Singer-songwriters everywhere know the struggle of trying to make it alone in the music business. At times it can feel completely overwhelming to try and do everything yourself, especially if slow progress is made. In the internet age of electro-pop and cookie-cutter hits, solo instrumentalists and vocalists can be easily overlooked. So what is it like for such an artist? We recently caught up with Mark Mitten to find out.
Mark has been releasing music for over a decade. His Americana acoustic guitar stylings and soulful vocals have a decidedly West-Coast vibe as showcased on his newest EP It’s Fine by Me. “I moved to Minnesota from Colorado several years ago, and it was a pretty hard change for me. Suddenly waking up somewhere else every day, as many people know, can be dramatic on the psyche,” says Mitten. “It was a time period in my life, a struggle, and from that struggle came the music.” Mark recently released a music video for his single “Shot to Hell” to follow up the EP release.
In addition to his solo career, Mark is a published novelist and also scores indie film projects. With all this creative work, it can be a challenge to carve out time to promote his music. “Everything is up to me. The drive, the creative, the marketing & promotions. Sisyphus rolling a stone uphill,” he remarks. “But the creative elements of self-expression are what keep me moving forward.” Standing out in the age of social media and the flood of artists that it has given way to is its own monolithic challenge. “Music is now infinitely accessible, and therefore absolutely disposable,” says Mark. “On one hand, this awareness is incredibly de-motivating. On the other, coming to grips with it and accepting it allows me to move beyond it, go back to the beginning, so to speak, back to that purely artistic level. Music for the sake of self-expression.”
Mitten says that he’s had some great live experiences over the years. Though not currently touring, that could be on the horizon to promote the new music should the proper opportunity arise. “I haven’t hit the full-on guitars-in-the-boot touring level yet, though I’d like to give it a run. But I need a couple other musicians to make the music come alive—the sad-eyed lone troubadour motif has grown a little one-dimensional, passé for me.” Regardless, Mitten reports that his music is fulfilling in its current form and that “doing, not wishing or talking or regretting, but doing” is his favorite thing about being a musician. “Creation is my pulse, and performance is the connection, to share the vibe.”
Looking to the future, Mitten hopes to broaden his fan base and continue creating music to reach new ears. His advice for other artists is simple: “Be authentic.” We agree and encourage everyone to check out his new music video. To listeners, Mark says, “Support the cause. Share those posts, hit that like button, help your favorite indie bands out! You may not realize it, but every little nod means a lot.” You can find Mark Mitten and his music on Bandcamp, Vimeo, and on his website.
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