MARK NELSON

About Mark Nelson
● Mark Nelson is a singer-songwriter and musician from Surrey with a difference...in that he does it all single-handed, not for any clever reason, but simply because he was born with one arm.
 
● What inspired you to start music?

Having been born with one arm I perversely chose the guitar as my weapon in life. First, however came the songs. From an early age I listened to, and absorbed, music so much so that I began hearing my own songs in my head way before I could play an instrument.

 

It wasn’t until my teens that I found a way of playing the guitar with one arm using my thumb to strum and fretting with any other willing digit. I formed a rock band in my early 20s, and over a period of 20 years with different line ups I write and played heavy rock and pop songs almost getting signed several times

Eventually, I decided to jump off the band wagon (so to speak) and went solo and acoustic - playing ballads and blues songs locally. I’ve been doing this ever since both solo and with my own acoustic blues band. It’s always been about the songs and writing them then performing and realising them.

Latest Mark Nelson Single release: Lost Love in a Day (released through Animal Farm Music)
 
1. What’s the story behind the new song?

‘Lost love in a Day’ is a soulful pop ballad about regret, love and life. It’s a brand-new single which I made along with Animal Farm Music out now on Spotify.

2. What inspired you to put together the new single & what it is all about?

The single first came about through a riff I played on the guitar - it had a slightly contemporary R&B edge to it along with a soulful, bluesy feel. The lyrics came about through the tone of the melody and it follows a cry of regret following arrogance and stupidity over love.

3. Will you be touring to support the new album? If so, when?
Not sure really, obviously I’d love to be out there playing and promoting the song but it all depends upon the Covid lockdown and when performing restrictions lift. I’m recording videos of live acoustic performances to fill this gap. Let’s hope the restrictions lift soon.
4. What is your song writing process?

I tend to get ideas noodling on the guitar or when I’m out walking or making a cup of tea. Often, I get the complete song at once musically, with a selection of  lyrics. Once I think an idea is good enough I’ll sit down and concentrate on getting the lyrics right to match the mood of the song. I write songs both for my acoustic blues band and pop ballads for myself. Being principally a songwriter, I’ve been writing songs since I was seven.

Live Performances
● What’s your first thoughts when you get up on stage? 
Nervous, excited and a desire to make it the best performance ever!
 
● Where was the first venue you played? The Alma pub in Islington, London in 1991 with my Psychedelic Pop band, The Poppyheads.
 
● What is your most memorable moment from any live performances?

I would probably say the time that I won an acoustic stage competition I played on at midday at a small festival in Wiltshire and then, having won, was asked to play the main stage at night time straight after a thrash metal band. I was incredibly nervous beforehand not because of the 1000+ crowd in front of the stage but more that they had just spent the last hour stage-diving to this loud thrashing music and I was going to be up next playing two of my gentle acoustic ballads with my mate, Phil Thorp, on blues harp. However,  as soon as I walked on stage the butterflIes disappeared and I looked out at the crowd and all I felt was a sense of utter excitement. The crowd were amazing and were with me all the way, cheering me on and giving me the most magnificent applause. It was definitely the most memorable performance moment so far for me.

● Describe the atmosphere when you’re performing.

I like to mix gentle ballads with stomping blues and rock songs so that my set is as entertaining as possible. I also like to connect with my audience so I try to inject humour and be open and honest so that we are all in it together. I think the atmosphere, overall, is one of fun, energy with a dollop of humour and poignancy; so a good mix really.
 
● What artist  would you like to perform with the most?
In an ultimate ideal world I would love to perform with Sir Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend  as they are my all-time heroes. But slightly more realistically, I would say either Graham Coxon (From Blur) or Jon Allen as I am a huge fan of these solo artists.
 
● Will you be touring in the United Kingdom any time soon?
Again, it all depends on the Covid lockdown restrictions for performers. I have been performing virtually online and in videos and watch parties which is fun but not as slick and as enjoyable as performing live gigs and festivals; I miss playing those greatly, especially during the summer. I hope us musicians can get back out there and are able to perform live again soon.