Interview With VFR Recording Artist/Songwriter Mark McGuinn
Newcomer Mark McGuinn is major label talent on an independent label. He is breaking barriers that many artists haven't been able to do. McGuinn has a sound that, even if he's not the one singing his songs, you know who wrote it. His sound isn't all that sets him apart from everyone else. He didn't grow up knowing he was going to come to Nashville to be the 'next big star.'
[Country Interviews Online] The first single, "Mrs. Steven Rudy", is not really following the normal debut single pattern, especially for an independent artist ... or even for a major label artist! It wasn't even supposed to be the first single - "That's a Plan" was. What was the situation behind that? Why was it changed?
[Mark McGuinn] I think there's a lot of factors in that. Number one, it sounds different - sonically, it's different. It seems to catch people's ear automatically. The content of it - people relate to it. For whatever reason, that song pulled a very large demographic together. It's very singsong. It's almost nursery rhyme-ish. I think that, in itself, has a big part in why people like the song and radio is playing the song.
[Country Interviews Online] The single itself - you wrote it. What was your inspiration for it?
[Mark McGuinn] Some of it's personal experience. Mainly, the chorus came from when I was watching a movie. A scene happened in the movie that was really funny, so I scribbled down the chorus really quickly. When I got to the "your wedding ring's as ugly as your husband is to you," I thought, I don't know if I can say that! But, then I was like, yeah, that works completely! I got together with [co-writer] Shane Decker and finished the song, just drawing on different experiences. Like I stated earlier, a lot of people relate. We didn't do that on purpose. We just wrote how we thought it should be.
[Country Interviews Online] Have you written anything else that people would know?
[Mark McGuinn] No, but I've come close a bunch of times. I have a cut with Lonestar, called "Unusually Unusual," that will be on their next record. It didn't make the first single, but hopefully it will be the second - I don't know. Then recently, I got a couple more cuts - with the group South 65 called "She's Only Perfect," then a new guy on Dreamworks, Mike Walker.
[Country Interviews Online] For the video, was it what you expected?
[Mark McGuinn] ["Mrs. Steven Rudy"] was the second video that we have done, so it was a little bit easier. Although, having said that, it was harder in the fact that it was all me. I didn't have a band with me; there were no props. It's always difficult to have a camera stuck in your face.
[Country Interviews Online] Where was that filmed?
[Mark McGuinn] In a giant warehouse. If you look at the CMT spot, that white flooring that they have, that's the same floor that we used in my video.
[Country Interviews Online] What was one of the first instruments you learned how to play?
[Mark McGuinn] If I think way back, I remember this little organ that sat on the ground. I can't remember the specific name for it, but I remember being about 3 or 4 playing on that. It was a real instrument, a tiny organ. Then, trumpet would be next. That was probably 6th grade. Then guitar.
[Country Interviews Online] You originally were going into jazz?
[Mark McGuinn] I had no intentions, but that was the path I took, and I studied that. I loved all kinds of music. My intention was to make it to the next day! I thought that maybe I might play professional sports. I tried that, and that didn't work out. I played with the Greensboro Dynamo for about 3 matches. Thank goodness that didn't turn out because I got to come to Nashville!
[Country Interviews Online] How come you stopped doing that?
[Mark McGuinn] I had chronic knee trouble. The only thing I could do for it was stay off it. So, I stayed off of it forever.
[Country Interviews Online] Do you still play at all?
[Mark McGuinn] As a matter of fact, I play about once a year. My brothers and I get together. We have a team and we suck pretty bad!
[Country Interviews Online] What are some of your other hobbies?
[Mark McGuinn] Well, I guess a hobby that turned into a career was songwriting. That and recording music is how I spend a lot of my extra time. Now, talking on the phone. Maybe that qualifies as a hobby? It seems that thing is clued to my ear a lot when I'm in town!
[Country Interviews Online] Who are some of your influences?
[Mark McGuinn] I have a ton! If you ask me this every day of the week, it might change! I love Merle Haggard; some of the songwriters out there like Guy Clark. I like Willie Nelson a lot. I like Sting, I think he's cool! James Taylor is great. There's a litany, I could go on and on.
[Country Interviews Online] If you weren't in the music business, either singing or writing, what would you be doing?
[Mark McGuinn] I don't know, that's a good question. I'd produce. Maybe I'd be in publishing.
Visit Mark McGuin at www.markmcguinn.com.