By: Kat Harlton
Image Copyright: Mark Kingswood
“British singer, Mark Kingswood brings original songs to the jazz and big band rhythms that have marked several eras. His music, which consciously reflects the musical infuences of the great ones like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and more recently, Michael Bublé, distinguishes itself by its modern twist and the richness of the orchestral ensemble that elevates each song. Mark strives to pay homage to the pioneers and influencers of the genre, and honor their art, bringing it to a whole other generation”
Mark recently released his new album Strong, and we had the opportunity to catch up and discuss songwriting, role models and what’s next.
Kat: Could you talk about the inspiration behind your latest album “Strong”?
Mark: Sure! The inspiration behind the album was really the people I was creating it for. People of all ages and different backgrounds. I also always try to keep in mind who might be discovering me tomorrow, so I try to keep a lot of variation on the album so there’s a little something for everyone to relate to. I would say the album has quite a positive overall feel about it. I was at a wonderful and happy place in my life when we were coming up with the ideas, that naturally it spilled into the songwriting process which meant I wanted to deliver encouraging, positive messages. It’s not often you get the chance to make an album with over 50 musicians playing, so it really gave me the opportunity to try and be creative by not only reaching people who already love that traditional big band sound, but also some of those who are yet to discover it in 2018.
Kat: What is your songwriting process like?
Mark: I’m quite methodical when I write. Once I know the feel, groove and have some idea lyrically where i might go, I’ll sit down on the piano and work out some chords and then i’ll start crafting a very basic arrangement to get a clearer picture in my mind of where i’m heading. Getting just the drum groove, a few chords and some bass can work wonders when trying to inspire a melody. I also try to write as much as I can later at night. I find it can help the creative process because there’s not a ton of other tasks and things you’re thinking about for that day. Once I’ve put down a rough melody idea, I then purposely come away for the night and sleep on it. When I listen the next day with fresh ears, I try not to think too much. I just listen and note down the things that I like and then I’ll work on the other parts that don’t jump out at me. I usually finish the lyrics last when writing.
Kat: Could you speak a little on your musical idols or role models?
Mark: There are just so many. I do tend to gravitate towards anyone that records with live musicians (and lots of them). So naturally, I adore those household names like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Rat Pack, right the way through to Modern day crossover artists like Michael Buble, Josh Groban and the late George Michael. I find that these guys really create timeless records. They also contributed to some great life long memories for me with their music – memories I wouldn’t have now, if I hadn’t associated their music with those moments. For example, whenever I hear “Moon River” played, I instantly think of my grandad taking my cousins and I fishing on Dungeoness beach as kids. Most importantly, these type of artists remind me just how important it is to keep this genre alive for future generations – a goal I’m also trying to play a part in.
Kat: Have you ever been given any advice in regard to your music career that you felt you really connected with or made an impact? Or do you have any advice that you think would be useful to new artists?
Mark: I’ve been given so much great advice over the years. I’ve been in the music business a long time and I’ve known or worked with many great artists that have had either huge successes or things have crumbled. But there is one thing I have learned from working with different people over the years. The most successful artists that have real long-term careers have something in common – they are doing what they love. There’s nothing more infectious about seeing an artist record or perform something that their whole heart is truly believing in. We’re in a industry where there are many different opinions coming from all angles, at all levels and it’s hard sometimes to know what the next best step is. I always try and ask myself two questions if I’m contemplating something. Does it really resonate with who I am? Does it make my true fans happy? If the answer is yes, I’ll take the advice I’ve been given and run with it.
Kat: What can your fans expect from you next?
Mark: I have some more tour dates coming up throughout the year in Canada and the rest of North America. This will include some dates in the US and also the UK. I’m also looking forward to getting out on the road with my wonderful band performing and also doing some more radio and TV appearances, which are always really fun to do! Even if they are live at 7am! Most importantly though, I am just going to work hard over the next year and get to know my fans a little better, making the show the best it can be and enjoy performing in all these amazing places. I am also just starting work on a second album, which I really hope to be available sometime next year.
Kat: What’s on your playlist?
Mark: At the moment, I’ve got a bit of a mixture going on! One moment I am listening to swing music i.e the Rat Pack, Michael Buble and Harry Connick, then the next minute I’ll be listening to Chris Stapleton, Tori Kelly, Rascal Flatts or REM. So it is a little diverse quite honestly. But they all tell a great story.
For more on Mark Kingswood visit: http://markkingswood.com