In my travels through the music of Texas, I have come across the greatest people in the world because they are down to earth with the people as with the music. One example is Mark D. Preston who is one of the rising stars of Texas Music.
I invited him to be interviewed and he accepted. The rest is history with E Mails flowing between Texas and Florida.
1. How did you get your start in the music business?
Ha, the short answer….. I’m still trying to get my start in the music business!
The long answer…. I have played in various cover & jam bands over the years and have had alot of fun, but songwriting has always satisfied my Musical Itch more than anything. Learning how to write good songs has been the challenge. Probably in 2002 I started taking my writing a little more seriously and actually self released an album with mostly original music. While it included some Country tunes, I was pretty heavy into Blues Rock back then. Living in the Austin TX area I couldn’t help being influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, not that I’m on that level of guitar playing. Anyhow I finally got noticed thru online Music Networking sites and recieved invitations to cowrite with some other established songwriters. Writing with other talented writers has been a tremendous help. It’s helped improve my songwriting skills and the relationships I’ve built have definitely opened doors to experience things and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
2. You are currently working on an album. What is the new album about?
The new album is something like I’ve never done before. The format is basically like a Backporch Acoustic Ensemble, even Bluegrass sounding at times. Acoustic guitars, Mandolin and Fiddle are the main instruments. A few tracks have some Bass and for percussion a bongo like African drum called a Djembe just to help create a different groove. It’s a combination of songs I’ve had a while and some that were actually written while recording the album. It has a variety of topics but almost every song is intended to have a message. The project started out being an Acoustic Guitar/Vocal songwriter’s album and we just decided to make it a little more fun. It’s been fun for me and hopefully will be a fun listen.
3. How long did it take you to record this latest album?
I think we started late summer 2010 and here we are early January 2011 and just now putting the finishing touched on the tracks here at my place. Then it’ll be off to be Mixed & Mastered properly in Nashville.
4. What inspired you to write “A Chip And A Chair”?
I was in Nashville for a Songwriting Challenge event last spring, we were given a theme but it was fairly general. Co-writer Greg Swartzentruber had come up with the idea and we all felt it had some great potential. It was Tommy Southard, Greg and myself sitting around the dining room table at the home of Jimmie Van Zant, of the legendary southern rock family (Skynyrd & 38 Special). While we were writing and playing/singing it outloud during the process Jimmie kept walking through the room, and since it was a Southern Rock style of song he liked what he was hearing and kept giving creative input that really helped shape the song. Needless to say there are four cowriters on the song!
5. Who were your musical idols and what did you learn from their music to form a style that is Mark D. Preston?
That question is as big as Texas…lol. I grew up listening to the Country artists my parents played, like Merle Hagaard, Johnny Rodriguez, Charlie Rich to name a few. My teen years were spent mostly listening to Rock and Hard Rock, but I can still remember the first time I noticed Willie Nelson when “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” came out. I just loved it and then discovered the so called Out Laws, with Willie & Waylon and others… “Red Headed Stranger” to this day is one of my favorite all time albums and a framed copy hangs above my studio desk. Of course Austin is such a Blues town, and that’s influenced me too. All I can say is my style is a fusion of all of that mixed together, and it shows musically as this next album will almost be hard to categorize into one specific Genre. Hopefully that’s a good thing!
6. In what way is Mark D. Preston different from the musical establishment in Hollywood and New York [or even Nashville?
I really prefer to let others make that determination after hearing the music…. All I can say is my country usually isn’t Traditional, but even when I try to do something non-country I still sound country…. can’t escape my roots…..lol.
7. Many people talk of Texas as being a cradle for the rebirth of American Contemporary Music. What is your opinion?
There is alot going on in Texas musically speaking, for sure. Texas Music is still out-lawish in that it doesnt necessarily try to fit fit in, but it is what it is…. if you know what I mean. I love Texas Artists and the varied styles you’ll hear on Texas Radio….
8. What is your advice for those who want a career in the music industry?
I don’t claim to be anybody to give advice, I can only speak for myself. I create and play music because it’s part of who I am. Whether I get paid or not, I am going to make music. I know if someone is really wanting to “make it” in this industry, they probably need a more aggressive strategy and really focus on achieving their dreams. I have known musicians and writers who stay frustrated because they’ve not “made it” yet. I don’t want my journey to be one of frustration. Any success I achieve is Icing on the Cake.
9. Please feel free to send a message to your fans and to the world.
To all the fans of my music, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope it touches you in some way, I’m honored others will listen and enjoy. Stay tuned for the new Album to hopefully be out soon! Find me on Itunes, Amazon.com and others…. and please stay in touch at http://www.markprestonmusic.net or http://www.pierbranch.com .
Thanks also for inviting me for this interview!