ReverbNation Contest Winner ~ Mark Blacknell

Mark Blacknell

Mark Blacknell

Mark Blacknell is unafraid. I love his cool confidence. He’s led quite an interesting life. In addition to playing music, Mark was a bookie, a Marine, a park ranger and a documentary filmmaker. Mark admits, “It was a struggle to figure out what I actually wanted to do. I wanted to do everything. Sooner or later, you have to choose what you are going to master. For me, it was music, specifically lyrics and songwriting.”

We selected Mark Blacknell as winner of our ReverbNation contest because of his unique sound. When I listen, I hear a rock ballad mixed with a little country and a splash of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. To Mark, “My music is George Harrison meets Lou Reed in a dark alley. To me, it’s a diary of my life. Each song represents a different experience that I learned from: sometimes, the hard way; sometimes, the good way.”

Mark Blacknell credits Woodstock and the counter-culture of the 60’s with influencing his sound: Janis Joplin; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and Johnny Winter, who just passed away. “Growing up, my father idolized Woodstock, and he had the album. He made it sort of mythical for me. I used to be able to name everybody at Woodstock. I also spent far too many hours as a child listening to The Beatles on my little green and white turntable.”

Mark Blacknell is prepping for his When Rain Was Fun album release. The pre-release playlist has 13 tracks, so it’s quite a project. As Mark explains, “It was written when I was living at the 4,000 foot level of Haleakala (in upper Kula on Maui). There was natural beauty everywhere; it was very inspirational. Most of the songs came out of that period.”

Mark Blacknell singingMark is just starting to learn how to best use social media. “After you learn those lessons, you can announce a show by writing one sentence in one place and it goes everywhere, without you having to go to each and every site. I’m just learning technology, as far as the music business is concerned. I wish that I didn’t wait so long.”

We also selected Mark Blacknell because he showed that he has excellent business acumen. Instead of spamming me with links to his music, he sent me a nice letter, offering to help with the selection process. Mark advises, “You want to try and write something to distinguish yourself and let the person know that you’re low maintenance.”

Mark also advises other musicians, “If you’re younger, the first thing you want to do is work on yourself, become a better human being. Then you’ll become a better musician and you’ll have a better life, regardless of whether or not you make it. If you’re someone who has invested a lot into it, like I have, try to maintain the same attitude as when you were younger. It’s a bit more difficult, because you have more things going on in your life. You are more careful, which is a good thing.”

Mark continues, “You have to really know what you want and have a goal. Invest in products and services and PR that are targeted, so you know that you are really going to get something out of the investment. I think my biggest mistake was spending a lot of money arbitrarily, without a plan. It can make or break you.”

Sage advice, Mark Blacknell, you do need a plan if you are going to spend a lot of money on any business.

Watch the complete video interview on the Amused Now YouTube channel:

Amused Now ReverbNation Contest Winners

Mark Blacknell near drumsMark Blacknell

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now