Hi Mark! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 23 years old, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I grew up with an international airline pilot as a father and traveled a lot growing up. I look back all the time and think about how all that traveling really gave me my appreciation for the Pacific Northwest and the place I was born. Seattle is beautiful and has definitely been one of the biggest influences in my music.
We absolutely adore your recent covers of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and James Bay’s “Let It Go.” Who are some of your top influences when developing your sound?
The majority of my influences are outside of the music world, actually. I can have a conversation with someone, anyone, and be inspired to write a song because of something that was said. When making music, I don’t ever think of what other artists would do. Or what my favorite artists would do. I try and make music only around what I want to do. With that being said, there’s obviously artists that fuel my fire. Chris Martin from Coldplay has an amazing and unique songwriting style. I have learned so much from listening to his words and melody structures. When I started singing back in middle school, I listened to a lot of Coldplay and Snow Patrol and all those kinds of jams. I think in a lot of ways that stuck with me, at least in the back of my head. Mikky Ekko would probably be the only other current artist I would say who has really made a significant impact on my writing currently.
Walk us through your upcoming ‘Cosma’ EP. Is there a recurring theme?
I think more often than not, the theme of Cosma is the battle between brightness and darkness. Really focusing in on the contrast between being really sad about something but essentially trying to walk it off at the end of the day. “Dark Matter” is the slowest track on Cosma; however, it was the one I felt was most honest so I had to lead with that. This body of music took me to a place artistically that I’ve never been to before and I’m really proud of it.
What’s your songwriting process like?
My songwriting process is constantly changing. Location is huge for me. If I’m writing in a cabin up in the woods somewhere, you’ll hear it through the music for sure. If I’m writing in LA you’ll be able to tell I’m someplace else. I can’t force writing to happen, I think people can tell when it’s not genuine.
We read that your tattoo on your left forearm that reads “XVII-II-MMVI” is the date you first performed an original song in front of a large audience. What was that first performance like?
Yes! That was the day of my first performance. February 17th, 2006 I went on stage and played one of my own songs for the first time. At 12 years old, I realized that by doing something that I felt was natural, people would actually clap and enjoy it. That, without a doubt forever changed the direction of my life. I have that moment to blame for all of this.
We recently discovered rapper Shelton Harris through a song you were featured in and now have him on repeat. What’s the current music scene like in Seattle?
Shelton Harris is a close friend of mine and has been for a few years now. We linked up and always knew we’d create something together but it would just have to wait for the right moment. I’m glad that we waited, him and I are both so pumped on what we created with that. The Seattle music scene is so on and off. There will be years and years of absolutely nothing and then out of nowhere you get the mix of a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. There are many others but for the most part it’s pretty silent.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Without creating too many expectations, I definitely have a lot of goals for myself. At this time in my life, Seattle is perfect for me, but this isn’t a forever spot. I plan on being someplace new and hopefully 5 years from now I have a couple a full length records under my belt and will be in the process of making the next one. I’ll be doing this until I die, for sure.
Tell us something random about yourself.
I’m a terrible swimmer. I don’t know why. I can’t even float on my back. I am just really pathetic at it.
Thank you ReverbNation and CONNECT for inviting me to do this interview with you, I really enjoyed the opportunity!
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