Soldier-Turned-Soap Star Reveals Playlist

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

J.R. Martinez, a veteran of the Iraq war and now a soap star on ABC's All My Children, shares what's on his iPod.


On to a very different topic, our recurring segment called In Your Ear, where we ask our guests to tell us what music they're listening to. Recently, we interviewed Iraq War veteran JR Martinez about his new job, as an actor on the daytime soap opera "All My Children." And we asked him to tell us what's playing on his iPod.

Mr. JR MARTINEZ (Actor, "All My Children"): I'm JR Martinez, retired specialist in the United States Army and now starring on ABC's "All My Children" as Brot Monroe. These are the three songs that I am listening to at this moment.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man." "Simple Man," the song, is basically talking about how a mother tells her young son to never change, to be a simple man and to never try to do more but do less, and you will be able to do much more with the things that you have.

(Soundbite of song, "Simple Man")

LYNYRD SKYNYRD (Rock Band): (Singing) Mama told me when I was young, sit beside me, my only son, and listen closely to what I say. And if you do this, it'll help you some sunny day.

Mr. MARTINEZ: And it's a great song. It's things that my mother would tell me as a child. So it's a great reminder for me when I hear that song, whether I'm able to talk to my mother or I'm not, I feel like she's speaking to me through that song.

(Soundbite of song, "Forever Young")

Unidentified Man: (Singing) Forever young, I want to be forever young. Do you really want to live forever...

Mr. MARTINEZ: The second song, Jay-Z "Young Forever." I just think it's - the theme is talking about how we never grow old, and we're young forever. You know, if you live in the moment, and if you enjoy the moment, no matter how bad it is, you know, you can just stay energized and stay young and stay beautiful and just live that beautiful life that you're destined to live.

(Soundbite of song, "Forever Young")

Mr. JAY-Z: (Rapping) So we live a life like a video, where the sun is always out and you never get old and the champagne's always cold, and the music's always good, and the pretty girls just happen to stop by in the hood. And they...

Mr. MARTINEZ: My third song is "Hero" by Don Preach. The reason I like this song is, one, Don Preach is a very close friend of mine, and he said that this song "Hero" was inspired by me, based on what I had been through and what I am currently doing with my life.

(Soundbite of song, "Hero")

Mr. DON PREACH (Singer): (Singing) I'm just a hero. I'm just a hero. I'm just a hero.

Mr. MARTINEZ: And the song is very special to me because of everything that I'd been through after my injury in Iraq and my two-and-a-half years in recovery and now living my life the way I live it.

(Soundbite of song, "Hero")

Mr. PREACH: (Singing) I'm not the image you seen on the TV, and you don't know the price that I've paid to be me. Took a whole lot of courage just to look in the mirror, come out of a coma, and you call me a hero. I'm just a man with a (unintelligible) full of dream, and even though I smile, my life is so mean. And I'm gonna do what I gotta do to protect you. You don't gotta worry. I'm gonna come to your rescue.

Mr. MARTINEZ: But the song also, the reason I like it is because it's talking about, it's a universal meaning of the word hero. It's not just military, but it's the teachers. It's the doctors. It's the people that give time and energy and volunteer their time to help someone else. There's so many different ways of heroes, whether it's a police officer, a fireman. There's so many heroes out there in the world, and it's a great song that touches on all these different people that are very special.

(Soundbite of song, "Hero")

Mr. PREACH: (Singing) I'm just a hero.

MARTIN: That was JR Martinez, telling us what's playing in his ear. Now it's your turn. Don't keep all of your musical favorites to yourself. Become a part of the TELL ME MORE online community. Visit us at and blog it out.

(Soundbite of song, "Hero")

Mr. PREACH: (Singing) I think I hear somebody screaming for help. And if you don't believe me, you can listen for yourself. There's a whole generation...

MARTIN: Coming up, Disney's latest Princess Tiana has a great voice, she loves to cook, and she has unique drive. Oh, and she's also making history as Disney's first black princess. But does "The Princess and the Frog" rate a thumbs up with the moms?

Unidentified Woman: They've made a big deal about prominent wedding bands on her mom and dad. They made sure that you knew that this was an intact African-American family.

MARTIN: "The Princess and the Frog," our moms give their review. That's next on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from