‘After 18 years I’m an overnight star,’ says Stevenage musician

Mark accepting his award from Rick Wakeman

Mark accepting his award from Rick Wakeman - Credit: Archant

It’s been more than 18 years since singer-songwriter Mark Sullivan picked up a guitar.

Mark Sullivan released his new EP on Thursday.

Mark Sullivan released his new EP on Thursday. - Credit: Archant

In that time the Stevenage-born artist has played his fair share of gigs in dingy backstreet bars to five people who were probably more interested in the football.

But he didn’t let that dampen his spirit and desire to make great music.

And after winning a prestigious competition backed by music-loving MPs and with his second EP Movement being released on iTunes next Thursday, it looks like his fortunes are finally changing.

“I am really proud of the EP,” said the 32-year-old who lists soul singer Donny Hathaway and fellow singer-songwriter John Mayer among his influences.

“It has lots of layers and I wrote a lot of the songs with a piano in mind. It’s got a really different sound to the first EP and I would encourage anyone to give it a listen.”

The parliamentary prize is Rock The House, a national competition founded by former MP Mike Weatherley.

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From hundreds of entries three artists were chosen to perform in London and judges included Mr Weatherley, legendary keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman and former Iron Maiden keyboard player Tony Moore.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it before,” said Mark, who gave up his job selling glucose readers for a diabetic company in September to pursue his ambitions.

“It was totally surreal and when I won I was over the moon.”

Mark started his first band, Gekko, with friends in 1998 after seeing Britpop stars Oasis perform.

“After we just said: ‘Let’s start a band’. I chose to learn the guitar,” he said.

“I had lessons for a couple of months and then taught myself.

“I’ve never fallen out of love with music and have used it to get me through rough periods.

“I have been doing this for too long to stop now.

“My desire has not died and it will never go.

“I used to think that someone was going to walk into a bar and see me play, sign me up and I’d be a megastar overnight.

“Now I see it doesn’t work like that for that vast majority of musicians but that doesn’t mean I don’t love making music and want people to listen to it.”

To listen to Mark’s music search Mark Sullivan Music on Facebook or YouTube or visit www.soundcloud.com/marksullivanmusic.

You can download Movement on iTunes from Thursday, April 30.

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