Your Letterbox loves to feature local talent, we are delighted to introduce Mark Hussey, writer, performer and producer of a classical guitar album Concierto de los Sueños released in October 2016. In this exclusive interview with Your Letterbox Mark talks music.
It’s a fully orchestrated classical guitar album, inspired by recent life experiences as a full-time travelling, international musician. Writing, producing and performing this concerto for classical guitar has been a great pleasure and I’m delighted with the result. For a local independent artist on a limited budget, I believe that this has pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved if you focus and work hard enough.
How has the album been received?
Since the album’s release, downloads and streams have been very encouraging and these been great feedback from award winning artists to magazine editors. Although, you’re not likely to recover funds from praise or digital means alone, it’s the passion for the music that drives you anyway not the money. I now perform all around the world, I’ve found that once you build your reputation one thing leads on to another.
What was it like creating an album?
People are often curious as to how one would fund such a big project. It has been entirely self-funded with no external input. Keeping costs down was achieved by doing as much as possible myself. I wrote, performed and mixed with the help of close musical friend Vinzenz who runs a recording company called Onlinesessions. You have to consider that these days, computational skills during the production phase also play a big part. Being my debut album, I hope that it will gain traction and get me further noticed in the genre… and this seems to be happening!
The writing of this album didn’t take much more than a month, whereas the production took over 7 months. That said, I hope a follow up album will be quicker with the lessons I learnt from this project. My sincerest hope is that people take great pleasure from listening to my music and hopefully come to see me perform when live performances of this album are arranged. That may well be the next challenge, to get this music on the road…
Have you always been a musician?
I guess I’m not a traditional musician… I’ve had a passion for music since I can remember but I took a career first within science. I was the first in my family to go to university and I don’t regret it in anyway. I gained a highly transferable skill from university – work ethic. It now translates to my music – every day I get up at 7:30 and by 8:30 I’m practicing. It’s not enough to just be good, you need to be great. I was formally trained in the study of Virology (the study of viruses like HIV, Hep C and Influenza to name just a few). After I’d completed my studies I found the politics of the workplace hard. In many cases I was always waiting for others to do their jobs, before I was permitted to do mine. I was just one person in a long chain that makes up the cliché of ‘team work’. I just want to get on with things and get results. So I changed the beat if you will, and went to France to play and focus on my new trade.
Where did your love for classical music start?
I grew a passion for classical music whilst in France. Dedicating myself to playing was the only way to learn. I have now been practicing and dedicated to classical music for around 5 years. My approach to classical guitar playing is very different to more traditional players who can often sound mechanical with their approach. Especially when reading. I rely more on listening with an open mind and try to replicate what I love, developing the technique to do so.
Is the music business an easy career path?
You can normally get by, just. Realistically you may never know what you’re going to earn each month, so that can be hard. It can also be detrimental to your social life. You travel, party whilst you’re away but then you’re back and you have no children, partner, family and your close friends are busy with their lives. It can be a lonely experience. But it’s then you have to ask yourself how much do you want this. I mean, how much do you love playing music. It’s a test and you really have to work hard to be good enough to succeed. It leads you to a ethos of work, work, work.
Are you happy?
Despite the difficulties, I am happier than ever and feel very lucky. If I could go back and tell 20 year old Mark anything it would be “Do not give up, it will be ok, you will be happy and find success”. You just have to get through the hard times first to make it. My definition of ‘making it’ is most certainly not analogous to those competing on talent shows. Instead I simply wanted to earn a reasonable living, being as good on guitar as I can be, being creative and expressing myself musically. Thankfully, having achieved the first few I’ve started working on the self-expression and creativity.
The album really has been a learning curve with this being my focus.
Mark’s CD and solo guitar arrangements can be found at www.markhussey.com