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Mark Kelly Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Mark Kelly Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout
Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe
yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer:  I would say it’s music that comes straight from the
heart and a mix of styles.

Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were
your highlights?

Answer:
There
have been many great moments this year so far but the highlight was opening for
the great australian group lime cordial in Vienna, Munich and Luzern. Their
live is amazing and they’re good people. We spent very good times. Their fans
are fun, loving, up for a laugh crowd so it made it good to play before them.

Putting
out the last album as well after it being sat on the shelf for 7 years. It was
a huge weight off the shoulders, oh yeah moving forward.

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how’s it
doing?

Answer:  “Swimming with Sharks” is the latest album. It’s going
well, we’re getting good feedback off the fans and it’s opening doors to other
countries slowly but surely :).

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the
CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Answer:
Yes there
is for sure a story but maybe not enough space to write the full story that
could easily be a short novel. As musicians you are always warned about the business,
well I got bit quite good with this album (but made me stronger and a little
wiser). It’s an album I left on the shelf for 7 years, preferring not to
release it and give the sharks there cut, but I understood it was only hurting
myself, so that’s why the front cover shows the feeding of the sharks,
accepting and moving forward.

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not,
how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Answer:  Yeah I write them mostly on my own but do cowrite
quiet a lot which is good fun and pushes songs further than waiting on my on
sometimes.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your
album (influences, etc).

Answer:  Well this album was mainly written after the biggest
heartache I’ve felt until now, so there is sadness, bitterness, anger but also
hope. There are a few different styles on this album, cause the songs just
arrive and I just received and let them live. I must admit I wouldn’t know
where to start as far as influences, all great music there you go, we hear a
song once and it’s in us processing somehow and comes out here and there.

Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last
CD and your current one?

Answer:  The quality of the recording firstly. Also, this one
is co-produced which takes a bit more time to agree on stuff (control freak
activated) but we got there.

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by
radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to
hear it?

Answer:
You never
really know what people are getting but I guess it’s the groove and maybe the
vocal hook

Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?

Answer:  hmmmmm well let’s see what the german public think. Please
post answers on Mark Kelly official on facebook 😉

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record
the most?

Answer:
You can never
tell how a studio session will go. Songs that you were convinced were going to
be great sometimes do not translate in the studio, but to answer your question:
songs you can really get your teeth into and be able to dress it up well with
interesting layers.

Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the
songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?

Answer: My baby found someone else, because I took the backing
track home from the session and let go in a way I had never before. If it had
been filmed I think I might have been locked away. I really discovered how to
let go totally, but enjoyed the laying down of every instrument and most of all
the brass section that was a lucky yet the obvious thing to put on the track.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have
over your music?

Answer:
A lot. As
an independent artist out of 3 albums only one co-produced and even there I
managed to keep the control of where it was going. But I feel the next album
might need some outside help. I’m hoping to meet someone where it really clicks.

Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories
about how fans have been affected by your music?

Answer:
Quiet a few, from being their wake up song, which is a really
nice thing, to people admitting making love to some songs, which I never
thought would be the case with the music that gets made I’m not sure what’s
turning them on. People are also affected by the words and that’s important. Someone
once told me sharing the words is helping other people not feel either alone or
a bit of a weirdo and that’s a reason to keep on going!

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep
do your musical roots run?

Answer:
A lot of
the oldies : ella fitzgerald, the beatles, the stranglers, led zeppelin, stevie
wonder, felt kuti, but also artists like paolo nutini, the mean, tom misch ,
basically anything that hits my ears and you go “eh up what’s that?”. Sometimes
you only need to hear a song once and it’s going to affect you.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music
scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer:
I think the
music at the moment is blooming, amazing mixes of styles happening but it’s tough
for musicians to make a living off it due to the platforms like spotify that
devalues the work of musicians. However, it’s making us work harder to get the
live performance to be outstanding. Musicians always struggle isn’t that what
makes us sing our hearts out? Future, well let’s say it’s going to be bright,
positive thinking.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music
industry?

Answer:
Being
independent I don’t really have that much to say. Booking agents are the most
important thing for any artist today I feel and building a team of believers of
the vision. I just got my firts manager after being in the biz for the last 15
years. Listening to your gut feelings and trusting the people you work with,
but the internet has really turned the biz on its head so still think it’s not
totally settled (looks like I had quite a bit to say after all).

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something
about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer:  cheaper studio time 🙂

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as
recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite
activity?

Answer:
Writing
songs is my favourite part, at home with my amp turned on getting lost in the
sound you never know what you’re going to find. Also stage is where the song
has a chance to reach the same state as when you first write it. If the
connection with the crowds is right yum yum it’s heaven to the ears and soul.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music
beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Answer:  Well I come from the street music culture and still
get back in the streets now and then to test out new songs, great places, to
see if people are connecting with a song, and the street is a place where you
can really make someone’s bad day into a good one cause if people stop there it
means they feel something.

