Interview: Mark Maze

Mark Maze

Pop music is in such a sad state of affairs. Long gone are the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s when artists had a way of mastering their iconic images and expressing themselves in an authentic, unforgettable way. Now, the global, corporate search for fame is riddled with shock tactics and explicit sexuality. That’s why I was intrigued by Mark Maze, an electronic pop artist from London, who just released his first EP “Uncomfortable Truths.” Maze got his start at a talent agency, working behind-the-scenes and learning the power of egoless hard work. He was then discovered by a producer at an open mic night, which led him to recording with Narada Michael Walden, who collaborated with early Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey tracks. Now that Maze has stepped into the spotlight as a full-time musician, he took the time to chat about the critical state of pop music and heartbreak.
Local Suicide: Pop music is increasingly difficult to break into. What’s your motivation?

Mark Maze: The music industry is a notoriously difficult industry to get into, but when you have an unshakable belief in yourself with an almost tunnel vision approach to getting there, then stopping wasn’t ever and still isn’t an option even though the “no’s” are at times more forthcoming than a “yeses” but this only makes me more determined. I have never been motivated purely by fame or by the acceptance of others but by a burning desire to inspire by speaking my truths as I see them through the universal language of music which, to me, is the most effective mode of communication. I was always told growing up to not bother shouting your opinion as no one will listen so I thought I’d try singing them instead and on this occasion I will say that mum’s maybe right – although I never listened, so I did both!

Who are your biggest pop idols and why?

My biggest inspirations apart from the obvious ones such as Prince and MJ are the the artists that convey through their music honesty and passion to the point where you hang on and believe their every word as it speaks such truth. In the current arena today P!nk to me is a true artist as she literally brings her inner thoughts and feelings to life through her art and performance. I feel that who she is on and off the stage are very similar which is a trait I like to pride myself on, so she resonates massively with me. I think so many artists today don’t truly believe in what they are singing about and focus too much on being a persona on stage that they aren’t really anything like so therefore hide behind. I think this underestimate their audience because people can see through it, hence longevity for most is hard to sustain.

What do you think of mainstream music and how it is perceived?

Mainstream music for me now is starting to make that shift thanks to the likes of Adele/Sam Smith/Ed Sheeran and alike in the sense that people want more than a fall to floor beat teamed with disposable lyrics which has dominated the charts for so long. Pop artists for me such as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga are great examples of how you can write a great pop song, still duelling a heavy pop production, but maintaining weight through your lyrics. All great tracks are as good if not better when stripped back acoustically, Swedish songstress Robyn is also a master of this in my eyes.

What are the common themes of your songs?

The common theme of my songs I guess is predominately heartbreak, a subject which everyone can relate to and why it’s a topic that the majority of artists write about…we have all been there so therefore connect to it the most naturally I guess but at the same time I like to consider myself perceptive to my surroundings so I tend to also write about things I witness in my everyday life, whether its something autobiographical or not, if it strikes a cord with me then I will write about it.

What was your first big break?

My first big break was when I was spotted by a record producer on an open mike night called “The Spot” in central London. From this I was put into a band which taught me the most valuable lesson as an artist, which is to be true to yourself and don’t be scared to ask questions even if it pisses people off!  I soon learned that I was more effective as a solo artist as you only have one person to hold responsible for not taking charge of your career and that’s yourself. From this my producer introduced me to American producer, Narada Michael Walden would had cuts with early Whitney/Mariah and Aretha tracks, who I ended up recording my first demo with. This was a huge training ground for me regarding my voice and stage presence, things I still and will always apply when in the studio or on stage which is to always give your all and to leave your ego at the door.

Check out Mark Maze on Facebook.