We caught up with songwriter, musician and producer Mar!k after the release of his powerful track, George Floyd’s Song
One year on from George Floyd’s death, BIMM student and songwriter, Mar!k released a song he penned in response to the brutal murder titled George Floyd’s Song. Powerful, slow-burning and atmospheric, Mar!k asserts, “If you look like me you’re oppressed,” before echoing George’s final words as police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes: “I can’t breathe, can’t breathe, can’t breathe, somebody help me!”
Released to mark the one-year anniversary of George’s death, Mar!k actually wrote the song last year just after the murder and says: “I made this track as a response to the racism I see every day around me. He wasn’t the first unarmed black man to be killed by a police officer in broad daylight, but George Floyd’s death was a catalyst for change at a time when the world was finally able to watch and listen.”
He adds: “Whether it’s on TV, online on social media or in the outside world, racism is a problem that needs to be addressed in America as well as the UK. I’m not an activist or a freedom fighter. I’m just a 19-year-old teenager who doesn’t want to grow up in a world where the colour of my skin is a defining factor of someone’s initial perception.” Of Chauvin’s conviction, Mar!k says: “It’s like one step up a 200-storey building with no lift. It’s a start, but there’s a long way to go.”
Mar!k also delivered a powerful speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in Leicester highlighting the disparities of racism in the UK. The response to his speech was instant and members of the audience were so inspired they requested a recording of it which he has made available in the second half of his two-part release, simply named George.
Musical from an early age, Mar!k learned his craft at church events, school performances and song writing camps. While song writing is his strength he also plays guitar and bass. Later forming a rap collective, he studied music production, threw himself into freestyling and beat-making, and explored other genres, including reggae, gospel, soca.
Mar!k’s musical influences are an eclectic bunch ranging from UB40 to Black Sabbath. He says: “I’m a bit all over the place! I Like to keep it broad. My mum’s into R&B so there’s that too.” Now a first year student at music college BIMM, Mar!k can’t wait to get back into face-to-face classes and collaborate with fellow students. He says: “Due to the pandemic, there are people on my course that I’ve never actually met. I just know them via a screen through their Zoom name.”
Mar!k has missed performing live this year and says: “I’ve done a few live streams, but it’s not the same. I can’t wait to do more shows and festivals.” In terms of ambitions Mar!k isn’t holding back: “As well as performing on huge stages and selling out festivals I’d like to be at the Grammys, winning awards for songs I’ve written not necessarily performed. That would be very cool.”