Interview with Mark Lean
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My grandfather is a jazz musician and he put a guitar in my lap when I was about two months old. I have been in love with music ever since, and grew up watching how my grandparents built their lives around music, and how it affected us as a family. There is nothing like music that connects people, and I have since early childhood dreamt of being able to create music that is of great value to those who understand my take on it. I would probably be working with ﬁlm if I was not making music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that inﬂuence your creativity?
Traveling is very important to me. I love to learn about and understand different cultures and people. To me traveling is the most essential tool to growth and the best way to get inspired. Doing stuff that makes you present is extremely important as well. Trying to make music with a mind that's constantly spinning is the fastest way to get writer's block and therefore physical exercise, meditation and to me playing football is extremely important.
How long have you been making music?
I´ve been making my own music since the age of 14. I Started off by playing lots of old soul and jazz songs with my grandfather to learn how to maneuver instruments and use my voice properly. Creating my own songs was always the goal and by the time I was 14 I had the courage to try.
Where are you based out of and how did that inﬂuence your music?
I just moved to Liverpool and I have not been able to see much of the city yet. Been working on my second album and most of my time goes into the studio or creative process.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I played at a bar in brooklyn when I lived in New york, and I speciﬁcally remember it because it was in the beginning of my career. Feeling like it was the beginning of something that really meant the world to me for the ﬁrst time was indescribable, and something i always keep with me on my journey
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I would love to play at the Royal Albert Hall. But I love to play small venues as well, I love to connect with people in smaller rooms.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I would love to play a show with D´angelo, Anderson. Paak, H.E.R, Mick Jenkins. That would be amazing.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Do what makes you enjoy music. Create anything that you feel like making, and don't be too judgemental about what you´re making. Understand that the process of becoming good at anything takes a serious amount of time and you will probably make 300 terrible songs until you start creating something that you can be truly proud of. Enjoy every part of your development and be curious. There are inﬁnite possibilities with music so make sure you ﬁnd ways to enjoy the process. The last advice I will give is to make music for yourself, and don't focus on what people like at the moment. Unique music will always be interesting.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Every song I've created has its own story and meaning, which makes it hard to choose, but a song on my upcoming album is probably the one that means the most to me because it tells a very important story. I´ve written a song from the perspective of a person I met in India who lost his girlfriend to an arranged marriage, and I spent years trying to ﬁgure out how I wanted to tell the story.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love to play the songs that make the crowd dance. The songs that give a lot of energy from the band and are challenging to my voice.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
Usually I produce the track before I record the vocals. I like to precisely get the feeling of the instruments before the voice ampliﬁes the experience. Being able to create every part of the song is important to me because I can quicker create something that accurately gets the emotions to the sound. Everything inspires me to be honest. People in my life, events, emotions.. Everything.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Be honest and humble and understand that life is fucking crazy and even though you think you have everything ﬁgured out, you never really have. Look at life as a journey and live in every part of it and you will ﬁnd happiness. I hope my fans ﬁnd joy and comfort in my music and that it can be a tool for them to get through life in every phase.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My album is coming out soon and I'm excited to get it out. Other than that I´m just excited to play gigs with the band.
How can your fans best keep up-to-date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Instagram page and my website Marklean.com