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Meet Mark Pico

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Pico.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’m a Los Angeles-based vocalist, songwriter, producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. I got my start in the arts when I was very young. I’ve always been in choirs, musicals, theatre, and making up songs in car rides. I grew up in a very “art-positive” household as my mother is a painter, and my father is a frequent concert-goer. We had a wide variety of genres on vinyl and CD on heavy rotation at home. I most remember listening to The Beatles, Justin Timberlake, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Michael Jackson, Creed, and Supertramp.

As a tween, I lived in Dubai between ages 8-15. My understanding of people and music broadened as I had the opportunity to travel to seven other countries during my stay in the UAE. When I returned to the US, I attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts to study Jazz and the craft of improvisation, film scoring, and a few other musical trades. I began building up my performance chops by playing regularly at cafe’s, venues, and even some festivals. While at LACHSA, I had the honor of performing at the Grammy’s twice, won the L.A. Music Center’s Spotlight Award for Non-classical Voice, and even sang on live television with Josh Groban! Crazy.

I attended USC Thornton’s Jazz Music program to pursue my dream of becoming the next Kurt Elling. But in the midst of my studies, I realized I needed to get back to writing my own music, so I transferred into the Popular Music program. I was fascinated by this question: “I can write complex music with complex chords and understand it too, but can I write equally beautiful music with a simple melody? A simple lyric?” It became my challenge for my time in that program. I spent all my energy in college toiling over the details of what Pop music was and is. During this time, I studied under Grammy-winning artists Patrice Rushen and Michael Boddicker, as well as acclaimed vocal coach Jeffrey Allen; all of whom deeply shaped who I am and what I do.

When I was twelve, I said I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up. Ever since then I’ve been writing, recording, performing, living and breathing music. Today, I write songs for Television, co-write with and for other artists, lead worship at churches, and perform with my band Kinglii, and as a solo artist.

Please tell us about your art.
As a musician, I aim to make music that has the same effect on a secular audience that worship music has on a religious audience. My hope is that people would feel emotionally or physically changed for the better after hearing any music I’ve been involved with. I work to accomplish these things as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist.

I believe that music has the power to transcend barriers of language, geography, age, identity, and pain. Whether through an empathic or encouraging lyric or through an uplifting beat, my musical intention is to create hope for people.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
My advice to other artists is this: (1) Embrace where you are. Don’t compare yourself to people who are further along or further behind where you are in your walk as an artist. Look instead to your left and right and see who among your peers is where you are. Connect with them, and create a community of support with them. Sponsor what they do in any way you can afford, love them, and let them love you back. (2) Embrace who you are. Often, we happen to find value in things that others can do, and not always in the things we can do. Take some time to examine what makes you, you. Then, choose to accept that, and be willing to build upon it. Know that no matter what anyone else does, no one can do exactly what you do in the way you do it.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I perform regularly throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Currently, my favorite spaces to perform at our Hotel Cafe, Hey Hey, and within the intimacy of house shows/parties. Come see me at a show! I love the medium of live music because of how close it brings artists and listeners together. I post about my shows regularly on my social media.

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram as @markpicomusic and as @kingliimusic to stay up to date with shows and music I’m releasing. You can also support me by listening or buying my music online. Kinglii’s album can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/album/6CLG5dt9dorgrxAPpJpcV8, and my first single can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/markpico/stay-a-friend.
Thanks!

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Image Credit:
Josephine Jael Jimenez, Shawn Halim, Derek Rasco

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