New PARMA artist Mark John McEncroe didn’t start his music career until he was 35. Although music has always been an interest and he played many instruments, including trumpet, flute, and clarinet, it took some time before he settled into composition and piano, where he studied under PARMA artist Margaret Brandman. Mark John McEncroe is our next featured artist on “Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the personalities of our artists. Read on and enjoy!
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?
I was always creative as a kid. I was allergic to reality & lived in my head. I was able to talk my way in or out of anything. My dad used to say I should be in public relations when I grew up. That was his code for saying full of bullshit but no skills that will earn him a dollar. I used to draw & paint & build model sailing ships. I didn’t study music. The truth is I was too wild, so it was difficult for me to concentrate on studies or applying myself to studying music instruments.
It wasn’t till I reached adulthood that I realized I wanted to play music. During most of that time, I worked in the record business in Australia & Sweden for EMI records as a label manager. Studying music had to compete at that time with activities concerning girls & party time. Guess which activities won. I would love to say that I was this intellectually gifted potential music genius, alas that’s so far from the truth.
My reality was as I got older & slowed down I was over time able to apply myself for long enough to start getting results. Mind you, when music teachers along the way tried to stuff my head with all this boring academic theoretical music theory & told me how I should approach my music, my response was far from nice; let’s just say I wasn’t at all polite in response to their efforts. I do things by instinct. Any theory I learned I had forgotten it within 5 minutes anyway. It’s not for me to judge if my music “ticks all the boxes” as the Nike add says I “just do it”.
There is now a drive in me to write music which has gradually taken control & I’m compelled to do it. That’s it really. I had to join AA over 30 years ago, now probably I’ll have to join “compulsive composer’s anonymous.
If you weren’t a composer/performer, what would you be?
I have done many things already in my life; some well, & some things not so well. I have been a record company executive ( Label manager); professional chef, for nearly 20 years having come from a restaurant food business/family background. I used to be a DJ in discos around Europe in my early 20’s. When I wasn’t doing that I doubled up as the bouncer throwing undesirables out of the disco. It was the disco experience that landed me my job with EMI.
At 37 when I started to get serious about my music, I had to decide if it was going to be music or going to art school to study drawing & painting; something I was always drawn to. Music won. Nowadays I’m also very busy trying to keep my daughter out of trouble who unfortunately for me is just like me when I was her age.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?
I can’t live without my music; my Japanese bonsai garden & koi pond; or my football. I’m talking about Rugby League. So bring on the zombie apocalypse.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?
I already live in Sydney Australia. Where else would I want to be? My activities take me to Europe several times a year where I used to live for many years. Very soon I’ll be in the USA to check it out.
The culture of ancient/ traditional Japan has also always held great fascination for me. That’s why I’m into Japanese gardens, bonsai & koi ponds. I would also have loved to go back in a time machine to ancient Rome to check it out, provided I could get back. Probably would have ended up in the gladiator ring.
Mark John McEncroe’s DARK CLOUDS IN LIFE will be released March 10th on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic. Pre-order now. To stay updated with McEncroe, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.