Thank you for this interview opportunity, please share with us how Mark And The Tiger developed this unique sound and when did you become an artist?
I’ve been singing my entire life. It was always just something I did. My mom used to sing with me when I was really young and it become part who I was. It never actually occurred to me that I could make a career out of it until 2012 or so. I had moved to LA to be an actor because I’m really original and unique. But I quickly became disheartened with the whole industry. Plus at that time of my life I had absolutely zero self confidence so I was too scared to really go out on auditions. Florence and the Machine was playing at the Hollywood Bowl around the same time I was beginning to wonder what the fuck I was doing with my life. She’s one of my all time greatest inspirations and I had never seen her live before, so I treated myself to a ticket in the fancy section that has directors chairs. I vividly remember her running barefoot around the stage singing “Shake it Out” and it was like lightning struck me. And I just thought to myself, “This is what you’re supposed to be doing, Idiot! You’re supposed to be up there, barefoot, singing your music.” And I’ve been striving to do that ever since.
As far as my sound goes… Man, it’s been a long road and I still feel like it’s a work in progress. I grew up listening to almost %100 folk music and 90’s pop/rock. Dar Williams, Patty Griffin, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, and No Doubt are who immediately come to mind. And I think the way I go about writing music has a lot to do with that. Those artists, and the others that I loved the most always had a very distinct story to each of their songs, and I try to as well. I actually feel like the music I’m writing now is more representative of who I am as an artist than even the songs I’m about to release. Maybe that’s how it always goes.
I think I struggled for a long time to find what my sound was because until recently I was still trying to figure out who the hell I was as a person. I wanted to be the male Florence (still do honestly), I wanted to be emotionally raw and vulnerable, and inspire people the way I was inspired that night at the Hollywood Bowl. But for a long time I was trying to write songs that I thought would sell. Things that were purposely catchy and what I thought the masses would eat up the most. But it’s impossible to be authentic and raw when you’re writing for someone else. My favorite songs, and I think my best songs, are the ones that just fell out of me. And the longer I’ve been at it, the more songs seem to come out like that.
How do you balance the musician lifestyle with a regular life as an emerging artist?
Thankfully, I have the blessing of working in fields that allow me to have a crazy flexible schedule. I’m a yoga instructor and a massage therapist for humans and horses so I can mostly make my own hours. It comes in really handy. My biggest issue has been trying to build up those careers enough to sustain me while also making enough time for music. For a long time I had my priorities mixed up. I was a bit too concerned about making fast cash and wasn’t putting in the hustle musically that I needed to. But I’m extremely happy to say I’ve gotten my shit together!
If you had to describe your sound with only one song of yours, which one would you choose?
oooooooo. Honestly, I don’t know if I can. I’ve sort of been writing all over the place. Maybe “My Magic” because it’s the one that feels the most authentic to what I was feeling when I wrote it. it’s a little folky, a little rocky, a little poppy, a little its own thing.
Favorites from your upcoming releases?
Probably “Hand to Hold”. It’s a lot of fun to sing and I think the world needs it right now. Or at least I need it right now!
If you had the opportunity to meet one band or artist who would you choose and why?
I mean it’s got to be Florence! She’s literally the reason I’m doing this! Plus, her voice is ridiculous, her music is out of control beautiful, and her hair is amazing! I’ve already started writing a duet for the two of us so I actually HAVE to meet her.
How do you feel the independent music scene is evolving and do you like where it’s headed?
It’s hard for me to say because I feel so new to the scene myself that I don’t know if I can really judge. If I think about the music industry in general I’m not sure I LOVE where it’s going. I grew up going to Strawberries and HMV, spending all of my money to buy a single CD, and listening to the whole CD over and over until I had money to buy another one. Nowadays it’s all about the singles. what’s going to sell the most the fasted. I honestly can’t remember the last time I listened to a full album from a new artist who didn’t have at least three singles out. It’s actually really sad when I think about it. So often nowadays I’ll hear a song on the radio, get obsessed with it, listen to it non stop, and then completely forget about it all in the span of a month. It’s sad! That’s my biggest problem with music today. But what the hell do I know?!
We all have “aha” moments that help us continue on our journey. What have been your “aha” moments in the music industry?
I had this awful belief that I either had to make it to Taylor Swift level fame or else find a different career. It was actually only a few months ago that I finally realized that I could make music my career no matter what. It’s so silly to think about as I write it out now.
What does 2020 have in store for you?
2020 is going to be all about playing as many shows as I possibly can! I’ve spent pretty much all of this past year writing song upon song upon song and I just want to get them out there. Hopefully, I can get on the festival circuit because who the hell doesn’t love a music festival? I don’t want to meet them!
End of Interview