Get Into The Festive Spirit With Mark Kingswood
by Geoff Ford
Time for a little (locked-down) Christmas cheer with the help of rising star Mark Kingswood. Following the roaring success of his debut albums Strong and the follow-up Brave Enough, released ealier this year, Mark Kingswood’s popularity has undeniably gone from strength to strength.
Mark has now released his third album Say Merry Christmas with some festive favourites and five brand new tracks, all in the distinctive Mark Kingswood style. And there is the chance to sit back and enjoy a Mark Kingswood ‘concert’ from the comfort of your armchair with a special live Christmas performance this Friday evening.
Since Mark Kingswood first stepped into the spotlight back in May 2019, supporting Jools Holland’s UK tour, Mark has earned himself a fast-growing reputation as a quality performer: a great voice, easy manner and warm rapport with his audience on stage, and a man who knows where his is going, carving his own unique take on the crooning style.
Mark has always maintained he wants to be Original, the inspiration for a great swing number on his sophomore album. This continues his philosophy of not recording the swing standards we all know in favour of his own material. Northern Life first spoke to Mark ahead of his appearances with Jools Holland and he was clear about his career plan.
“I try to keep it interesting and I like to push myself,” he told me. “That’s important for me as an artist. There are so many brilliant artists out there that do The American Songbook and do it so well.” Mark agreed with me that doing The American Songbook can become a little bit clichéd after a while.
“That’s the thing that we felt. It’s typically expected with a crooner and I almost want to redefine what a crooner can be in some ways. I think that original music, for us, seems to be the right fit.
“I’m very fortunate to have some great songwriters around, some great arrangements and it all clicked and fell together. That’s where I’ve Got A Thing For Swing came from, for the (first) album.”
His success has been helped by the fantastic support he has been given by BBC Radio 2 in the form of numerous New to 2, day-time playlist inclusions, Album of the Week, as well as an awe-inspiring live session in the Piano Room.
A little nervous on his debut appearance supporting Jools Holland, his confidence grew as his audience warmed to, then, unfamiliar material but Mark shone on his first headline tour back in February. A larger tour was scheduled for the autumn but, a familiar tale this year, the pandemic put paid to that. Mark has pencilled in dates for December 2021 but, sadly, only the Cadogan Hall, London (1st) and Town Hall, Birmingham (3rd).
In the meantime Mark’s Christmas album Say Merry Christmas includes a future Christmas staple in the title track and a great swing version of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, a refreshing take on one of the most popular festive tunes of all time. Mark also pays homage to one his his personal heroes by including Last Christmas – Mark sings George so well!
Tune in at 7pm on Friday evening to enjoy an exclusive Christmas performance as Mark takes you through some seasonal favourites. The show is available to view through Facebook or Youtube, a must for all his fans, for those who want to sample a first taste of Mark’s easy style and for anyone who just wants to get into the festive spirit. Enjoy!