Vicci Martinez has had quite the run since she became a fan favorite on NBC-TV's “The Voice” last year. In 2012, Universal Records issued her major label debut, “Vicci,” which reached No. 10 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. And “Come Along,” her single with pop mentor Cee Lo Green, is steadily gaining traction in radio markets across the country. She’s been living in Los Angeles, but Martinez is back in her hometown where she’ll cap off a prosperous year with a big New Year’s Eve celebration at Jazzbones, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, followed by a pair of appearances at Seattle’s Jazz Alley a few days later, on Jan. 8 and 9. In anticipation, we caught up to discuss Cee Lo, touring and the shocking truth about Miss Piggy.
TW: What stands out most about this year?
Martinez: That my single is charting; and not just because I was on the TV show. ... It’s actually because it’s a good song. Going on a show like “The Voice,” you use that as a platform to get to this spot, and that’s what’s really cool to me going into this new year.
TW: When did you first realize you charted, and what was that moment like for you?
Martinez: It was charting in May right after it released. People played it because, “Oh, cool, it’s new. She was just on the show.” And then that stopped. At the end of August, a station in Minneapolis started playing it a lot, and then it was a domino effect. Every week I’m getting all these updates of new stations adding it. And it just feels good because ... there were so many other people that wanted different songs to be the single.
TW: I’ve kind of followed your adventures on Facebook. I see the photos you post when you’re in different cities. What’s it been like doing your first full national tour?
Martinez: Well, it’s kind of different because it’s been more radio promo. You’re visiting the stations and then going back and actually doing a show for them. People that didn’t even know I was on “The Voice” are coming out, and the crowds have gotten bigger. it’s like, “Ooh, wow. It’s working.”
TW: One of many signs that you’re big time now is you got to kick it with the Muppets (on the “Cee Lo & Friends” Christmas special, taped in Las Vegas in October.)
Martinez: (Laughs.) Yeah ... it just feels weird meeting the Muppets. And everybody that I was with felt the same way.
TW: I’ve seen behind the scenes footage of people walking around with the Muppets on their arms. What is that like?
Martinez: It was weird to see Miss Piggy, and see an old dude with his hand up her butt. ... I don’t think kids should know that.
TW: Well, we’ll keep that a secret. Of course, Cee Lo is your mentor from the show. Do you have a relationship outside where you just call him up and say, “Hey, Cee Lo. I need advice”?
Martinez: I can. You know, there’s some people that would, actually, really take advantage of that. It’s nice to keep it professional with him. ... We have a bond, and when we see each other it’s great. And I want to keep it that way.
TW: So what’s next for you this year?
Martinez: I obviously want to continue to keep climbing, and then get on a good tour, you know. I’ve opened up for Ed Sheeran a couple of times, and I’m hoping that that manifests into something bigger, and that I can get on a tour like that (where) the audiences are bigger.
TW: You’re coming back home and it’s New Year’s Eve. Do you have anything special planned for this set? Maybe some old-school cuts that you’re gonna dust off?
Martinez: I’m gonna kind of leave that for Jazz Alley, and I was gonna let people kind of request songs that they haven’t heard in a long time and kind of do the set list that way. At Jazzbones, I kind of want to make it my own party. I want to, basically, just play some cover songs and stuff that I never play. I have a few different ideas. Hopefully, we’ll have enough rehearsal time to make it happen.
TW: I know from the last time I saw you that you do a mean Michael Jackson. What songs are you toying with?
Martinez: Yeah, it’s definitely going to be in that flavor - like a song that you’re gonna know. And because it’s a party, I want people to just have fun and sing along. You know, do it the way we do it.
New Year’s Eve concert
Doors open at 7 p.m., Dec. 31
2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
(253) 396-9169 or http://www.Jazzbones.com