Touted as Britain’s Michael Bublé singer Mark Kingswood chats to VIVA about his album ‘Strong’
| 29th October 2019
English singer-songwriter Mark Kingswood has been compared to Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé, but he’s making jazz music all his own. Due to perform in Manchester on 27th February next year, VIVA interviews Mark about his passion for music and the making of his album Strong.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a singer and what sparked your lifelong passion for music?
“I’ve been around the music industry all of my life. I was pushed on stage as a kid on a talent show, which I went on to win. And I think seeing how proud my parents were really sparked my passion for music and performing. From then on I started doing more and more on stage and that’s where it all began.”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“I’d be lying if I said I only got my inspiration from the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra. Obviously I’ve got a lot of love for that type of music and my grandparents introduced me to some of the British crooners like Matt Monro. However, growing up I was kind of in between two worlds. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and they would immerse me in 50s and 60s music. Whereas my parents brought me up in the 90s. They were listening to George Michael, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion – it was a time of big divas with big voices.”
Although inspired by the American Songbook and the soft tones of the crooners, Mark decided to reinvent this genre by fusing his love of 60s and 90s music.
“As an artist I try not to borrow too much from the American Songbook because there are already a lot of crooners out there that do that very well. So for me it was really about choosing songs from the era that I grew up in.”
Your album features a beautiful cover of Losing my Religion by R.E.M. – why did you choose that particular song?
“When I choose a song to cover I try to choose something that either tells a story, has a strong message, or features live musicians in the background.”
“The original R.E.M. song was more of a rhythm track, it doesn’t have any brass or strings or anything like that so I wanted to take it somewhere completely different while keeping the meaning of the song.”
The music video for Mark’s cover of Losing My Religion was filmed at The Asylum in London, a chapel that was bombed in WWII. Despite being almost completely gutted by the attack, the beautiful stained-glass windows and carved stone funerary monuments remained intact.
“It’s a unique venue and you wouldn’t think it’s derelict looking from the outside.”
What’s been the most rewarding part of your musical journey so far?
“As a songwriter you get to create something new that doesn’t already exist. A lot of the songs from my first album contain a message that many people can relate to.”
Mark revealed the titular song Strong has received an overwhelming response to its uplifting message after getting airplay on BBC Radio 2.
“Strong is about fighting your demons and staying strong. It’s been amazing the amount of people that have contacted me and said they’ve been going through a tough time and this song has really helped them. To get that feedback – that something you’ve written has helped someone – there’s nothing more rewarding than that.”
As well as a singer-songwriter Mark has also worked on music production.
“The production side of things is more of a hobby. I am absolutely fascinated with how records are made. It’s great to have that empty canvas.”
When did your professional music career really take off?
“Since signing with my record label in 2016! It took a year to make the album and really changed the journey. I suddenly had the budget to work with live orchestras and make the album of my dreams.”
Mark revealed that he felt lucky to have been signed to a record label that valued his niche musical interests.
‘I’ve been signed a few times. But the problem is trying to find a record label that suits you. Obviously the type of music that I do doesn’t come without its hurdles because it’s not mainstream music and it’s a bit of a niche lane. It takes a lot of people to put a lot of trust behind what you do.”
Can fans expect any new material in the not too distant future?
“Actually I just finished working on material for my second album just last week.”
“There are a couple of different elements on the production that I didn’t have on the first album. I was inspired by singers such as Amy Winehouse and George Michael. The new album will also nod to the resurgence of swing in the 90s and the Frank Sinatra classics. I think the new album is a little bit more daring!”
Though a release date has not yet been confirmed, we’re keeping our eyes out for when it drops!
If you would like to see Mark Kingswood perform live he will be performing in Manchester at the Stoller Hall on February 27th 2020.