Recently, I had the pleasure with interviewing a soulful-talented young guy from Brooklyn name Mark U. He’s got this off the beaten path sound that creates a tapestry of sonic elements into hiphop and soul. You’ll find his roots in consciousness as well as diverse musical experiences, and how they relate to his unique sound is sincerely expressed in this interview. Lastly, Mark U has a show coming up at Williamsburg Music center on the 27th of April, so onwards upwards please check out this talented artist hailing from East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
photo by: http://alexvegaphotography.com
Describe your approach to writing music:
My approach to writing music is based mostly off feel and purpose. I usually write to the beginning of an instrumental whether it be a bass line or drum pattern, and then I let the emotion I get from that dictate what direction I take the song lyrically.
Describe your roots in NY and how that has shaped your music:
Well I was born and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It’s a predominantly Caribbean populated neighborhood; and I grew up in a Jamaican household so the first genres of music that I heard were Reggae, Ska, and rockers. Those genres played a major part in not only the sound, but in the subject matter of my songs. They all originated from pain, suffering, the enjoyment of life and having a proud Identity in life, all emotions that resonate with my everyday living. As I got older I started to appreciate the lyricism and technical approach to hip hop, mixed with my exploration of the city and its wide variety of cultures, all those things led to the fusion and eclectic sound of my music.
What is the project you most recently released, why is it awesome?
The project I most recently released is called Soul Odyssey: The Raw Demo Sessions. Its also my first project that I released a few weeks ago. I’d say its awesome because it narrates the personal challenge of a young man who strives to improve on his integrity, morality ,spirituality, and overall happiness. I feel that those are things that the majority of human beings can relate to and strive for on a daily basis.
What does it mean to be a young male today?
For me, being a young male today means being appreciative and being an example. I try my best to saver these moments and really do things that are lasting. Growing up in America as a young black male has caused me to truly search the depth of self. Race plays such a major part in our society and it made me want to understand who I am as a black man, but to take it a step further and understand myself as a human being. Taking that step has allowed me to be a better communicator with my music, because I’m not speaking from how I’m perceived or how I perceive, but from who I truly am and what I truly see. I’m 24 years old and I realize that we’re in such a unique time throughout the world with the constant revolution of technology and also the development of new social and progressive ideals. Theirs so many opportunities and platforms for young people to express their individuality and perspective, but to also share it and build camaraderie.
Name three artists, painters, musicians, philosophers, or films, ect that have influenced you and how:
- Malcolm X- He went through a series of transformations that made him better. He allowed himself to be open, which led to the possibility of obtaining more truthful information. From hating white people to drinking with them and Muslims of other ethnicities in Mecca.
- Lauryn Hill – A woman who defied the status quo and dared to be herself in a genre and time that didn’t allow a woman to affirm to that. As a man I acknowledge that I came out of a womb, and that I naturally carry the duality of femininity and masculinity. She played a major part In accepting myself as an individual and holding firm to that stance.
- Bob Marley – For me, him as an individual represents the ideal that many have been crying for and dying for. One in love, One in spirit, acknowledging color difference, but not allowing it to be the weight of your judgement. Those messages weren’t just in his music, but in his everyday living.
What’s your top 3 on repeat right now?
My top 3 on repeat right now are Kendrick Lamar’s last two albums, James Blake’s recent release, and a Reggae band named Midnite.
Any upcoming shows we should come to?
I have show coming up on at the Williamsburg Music center on the 27th of April. We got some really good vibes the last show a few weeks ago so we’re looking forward tot he same response.
Where can we find your music?
You can find my music at my bandcamp. http://markumusic.bandcamp.com/