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you
into the music business?

Answer:  I was 17 in a performing arts school when a older
student passed me a telephone number on a warn out piece of paper that was
looking for a bass player, called it got the job then was off on tour for 3
years on and off.

Lamitschka:  Before you became a star, were your
friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Answer:
I’m not
sure I’m a star but very kind of you to say so. Family and friends yes they are
very supportive. I think when you become a star that’s when you really need
that to keep you grounded.

I’ve
lived away from home pretty much since i was 17, but have a lucky star and fell
on my feet quite well good friends. I slept a few weeks on the streets but had
a job so wasn’t as bad as it sounds

but being
a musician makes you work hard and value every penny. Also the fans help. I did
my first crowdfunding 3 years ago and that made me want to give them an amazing
album cause they gave so much.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer:
I guess
it was my dad. He was a poet, a musician and an amazing story teller. Most
nights we would be blessed with either or if lucky all 3. He painted such vivid
images in our minds (I’m 1 of 4 kids, 2nd in line) I guess the seed was planted
then.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a
songwriter?

Answer:
When I
was a kid, 7ish, my dad wanted me to play piano (cause his mum was a piano
teacher). He regretted not to have learned so it fell to me but I just
memorised the tunes and preferred to just play things that I had found on my
own but the adding of words came much later. It was just an urge to start
singing and the words just came. It felt good to express and filled the empty
place.

Inspiring
conversations with friends and strangers. Life for me is one big lesson since I’ve
started working on myself to clear the dirt from inside to be better in my skin
and it’s getting easier this thing called life. The big question why are we
here, well one answer I’ve found for myself is to share the little things I’ve
learned with other people. We’re all here helping each other, well it’s what I believe!

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in
music business?

Answer: Not to
compare myself to other artists and let self doubt come in drives me nuts. And
trusting people and listening to people’s advise without shutting down.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in
your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Answer:
For the
album “I am who I am” I got a swiss music award and it meant a lot for a few
reasons and to have the love and support was amazing and I really started to
believe that I have a life in music and to see the joy on the fan’s faces was
really touching. Opening up and meeting one of my musical hero’s Kiesah jones, what
a monster guitar player and a good guy. Every time I’ve finished an album is
also so satisfying !!

Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or
others?

Answer:
My dad
was. But I’m pretty tough on myself. In the past I would refuse to be paid for
a concert cause I thought what I had given wasn’t good.

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like
to relax?

Answer:  Ilove playing
games, chess, cards and eating good food and hanging out with good friends. And
silence or a good forest trek.

Lamitschka:  Is there anything in your life that you
would change if you could?

Answer:just open my heart a bit more and enjoy life more (I
can be to serious sometimes)

Lamitschka:  What hopes and desires do you have?

Answer:
I want to
tour the world. Virgin ears are the best kinda crowds to have. Record sometimes
less songs and to keep working with great musicians and producers. I have so
many album ideas. Also to help more people where I can (long story).

Lamitschka:  What has been the biggest disappointment
in your life?

Answer:
Not
listening to my gut feeling before I got ripped off by someone in the biz or
not believing in the love I once had and letting the doubt destroy it.

Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven’t played
that you would like to?

Answer:
jules
holland show !!!!!

Lamitschka:  What can your fans expect to see when
they see you in concert?

Answer:
It’s never the same show twice and I’m someone who loves to communicate and have
a laugh  and play with passion and all
his heart.

Lamitschka:  When you’re on tour, do you have time to
play tourist?

Answer:
I try my
best.

 

Lamitschka:  What’s the best compliment a fan has
ever given you?

Answer:
That some
of my songs have helped them through hard times.

Lamitschka:  What’s your favorite song that you wish
you could have recorded?

Answer:
ooohhh so
many choices but “cross town traffic” by Hendrix.

Lamitschka:  What message would you like to send your
European fans?

Answer:  Thank you so much and live life to the fullest.

Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road
stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?

Answer:  haha that’s for my biography 😛

Lamitschka:  Describe what a perfect day is like for
you.

Answer:
Pancakes
for breakfast with my best mate Julie, then playing guitar and singing could be
practicing or writing or both. Falafel sandwich at the Syrian restaurant and go
round to my mate Richard’s house to talk crazy stuff. Then some more music and
then game time, cards.

Lamitschka:  Most careers don’t last as long as
yours.  What’s given your career the staying power?

Answer:  Beening lucky enough that people want to listen to
what I do and staying true to myself and never giving up but mostly I’ve been
blessed to have this life. I’m working hard practicing playing as much as
possible.

Photo (c) Sarah Vez

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