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“We all boogie TOY SOLDIERS!”


“We all boogie TOY SOLDIERS!”


Redtenbacher's Funkestra & I released our funkified-snazzy-soca version of Toy Soldiers on (would you believe?!) - Martika’s Birthday - 18.6.18! 🥂

Redtenbacher's Funkestra and Helena May putting their own funkified and most danceable stamp on this 1989 Martika pop classic and Eminem's 'Like Toy Soldiers'. ❤️ LISTEN ON YOUR FAVOURITE SERVICE:  👉🏻 👈🏻


“Fantastically planned”...

I hear you say. “What a brilliant plan of dates” - which was actually a total coincidence! They do say things are always meant to be... 😁 We love our brand new single and we hope you do too!

“So, how did this track come about? Why Martika, why ‘Toy Soldiers’?”

When looking for new song inspiration, I wanted to research into my birth year. I wanted to find out about iconic events and most importantly learn about the popular songs of the year. I’m not going to tell you just yet what year I’m talking about - I would LOVE you to guess...


1. The World Wide Web was invented!

2. The Berlin Wall came down.

3. The very first episode of The Simpsons aired.

Do you know what year yet...?

4. ‘The Living Years’ - Mike & The Mechanics was released.

5. ‘Especially For You’ - Kylie & Jason Donovan reached Number 1!

6. Michael Jackson was awarded Best Music Video for ‘Smooth Criminal’.

Please tell me you know what year now?! (Do comment below on this blog. 😉)


More research...

I’d heard of this track growing up and most memorably knew of Eminem’s version ‘Like Toy Soldiers’. I was wary of Eminem - ‘The man who swears’ - I used to think! 😆

But Martika's original has always had a lot of resonance to it. She wrote the song about a friend who was battling a cocaine addiction. Quoted from her Wiki page: "I was a little hesitant because I had only written two songs before and they were light songs. I came up to Michael and said I wanted to write about drugs. It was the first time I got the nerve to write about something that was scary for me to talk about, so I did." 

Martika's 'Toy Soldiers' is our **DRUM ROLL** - 1989 choice! Tah dah! Did you get the year?

The Creative Process!

I loved creating this new funkified baby with Funkateers: Stefan, Mike & Eran. If you don’t know already (?!) - I’m a huge fan of Jamiroquai. I love acid-jazz, funk, soul genre where a lot of the vocal follows a main line instrument. During one of our sessions at the ‘Funkshed’ we found ourselves creating a Stevie Wonder, Incognito inspired vocal lick alongside the guitar. This was a great personal challenge - working closely with a new melody line with Eran on guitar. 🎸 

Future Plans... 

This process ran so well I would love create a medley of the Funkateers birth years - 'The Birth Song'. A funkified track with Stefan, Mike, Eran, Simon, Sid, Karl, Taggy's personal years - what do you think? 😆


Great feedback! 

Back at the end of May (my Birthday week!) we played the wonderful Ziggy’s World Jazz Club - hosting an official Single Launch of our first funk baby:

Toxic - 

(If you haven’t heard it yet...) 


"Funkestra's brand of super sassy funk featuring soaring vocals from sparkling Helena May, led from the bass by supremo/leader/composer/arranger Stefan Redtenbacher featured the creme de la creme of Rhythm section & 'lickety-split' horns. Funkestra's tremendous musicianship & fiery soloists brought the Ziggy's crowd to their Feet. North London has never sounded so good... 2 sets of top class funk- fueled Joy".

- Steve Taylor, Ziggy's World Jazz Club (Jun 16, 2018)

Thank you so much Steve! 💛 We always have such a warm welcome when we visit. 


Gigging Live...

When we gig live, we like to see if an audience can guess our funkified tracks within four or so bars. During one gig, I remember a lady singing the lyrics confidently to me but couldn't grasp what the track name was! Her desperation to know was fascinating - especially because there was a free cd prize at stake! 🤪 We always love to have a blast - play great music, party and boogie with our audiences.


So, who’s on the track...?

The incredible funkateers:

Stefan Redtenbacher: Bas 

Eran Kendler:   Guitar 

Mike Sturgis: Drums

Ross Stanley: Keys

Simon Allen: Saxophone (Tenor, Baritone)

Sid Gauld: Trumpet

Nichol Thomson: Trombone

Karl Vanden Bossche: Percussion

Andy Little: Additional guitar


If it wasn’t for you...

Thank you!

Recording Engineer: James Welch

Producer: Stefan Redtenbacher

Mix & Mastering: Rupert Christie

Cover Artwork: The Red Count

Cover Photography: Rob Blackham 

Hair & Make Up: Emelia Corfe


I hope you enjoy the new single as much as we loved creating it. ❤️

What’s happening next...? 

We’re off to Austria this week! I'm so excited to be performing the tracks live with bassist Stefan Redtenbacher + Backwood Five.


We’re also back performing live at the 606 Club, Lots Road, Chelsea - ** 3rd August ** - don’t miss it:



** BIG NEWS **

My Page reached 2000 likes?!?!? 

I’m so very happy! 😁 It may not be “that much” but as an indie-artist it really does mean a big deal - thank you! 😘

Last but not least - thank you to those who have streamed, downloaded and shared the love of the singles and our collaboration so far. It means a huge deal. Watch this space. There’s more to come...

Keep in touch by clicking on our links:

Redtenbacher’s Funkestra FACEBOOK

Helena May’s FACEBOOK 

Big hugs and ❤️💜💛🧡💚💙 always,

Helena May xx