Mark Villarosa

1) What is your musical background? How did you first get involved in music?

I’m British and a Londoner but I originally come from a very musical family in the Philippine Islands. My Great, Great Grandfather was an accomplished acoustic guitarist, he could hear music for the first time and then replicate it flawlessly note per note - people would come from neighbouring towns just to hear him play.

My grandmother carried on that vein; she was a classical pianist and piano teacher. I would hear her playing the piano in the mornings as she would practice; I was introduced to the masterpieces of Bach & Beethoven at a very young age thanks to her.

My Father was a classic rock keyboardist in the 70’s. That's him (in shades) boarding a plane with his band to tour Japan.

He would take me with him to his practice sessions, where he and his band would cover bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, my initiation into the world of classic rock happened at a very early age. He would later be a keyboardist for a band called “The Tourists”, who later changed their name to the “Eurythmics”.

When I turned 12, I remember my aunt giving me an acoustic guitar, as a gift. I was already able to play the piano quite well at this age, but the acoustic guitar was a completely alien instrument to me. I was immediately hooked. I loved the feel of the strings and the sounds it could make, I loved how it was both intricate and simple simultaneously. I loved the shape of the body. IN short, I fell in love with it.

It was around this time, that I started to discover pop and rock music, it was the start of the 80’s and MTV was the rage. English and American bands started to become popular and dominated popular culture. I started by trying to mimic my favourite artists (The Police, U2) and tried to replicate their songs on my acoustic guitar and sing along, copying their vocal style. It was clear to me then, I wanted to be like them. Onstage, ON fire and playing music.

2) What are some of your accomplishments?

I’ve been playing the piano & keyboard since I was 5

and the acoustic guitar since I was 12 and can pick up songs and copy them just by listening to them.

I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager, and haven’t stopped writing songs since. I still write to this day.

I formed a band called Bamboojuice in 2002 and we played in some of the top gigging venues around London (such as the Dublin Castle, The Water Rats Theatre, 100 Club, The Camden Head, Kensington Roof Gardens) and Le Bar Bat in NYC.

I’ve written, recorded and produced 2 EP’s with my band, Nightsong in 2002 and Comin Home in 2007.

Together with my formed band Bamboojuice, I also supported the internationally acclaimed rock band REEF in 2007, at the Monto Water Rats Theatre in London's Kings Cross.

The following year (2008) we were also filmed by an MTV crew in 2008 for an online feature called “Live & Unsigned”.

I was also briefly signed as a solo artist to artist management company "Iconique Performance" in 2012 which saw the release of two studio recorded singles (Raining in London & Minsan). Both Pop Rock singles were produced at Chapel studios by Steve Williams whose accolades include production work for Sting, Eric Clapton, SEAL and the Rolling Stones.

A highlight in 2012 was a solo acoustic performance at the "London Barrio Fiesta" to an audience of around 5,000+ festival attendees.

One of my songs (I Want to Believe) was also included in the soundtrack of an internationally released feature film (Leona Calderon) in 2013 directed by Jowee Morrel and starring Filipina movie actress Pilar Pilapil and BAFTA awardee Virginia McKenna.

3) What project are you currently working on, and what is the background story? How did the project get started?

It’s been quite a long work in progress tbh, but finally getting closer to properly launching an acoustic pop single I’ve been working on in collaboration with a producer called “Insert.Play.Smile.”.

 The single has been recorded, it just needs a final tweak to the mix and a proper mastering session to make it commercially ready to launch. I’m also working on recording a 5 song EP which will include the single “Hangover” and other new tracks I’ve been working on. The EP will hopefully be completed and ready to unveil, after the single “Hangover” has been launched.

The song “Hangover” started as a joke, a friend suggested I write a song about a hangover so severe it became a benefit, because it took the place of remembering the awful things you might’ve done that night.

It seemed like a fun theme to write about, the “morning after moment” when you think: “Oh No, what did I do last night?” - the song offers the possibility, that a Hangover so bad you can’t even remember...might just be a blessing.

4) How would you describe your genre and what is your niche? What makes you different?

My genre is Pop, and my niche is Acoustic Pop Rock with Symphonic sounds. What makes me different is a chemical mixture of many different influences, so that I almost have NO particular genre – but one that is made up uniquely of MY musical background and the musical stamp that my personality brings to the mix.

I would describe myself as an “Acoustic Pop Rock singer songwriter with a Symphonic Twist.”

The Symphonic part, is largely thanks to my Grandmother's classical influence. I cannot thank her enough for a beautiful childhood, waking up almost every morning to the sound of her playing classical music on the piano.

5) Do you think you'll be successful in the music industry today?

I’m very realistic about “making it” today, I’m aware that

I’m making a start on getting serious with my music quite late in my adult life, and at a time when the music industry seems preoccupied with sourcing young new artists through Reality TV based Competitions

I think one of the things that make me unique, is that I’m not doing this just to chase fame. A have a specific goal, which is to genuinely connect with people that are searching for my particular kind of style & music and to build a community of 1,000 “Superfans” i.e. people who follow me because my music and my values inspire them and makes them feel good.

I believe that in a world of 7 billion people, there will be at least some looking for an artist just like me :  )

6) What is your dream? What are your goals?

My goal is to earn a living from my music so I can spend my time being productive, creating & performing great music that fans will enjoy for (hopefully) a long time to come; and with the accessibility of the global internet nowadays, I believe it’s a dream that can turn into reality..and I'm into that, turning dreams into reality.

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