ATWT’s Martha Byrne’s The Other Side

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Taking Her Work to Heart

 hspace=10 xsrc=As The World Turns’ Martha Byrne possesses amazing graze and an amazing voice on her latest musical effort:  The Other Side.  Soapdom readers, listen up!  Take a chance and win an autographed copy of the CD!


Nearly all daytime performers have tried it – Roark Critchlow (ex-Mike, Days of our Lives); Kassie DePaiva (Blair, One Life To Live); Joshua Morrow (The Young and the Restless)  - but few have done it at well as Martha Byrne (Lily, As The World Turns).  On this, her third musical compilation, “The Other Side,” Byrne draws from her most personal experiences yet to create a record that is as melodic as The Carpenters and as beautifully truthful as the poetry of Sarah McLachlan.  The always gracious Emmy-winning actress spoke with Soapdom the day before the Thanksgiving holiday despite the fact that this also happened to be her week off from taping at As the World Turns’ Brooklyn studio.   So while Byrne rested on her couch, we chatted about her latest foray into the world of music.

Many followers of As the World Turns already know the words to “Find My Way Back” since the tune has been played for its super couple, Holden and Lily, several times over the past few months.  It is a creation, according to Byrne, specifically written for the Snyders in addition to being a tribute to her dear friend Jon Hensley (Holden), but its message is one that reaches many.

“About a year ago, I decided that I really wanted to write something for Holden and Lily since the couple has been together for so long – 20 years.  Plus, having come this far and still being with Jon (Hensley, Holden), both as an actor and a friend, I thought now would be the perfect time,” explains Byrne of the song’s evolution.  “As I was going through it with my writing partner, Jennifer Marks, I was reminded of all those stories about people who are meant to be together regardless of who they marry.  It’s one of those soul mate songs.  You know it’s for all those people who marry only to later on find and be with their high school sweethearts.  It’s only then that the two finally feel complete.”

“We went through a couple of incarnations of ‘Find My Way Back,’” details Byrne, who reminds Soapdom and its readers to tune in to the soap on December 5th to catch a very special montage of Lily and Holden from their early years.  “It started out with a Coldplay sort of sound which didn’t feel right to me.  I thought that it should be simpler.  So what we did was we sat down with our producer (Peter Bliss) and he played the piano while I sang the song and we recorded it.  You couldn’t hear me sing.  The notes (from the piano) went right into the computer.  So he played it off of my singing (the song) which enabled him to get the emotion just right.”

With the single in the can, Byrne then played it for a very special audience:  Jon and Kelley Hensley.   “He loved it and was really touched by it,” Byrne reveals happily.  “Jon’s a man of few words, you know?  He’s not a guy that sugar coats anything; he’s private and quiet without any pretenses.  And Kelley (Emily, ATWT) actually cried when she heard it.”

Another track creating some buzz off of “The Other Side” is the single of the same name; it is an edgier piece where Byrne is able to rock out some, which, surprisingly, she does rather well.  It is also an expression of the actress’ strong belief in risk-taking, a trait she had lost only to quickly regain with the completion of this album.

“I was at that point in my life where I really had to do something else creatively that I had been ignoring for a long time, which was singing and writing.  It’s like with anything else when you’re not inspired, you can’t force it.  But when my character on ATWT started singing again, Jennifer (Marks) began to push for me to write again.  It helped to get me back in that groove,” says Byrne, who, admits that up until this album she had not truly captured her emotions on a record.

“These are my words,” she continues.  “I’ve been doing this for 25 years of my life and this is the first time that I am truly exposing myself. ‘The Other Side’ is an expression of where I am in my life (right now) and I’m sharing that with people in an intimate way.  It’s amazing.”

When asked to pick a favorite song off the album, Byrne can’t hide the obvious joy that surrounds “Baby Blue,” a melody devoted to her two sons, Michael (age 7) and Maxwell (age 3), a ballad wonderfully reminiscent of James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James.”

“Michael knows all the words,” she tells Soapdom proudly, minus any airs.  “Yesterday, he said, ‘Do you know what the most popular song in the world is?”  ‘What?’ I answered.  ‘The National Anthem?’  ‘No,’ he said.  ‘It’s Baby Blue.’  It was so cute.  And Max knows it’s about him, too.”

Byrne, who is expecting her third child in June with hubby Michael McMahon, shrugs off the voices of potential critics despite the closeness of the song to her heart.

“It’s kind of like a painting.  You do something and if people get it, that’s great.  If not, that’s okay, too.  It’s an expression of emotion and feeling.  You can let it go afterward because there’s really no judgment,” she says simply.  “You hope people like it, obviously, but it really is what you’re going through at that time in your life.”

Byrne, for those who are wondering, is handling this latest pregnancy just fine; it is not without its bumps, but the veteran performer can’t complain. 

“I’m just tired.  I definitely feel different than I did with the first two so maybe it’s a girl.  I don’t know; I just don’t have much energy,” she describes mid-yawn.  “With the last two, I never got sick and was full of energy.”

Up next for Byrne? 

A featured spot in the 2006 documentary “Life After Tomorrow” which chronicles the current lives of those actresses who’ve donned the curly red-haired wig of the famous orphan Annie during its original Broadway run.

“Allison Smith (“Kate and Allie”), who’s still a dear friend of mine and actually wrote with me on ‘The Other Side’ saw it and said it’s really interesting.  Her husband saw it, too, and thought it was wonderful and he has no connection at all to ‘Annie,’” tells Byrne.

“I had a great experience doing the show so I cried at some point (during my interview), which made the film, apparently — of course!” she laughs.

Byrne has high hopes for the work which is being produced and directed by “Annie” alum:  Julie Stevens.

“Every girl has a story about it, whether they were in the play, wore out the record, wanted to be Annie, saw the show 25 times,” notes the star.

Byrne’s own “Annie” journey is quite amazing.

“I begged my parents to go to the open audition when I was little.  And they were like ‘No, no… this is silly! We’re not doing this!’” remembers Byrne. “But I harassed them until I was able to convince them to take me to it.  I went to an open audition with 800 other girls and Allison Smith and I got into the show.  So it was meant to be.”

The self-admitted “’70s and ‘80s freak” (“I enjoy Tori Amos and Sara McLachlan.  Gosh, I love Kenny Loggins! Honestly, I listen to everything from Mariah Carey to jazz.”)  also plans on making more music, especially since this last experience was such a wonderful one. 

“There’s no comparison to where I was before and to where I am now,” says Byrne at the close of the interview with regard to her musical progression.  “I’ve learned not to be a ‘Yes’ man in my life and learned to be a little bit more responsible for myself in the sense that I speak up for myself more.  I verbalize what I want on the record better.  I’m more specific about how I want it to sound musically.”

“I really heard something very specific about all these songs in my head this time around and I’d never had that before,” she adds.  “I’m very happy with how it all turned out.”

If you’d like to purchase “The Other Side” head to or call 1-800-MM-Byrne.  You can also try the CBS store at  Plus, all members who upgrade or new members who subscribe to all access Soapdom for one year during the month of December, will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of the CD. Click here for more info. (CONTEST CLOSED).