned into the album's psychedelic imagery within the promotion for the release, dropping the lead singles "DEATH" and "VOID" in March 2023. PORTALS instantly made waves for its whimsically creepy verve and captivating visuals as one of Martinez's most spooktacular passion projects yet.

RELATED: Melanie Martinez Achieved a Massive Milestone With Her New Album, PORTALS

Martinez marketed the third album as the final installation of the Cry Baby trilogy, with Martinez even donning a pink alien transformation of her Cry Baby character for performances and promotions of the PORTALS album. In April 2023, Martinez released the deluxe edition of PORTALS, featuring the beloved single "Milk of the Siren." PORTALS debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 and the music video for "VOID" earned Martinez an award nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.

"I think that with Cry Baby and K-12 because they were very focused with childhood themes, I quickly obviously outgrew that resonance to that because I'm an adult," Martinez told Audacy in June 2023. "A lot of it I was just growing out of really fast. With this album, it's the most connected I've ever felt to my music and I think I'm going to always feel connected to it because as a human I can relate to it just as someone who is immortal and just learning and growing through life."

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