Interview with Mark Maze

MarkMaze2

Hi Mark!  It’s such a joy to touch base with you about your recent album Uncomfortable Truths, which you released this past January, and to find out more about you and your music.  What are the vibes like for you at the moment?

It’s all happening and I am genuinely really happy with how the EP has been received. When you are creating, you are so in the moment that you really don’t think this far ahead, so it’s humbling to know that others can relate to your music and “get it”.

You describe your music as being ‘urban electric pop’ and your songs do cross your soulful, emotive vocals with a gritty sonic quality that verges on rock sometimes and into dance club territory on others.  What artists have influenced your sound and vision?

Artists in the current pop arena that inspire me are artists like Tove Love, Bruno Mars, Jhene Aiko, and P!nk, as I admire the way they write and their overall vocal performance. I believe them, which is always something I have at the back of my mind when performing in general because if your audience doesn’t believe the words you are singing then the message is diluted.

You grew up in a rough neighborhood in Leicester, England.  How did you get away from that area?  Was it through school, or a job, or just moving away and striking out on your own?

I have always known what I wanted to do, so I always had a clear vision that I would get an education; not as a plan B but just because knowledge is power, then I would get out, which is exactly what I did.  I worked initially in a clothes store on Oxford Street and could barely meet the rent to the point I can actually remember not having £1 to top up my electric metre, but I wouldn’t change a thing as it’s all part of the story.

At some point you joined a 6-member R’n’B group, but were stymied by the restrictions of the management.  Was the management dictating the style, lyrics, and/or compositions of the band?

The band in my opinion had too many egos for it to ever succeed.  Everyone wanted the bigger vocal parts or the overall validation of being top dog to the manager; I actually wanted neither, just a platform to eventually move on to something bigger. For this reason I wouldn’t kiss ass and that caused friction as I wouldn’t allow them to bulldoze me with decisions I didn’t think were relevant to the overall artistic direction of the band; so I left and then about 4 months later they disbanded.

How did you end up creating your debut album?  Who did you connect with and end up collaborating with to get Uncomfortable Truths made?

I was introduced to Stevie “Tomboy” Watson through a mutual friend and we just creatively got each other off the bat and we wrote most of the EP together apart from 3 tracks which I wrote with Danish producer Carsten Kroeyer and his song-writing partner Seyi Shay who is a successful artist in her own right.  Stevie and I then recorded the demo together; then I was later introduced to production team Laconic who produced the entire project.


You’ve released a new storytelling video for the scintillating single “The Devil May Cry” and you’re one of the main characters in it!  Was the concept your idea?  Did you know the other performer before the video was shot?

The concept for “The Devil May Cry” was my vision, yes, as I wanted it to depict exactly how I had written it, so it was imperative to me that the story translated into moving images. I am more than happy with the way it came out and the overall feel it generates. The DOP I used for the project was great at interpreting my idea onto the screen and shooting it went really smoothly, bearing in mind that so many things could of gone wrong as we shot in 3 different locations over 3 days… We were in that diving pool all day long for about 6 seconds of footage!

The girl in the video is Xarah Xavier, an amazing performance artist who I have been friends with for many years and she was the obvious choice to be my leading lady as she matched the mood and feel of the treatment.

I noticed you’re inked up in “The Devil May Cry” video.  Was that for the character or do sport you own tattoos?  If so, which one has the most significance to you?

They are all mine! The largest one and the one that holds most significance is the dragon across my torso which, through Japanese interpretation, means “The keeper of your internal organs” which, most Saturday mornings after a good night out, I hope is not just an urban myth!

Your lyrics are about being true to yourself and about rocky relationships and break-ups – with some groovin’ jams thrown in. I know it’s hard to pick favorites, but which track on your album speaks to you the most lyrics-wise?  I’m partial to “Get Gone” with your astute lyrics about being better off alone than in a relationship with a toxic person.

My favourite changes daily depending on what mood I’m in, but today I would say “Crying Game” as I am writing a treatment for the video for it because it will be my 2nd release and I just think the lyrics are really powerful and relevant to what is going on in the world today.

MarkMaze1 “Get Ya Back Up” is such an amazing song for two reasons; your striking, quicksilver vocals and the fact that you sound exactly like Michael Jackson!  I’m assuming you’re paying homage to him on this track.  How much of an inspiration is he to your music?

As a male pop artist, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is still that benchmark of performance and songwriting ability which I aspire to be half as good as. It is simply a masterpiece and demonstrated the power of a good music video too.  It changed pop music forever and continues to inspire, so I think to be the best you have to learn from the best and he was just that.

I’ve read that your music was featured on BBC’s Re:Introducing.  Is that a radio or TV show?  I can’t seem to find info about it online…

BBC Introducing is a great platform for up and coming artists to get radio play and to raise profile, so was honoured to be selected to have my track “Crazy” premiered through this platform as great artists from the UK such as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith had also broken out into the mainstream through this medium.

Just for fun, and since you have a deep pop sensibility that encompasses not only music, but fashion and performance as well, who are your most fave 80s icons?  My faves for sound and style are Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Morten Harket of A-Ha, and Prince.

Prince is just bad-ass and rocks anything that on a hanger would look, well, shocking, but that is just another example of confidence as in you own it, you will wear it well, like all of the above. Fashion for me is all part of the theatre of music and is an essential component in reaching icon status.

Lastly, can you please list your official site(s) where we can find out more about you and your music?

My official website is www.markmazeofficial.com which has links to all my social media on it.