Some of us are lured by a melody and catchy beat, but for others it goes deeper. James Mark has always been moved by the power of music to tell a story. He grew up listening to renowned communicators like Paul Kelly and Johnny cash – and listening to Mark’s own songs, modern day influences like Ed Sheeran, are also very apparent in his style.
“Yes, definitely the story telling!” Says Mark. “With Paul Kelly and Ed Sheeran it’s also the powerful emotions I feel in their vocals”.
You say you wrote your first song at 17 only a couple of weeks after teaching yourself guitar. Is music in your blood?
“I made a small mistake in that bio. I started when I had just turned 18 as I got a guitar for my birthday. My uncle and two cousins are good musicians. I got into music by learning drums at 13 to jam with my best mate.”
How did you feel, the first time you played your music live to an audience?
“I was pretty nervous, but I didn’t reveal at the time that they were my songs. I wanted to see peoples reactions to the songs themselves. I was also scared they’d judge me.”
When writing a song, do you like to start with the lyrics first, rather than music? Or doesn’t it matter?
“It doesn’t generally matter. If it works it works sort of thing; but most of my favourite originals have started with a melody. I would just start singing or humming without any solid lyrics. The lyrics and guitar will then just build around them as the song naturally progresses.”
Any amusing anecdotes of things that haven’t always gone to plan when performing?
“Nothing too major…
In my first year I played the first 45 minutes with the front of house speakers turned off and only the fold back speaker turned on. One of the patrons kept telling me to ‘TURN IT UP!’ – and I was like ‘I HAAAVE!’ After, I found out why, but made up some lame excuse.
The below track is from Mark’s current album, All About You.