The young Pop and R&B artist, MARK, who resides in Boston, has already competed in The Voice (Hong Kong) in 2011 as the youngest contestant, earning a place within the Top 12. In September 2013, he was also accepted into the Berklee College of Music as a vocal principle. MARK’s first studio effort “Portrait”, has harnessed the talents of Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum mix engineers and producers, including Benny Steele, Daniel Mizrahi, Lejon Lewis and Christin Fiore.
“Portrait” contains 5 songs, including the smash singles “#LA” and “Thirsty”. First-rate songwriting collaborators, such as the likes of Parker James, Charlotte Suen and Nismah Osman also joined in on the making of the EP.
“Portrait” is the real deal: an utterly engaging, emotional, hyper-catchy, 5-track affair that bucks 2016 pop’s over-reliance on gimmicky fuzz and gives MARK and his far-reaching voice room to stretch out. It helps, of course, that aside from adept his adept vocals and the smart songwriting, that MARK comes armed with an A-list crew of producers.
They cook up spicy Pop-Rnb fusions that will have you locked into each track, start to finish. And every stylistic stretch is as inspired: from the opening, banging and breezy lead single, “#LA” that flows in on a cool finger snapping beat and swings out on some clever vocal effects. In between MARK fills the bars with dripping melody and sweet harmonies.
The bulk of “Portrait” benefits from presenting MARK as he truly needs to be known: a big belter with an ear for pop hooks, sure, but one unafraid to dive into more complex, unorthodox arrangements, such “Let Go” and “Duel”. Will radios favor such unorthodoxy? Will it move enough units to justify further indulging his creative fancy?
Yes, because the songs always maintain a definite catchiness and accessibility which you can either listen or dance to. And that’s a bull’s-eye for the genre. A spellbinding musician, with a versatile range, and incredible skill, how could you not fall for the hypnotizing tempo and tone changes on “Thirsty”?
Similar to other recent efforts by male pop/R&B artists, “Portrait” takes listeners on a personal journey through the singer’s life experiences; the fights, the frustrations and the joys – the track “You’ll Never Know” being a prime example of this slant.
Even though we’ve heard these stories before, MARK’s ability to become an emotional chameleon and truly commit to these sounds and lyrics, makes this EP stand out from the rest of the current Pop-RnB fare. There’s plenty of inspiration to be found on the EP, but the one thing that sets all that apart is that MARK is able to sound genuine.
Passionate in his vocal delivery, versatile in his rhythm and melody, and with a genuine approach to his music, “Portrait” absolutely captures MARK’s essence.