London singer/songwriter Mark Asari burst onto the music scene as part of group Encore before taking his talents and pursuing a solo career. He recently collaborated with former JLS member Marvin Humes’ group LuvBug on their latest single ‘Revive‘ as the guest vocalist, which reached #17 in the UK charts. He also teamed up with UK rapper Giggs and released his latest track ‘Good One‘ which has had radio play on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Capital Xtra, Reprezent and Pulse88. L Ø S T C U L T U R E sat down with Mark Asari to discuss his previous collaborations, his latest release and what he has planned next…
How did you first become involved and interested in music?
I started out just as a producer in secondary school after I got a music production software called Reason from a friend. I used to try and remake songs I loved at the time, and over time I got better and better. I started making beats for local artists and school friends. I used to sing in secret because i was mad shy but as I got a little more confident, I took part in talent shows at school and different music workshops and developed from there.
You were once part of the group Encore and has great success together. How does being in a group differ from being on your own and can we expect any reunions with the guys any time soon?
Being in a group allows you to hide behind your band-mates and share the load whereas on your own, the pressure is all on you to deliver. I had a great time especially going on tour with Jessie J and N Dubz. I’d say being on the road with your band-mates is actually the best part. As far as a reunion goes…hmm we will have to wait and see.
Your first debut mixtape Mark My Words was released in 2013 and had features from Ms D [‘Fire’], Lems [‘Winner’] and Yungen [‘Clockwork’]. At that time, how important was it for you to impress people with your first solo effort and were you surprised by the great response it got?
I think any project that you do, you want to impress people especially your first one and especially coming out of a group situation you want to show the people what your all about. Making Mark My Words was a fun experience actually and I learned a lot, I was very happy at the responses of those who heard it.
You’ve previously worked with a number of UK rappers including Chip, Wretch 32 and Tinie Tempah. Why do you enjoying working with rappers so much on tracks and what UK rappers are you watching right now?
I like the edge that rappers bring to a song, I feel that some songs need that plus i like to reach out to their audiences. I’d like to work with more singers actually. Right now I like what Bonkaz, WSTRN and Nick Brewer are doing. 2015 has been a great year for UK urban music and is probably the healthiest it has ever been.
Why do you think the urban scene is doing so well at the moment and what do you think the future holds?
It’s in a very good place right now, I think its because artists are making what they want to make and not caring about what’s on the charts and its resonating. I think it will continue to grow and flourish which is exciting.
Your latest track ‘Good One‘ features UK rapper Giggs and has been received well, both online and on radio. What was your inspiration behind that track and how did that link up with Giggs happen?
I heard the beat at the producer ‘GreatNess Jones’ house and was hooked on it instantly. I took it home and started coming up with melodies and came up with the good one chorus. The Giggs link up happened though a mutual friend of my manager who sent him track and he replied with ‘this is a banger’ (Giggs voice) and he jumped on it.
What artists are you currently listening to and who you most like to collaborate with?
Right now I’m listening to the new Ty Dollar $ign album hard because I like his melodies. I would like to do something with Etta Bond or Kwabs because I think they’re great UK artists.
As we approach 2016, what can we expect from Mark Asari in the new year?
‘Good One‘ was just a taste and my re-entry into the scene but I have a lot more music, and collaborations that I’m excited about. I also plan on releasing a project in the early part of next year, so stay tuned.