LoveEast catches up with singer-songwriter Mark Anthony
Originally from Finsbury Park, Mark Anthony grew up on the border of Stoke Newington and fell in love with music from an early age. With a passion for Hip Hop and Rap, he and his mates could often be found hanging out and writing raps, eventually forming The Meds Collective. We find out what it’s like to live the dream.
You began your music career with rapper Hi Breed and singer Paul Lee, and eventually formed The Meds Collective, and released two albums and, from what I understand, enjoyed a spell of relentless touring; all in quite a short span of time. Tell us a bit about that experience.
It was a great experience and a really great learning curve. For about five years, all we did was write, record, rehearse and perform music. The creative process of being in The Meds Collective was fun, inspiring, unpredictable and, on the whole, really good fun. But we also worked very hard too, often with very little sleep, but all in all, the good times outweighed any of the times when we felt either tired or run down. At the time, I just considered myself very lucky to be doing what I loved best, with my closest friends.
Best bit about gigging and touring?
The gigging and touring was always our favourite part of being in The Meds Collective, as we got to constantly visit new places and meet new people. It was just like being on a boys holiday a lot of the time.
And the worst?
The lack of sleep and hangovers.
Your album Reckless Caution was released a couple of years after the The Meds Collective called it a day; what was it like to become a solo artist rather than a member of a band?
It was definitely odd at first, because whilst I was in the group, I was able to blend into the background quite a bit, which I was more comfortable with; as I never considered myself to be a lead singer or a frontman.
So, after my solo album was released, doing all of the promotion for it as a solo artist, as opposed to being in a music group, was extremely nerve wracking for me, to the point of uncomfortable at first.
Even though your music is firmly rooted in Rap and Hip Hop, a lot of the songs on Reckless Caution – the song, Thank You in particular – bring to mind 70’s soul music; bands like The Temptations, The Spinners, The O’Jays, etc. Would you consider that era a significant influence on your music?
100% yes! I have always been a huge fan of music groups including The Temptations, The Stylistics, The Delfonics and The Floaters; so music of that genre has always had a big influence on my songwriting. The beat for the song Night Cruising from my album Reckless Caution, was influenced by the song, Keep On Lovin’ Me, by The Whispers.
You also collaborate with other musicians – most recently featuring as the lead vocalist on the track Lonely City, on James Myhill‘s album Crooked Electric Cottage, and on the title track from m0p3’s Nursery Crime, both released late last year. Tell us a bit about that process.
Well I’m always recording music and some of that is either as a solo project, or in collaboration with other artists. In both of the cases you mentioned above, it was basically the producers who came with the music ideas and just gave me free reign to write and record some lyrics over their instrumental tracks.
I’m lucky enough to now have my own recording studio away from London (Studio 35 in Hertfordshire), so the work rate tends to be a lot quicker nowadays then it may have been in the past.
You currently host The Evening Session radio show on Shoreditch Radio. How did that come about?
A few years ago, the owner of Shoreditch Radio, Delroy Philogene, was looking for DJs and presenters to fill some slots on the radio station, so we ended up having a meeting at the Shoreditch Radio studios and I was offered a slot. Simple as that, really.
I’ve been presenting The Evening Session for over four years now and I absolutely love doing the show.
I’ve also been lucky enough to interview a number of musicians on the show, from bands such as The Specials, Blur, Madness, The Brand New Heavies and UB40 to name a few; so I’ve been very lucky.
Which experience would you say is the highlight of your career so far?
Whilst touring the Reckless Caution album, I was lucky enough to tour with The Gorillaz on part of their world tour, which was a truly amazing experience. It was amazing meeting people like Pauline Black (The Selector), De La Soul, Noel Gallagher, Jehnny Beth (The Savages) & the American singer Kali Uchis. Releasing the Reckless Caution album was also a highlight in itself.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m always recording new music, so whether the music ends up being released in the form of either an album or an EP, remains to be seen; but I’m sure it will come out in some form at some point.
Images © and courtesy of Mark Anthony