New Music Spotlight: an Interview with Mark Sullivan

Hailed as a master of the loop pedal and epic guitar solos, Mark Sullivan is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Having recently released his new EP, Still Good For Nothing, Mark is now touring with the live music promoter Coffee House Sessions. We got in touch to find out what he has planned for 2017.

Natalie Bolderston: Can you describe your music for us?

Mark Sullivan: I’d probably say it’s acoustic-funk-rock with an element of soul. I’m influenced by a lot of artists – Jimmy Hendrix, Donny Hathaway, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Led Zeppelin – so I think my music comes out as a sort of hybrid of genres. I try to listen to as many musical styles as possible; as a musician, I think you can gain something from every genre.

NB: How is the tour going?

MS: Great! I really love being able to get out and meet new people, and get their feedback on the new EP. It’s very different to the last record, it, and when you’re writing new material, it can be difficult to just take a step back and listen. So I’m keen to find out whether people like it – so far, most have said that they do!

NB: How do you think your sound has evolved since your last EP?

MS: I’d say that this EP (Still Good for Nothing) is probably a lot more accessible to a wider audience. My last EP was a little more guitar-driven, but on this EP there’s more going on in terms of instruments. I’m really excited to get it out there!

NB: Where can fans find your music?

MS: You can follow me on Spotify and it’s also available from iTunes. If you want to find me on social media (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube), search ‘Mark Sullivan Music’ (on Twitter, I’m @MarkSullivanMus) and you’ll get all the latest updates.

NB: What’s the best and worst part of being a musician?

MS: I’d say the best part is being able to do something you love, and also being able to be really honest with yourself in terms of songwriting. Your own experience tends to come through in your music.

On the other hand, although it’s great to be honest with yourself, you can become your own worst enemy. It’s easy to doubt yourself, and you can end up worrying more than you have to.

NB: What’s next for you?

MS: The video for ‘Warm Your Bones’ (from Still Good for Nothing) will be out in the near future. I’m also going on tour again in March. I’m waiting on a couple of support slots right now, and I’m hoping to make some announcements next month, so look out for updates on my social media pages.

NB: Do you have any advice for musicians who are at a similar point in their career?

MS: Do as much as you possibly can to promote yourself. There’s a lot you can do to put yourself out there; make use of social media, network, and give interviews – keep people updated! Your success doesn’t just depend on your music; marketing is a big part of it. It took me a while to get to grips with that – my management have really helped. So it’s a matter of being as motivated as you can, and trying to stay optimistic. There’ll be ups and downs, but the most important thing is that you’re doing what you love.

(Featured image creditStill Good for Nothing EP art.)

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