Sunday, August 27, 2006
The SPARK*POP New Artist Network
What is so bad about being a wannabe? It seems like every time the word comes into conversation it's in the context of someone who is trying too hard to achieve something that should, for all intents and purposes, be effortless. As if having a prolific output and a Devil-may-care attitude amounts to artistic greatness, rather than what happens 98% of the time: hard work, long hours, failure, detours, determination, a little more failure, and then a (usually) marginal amount of success. And then perhaps some more failure.

It's the awareness of this process
and these things that make a guy like
and the pop gems he produces,
so accessible.

As a guy who moved to Nashville with stars in his eyes, a dreamer from the get-go, we can all relate in some way to the message of songs like "What I Want" and "Superfamous," songs that are fully aware of what taking yourself too seriously can do if you aren't grounded and clear of your motivations. It's not until you listen to the bouncing rhythms and welcoming lyrics, intensely personal yet tongue-in-cheek, that you realize that this is Mark Smeby, complete and whole, laid out before you in song.

When he moved to Music City, USA, it was with the dream of making pop music. But life being what it is, pop stardom didn't happen right off the bat. Instead he found himself in a solid career writing for the music industry, immersed in the business and reporting on the very thing he dreamed about being a part of. While this turn of events could easily frustrate someone else and cause them to settle into what they know is safe and secure, Mark's determination grew.

After all, what good is being secure
if your life-long dreams are compromised?

If he gained nothing else from growing up amidst the work ethic and hardiness of Minnesota, it was a clearly defined sense of determination. He worked at self-financing his own pop project, finding a team of equally hungry producers and mixers to achieve his goal of creating pop masterpieces despite murmurs of doubt from his peers.

The end result is this collection of songs, polished and catchy yet full of personality and sardonic wit - all a rarity in Nashville.

So, really, what's so bad about being a wannabe? Is it so terrible to want to be the kind of guy who knows what his dreams are, who won't let the words of nay-sayers get him down, and who follows through with his convictions to see those dreams realized?

He doesn't think so, either.

—Mike Hogan

Anonymous Mark said...
WHOA! dude...thank you so much for this amazing show of kindness! i'm blown away! I'm overwhelmed...