Teen national anthem singer loses father days after performance

A 14-year-old singer from Oakland performed on the biggest stage yet and then, just days later, she suffered a huge loss, the death of her father.

Ysenia Martinez sang the national anthem at the inaugural home opener for professional women's soccer team Bay FC on March 30. Four days later, her father died from a heart attack. 

She and her family said they're taking comfort in the outpouring of support from the Bay Area community.

Ysenia said it was exciting to sing before an audience of 18,000 at the Bay FC match and it was a special moment she shared with her father, Sanson Martinez.

"He really told me, over and over again, 'I'm just so proud. I can't express to you that I'm just so proud,'" said Ysenia.  

A cherished memory captured in a photo of the teenager cuddled up with her father, 

"He was telling me you're going to go so far," said Ysenia.  


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Her mother, Rebecca Martinez, said a GoFundMe she started has helped pay for expenses including flying family from out of state and Mexico to the Bay Area for the memorial service.

"You feel like you're one of many. But all of a sudden, you feel like you really do have a village," said Rebecca.  

Support and donations came from many, including Bay FC and former 49ers star Ronnie Lott whom Ysenia and her father met at the match.

Rebecca said in her family's time of need when they're heart-broken, community members have made it easier to cope with the loss.

The Martinez family moved to Oakland four years ago from Groveland, a town near Yosemite.  Mother and daughter said they've been embraced by the Bay Area from the start.

Ysenia's first major public performance was at Oakland's First Friday in 2022. 

She said she would be guided by her father's advice to be herself.

Ysenia said if her father could hear her, she would tell him she loves him "a lot."  

She proudly showed off the dress her father bought for her quinceañera to be held in June. It's a celebration of a girl's 15th birthday in Mexican culture. 

The family will be holding a memorial service for Sanson Martinez this weekend.

Ysenia's will be singing again at Oakland's first Friday in May.

This GoFundMe has been set up to help the Martinez family.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.