With finals coming up, one of the best ways to relieve stress is to sit down and listen to music. The Serendipity music series is set to have Mark Joseph as the first performer of this school year.
Joseph’s love for music started when he was young by singing in church or around the piano with his grandfather. Growing out of piano lessons and getting his first guitar at the age of eleven, he found his passion from attending a B.B. King concert.
“I saw [King] about six months after getting my guitar and it changed my life forever,” said Joseph. “I was inspired by the blues and his performance spoke to me. It was the moment that I decided this is what I wanted to do with my life.”
Joseph’s newest album, Vegas Motel, was written in the peak months of COVID-19 lockdown last year during the holiday season. The album was important for Joseph to share as the songs are about people in his life, whether family or through friends, and their struggles in life.
“It developed from being able to tell individual stories about what [my friends and family] have been through,” said Joseph. “It’s telling stories about people I think are heroes that you might not hear about in everyday life.”
One of Joseph’s favorite songs he put on the album is called “The Life of a Pipe Welder.” The song is about a person who goes through intense hardships in their life and has to find a way to combat them through their positive energy and attitude. As difficult as the song was to produce, the dynamics turned out just the way Joseph intended.
“It’s sort of an opus that grows from a small sound all the way to a full rock arena song at the end. I’m proud that we were able to see it through and stay true to the vision,” shared Joseph. “To record a song that is very small and quiet that naturally just grows into a large sonic sound isn’t easy to do.”
Joseph experiments with a variety of musical genres ranging from jazz and blues to rock and country. Vegas Motel focuses more on the Americana country inspired by musicians Charlie Crockett and Merle Haggard.
“Merle Haggard was a huge influence to me and the song “Vegas Motel” is sort of a tribute to my country roots in the form of an old Haggard tune,” shared Joseph.
Joseph’s advice to those who want to pursue music as a career is to ask themselves questions as to what they get out of music as a whole.
“Ask yourself why do I do this, what do I want to accomplish and what’s the joy I get out of it. From there you can determine the path you should take,” said Joseph. “Music is a great tool for connection, storytelling and bringing people together. It’s not just stadiums and big sold-out shows.”
Mark Joseph will be playing on Monday, Dec. 6 in the CSU Hearth Lounge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Header Photo: Mark Joseph’s 2021 third full-length album, Vegas Motel, is a highly personal record rooted in the emotion of the year it was written (2020). (Photo credit Beth Robert)