Steve Holley Speaks With Irish Artist Mark Caplice About His Music, Working With The Recording Academy On ‘Re-Imagined At Home’, And What’s Coming Next

Mark Caplice is a multi award winning songwriter, producer and artist from County Wicklow in Ireland who first came to my attention when I heard the amazing work he did on Megan O’Neill’s stunning rendition of the Jim Croce classic ‘Time in a Bottle’. This was evidently just the tip of the iceberg of this man’s talent and this fact was amplified by last year’s partnership with the Recording Academy of the United States, that would be The Grammys to most people, who commissioned Mark to be part of a brand new series called ‘Reimagined At Home’; a series that strives to combine legacy and modernity by selecting outstanding contemporary artists who would share how they were influenced by Grammy winners of the past. Mark chose Fleetwood Mac’s timeless classic ‘The Chain’, a brave choice as it had already been successfully brought to a modern audience by Harry Styles but one that would also allow Mark to showcase his own ability to make a song his own against a backdrop of legacy and modernity; exactly the brief of the project. I would recommend that you join the more than 2.5 million people that have shared his version of the 1998 nominated song and loved the video.

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As a songwriter himself, Mark has been quoted as saying that,

“It’s the honour of a lifetime to work with the Academy as I’ve always seen them as being a guiding light for the craft of songwriting. I have studied Grammy-winning songs for many years and to be recognised and trusted by the Academy to recreate one of their classics is something i’ll never forget”.

Mark’s version of the song was hailed by the Academy as a version with “extra weight and emotional power” due to his stunning vocal and they also paid tribute to the haunting piano line.

For me, the combination of Mark’s piano playing, a vocal with real honesty and a brass section that provide such a powerful melancholy backdrop to Mark’s powerful voice as it soars effortlessly through to it’s reflective and emotional climax make this version of such a well known song a real standout moment in the project and one that brings something new to the original; a real feat with a song of this quality and renown.

It was a thrill to get to pose a few questions to Mark about music and what the future holds. For me, as a writer, it’s so important that we get behind our artists as only our support will save us from a world of AI and protect that thing which is so special…..the soundtrack of our life, and we all deserve a great soundtrack.

EP: You are without doubt a music maker of real quality and this could not be better illustrated by the deserved respect the Recording Academy clearly hold you in. In a world where someone can become a star from their bedroom via TikTok, does that make you happy that there is opportunity for everyone or is it frustrating that hard work, quality and critical acclaim does not always add up to commercial success?

MC: That’s a very good question. I think opportunity for everyone is a very very positive thing but I also think it’s a double edged sword. If someone goes into school and skips from 1st class to 6th class chances are they’re going to miss some important information. Similarly, in music, if you don’t practice your stage craft through numerous gigs both good and bad, chances are you are going to struggle when the heat comes on and there is an issue on stage. Having the knowledge and language to communicate an issue is imperative.

Learning how to work with a crowd is equally as important. Singing songs is one thing, performing them is another, and understanding how and when to communicate is so important. This is the same across the board when it comes to writing songs, playing your instrument, dealing with people, negotiating etc. Many bedroom stars fall heavily from their heights because they haven’t got the experience or the type of love that is grown over years of little wins, getting through heartbreaks and just beating on your craft.

EP: Which leads me on to….How do you judge success in the music industry nowadays when a song can sit in the charts for months because of repeated plays? Does that make modern charts a bit stale?

MC: It’s hard to pin success to one metric because it’s different for everyone, and it probably changes with whatever the targets of the campaign are. Success could be radio play, it could be high streaming numbers, it could even be landing that one playlist you’ve always wanted so success is ever moving and quite subjective. I think you’re best off finding the targets you wish to attain both big and small, then you’ll find those wins along the way.

EP: With a couple of outstanding singles releases recently, what can we expect from your album and when will it be released?

MC: Thank you for the kind words x. I want my album to feel like it’s a sonic representation of who I am and how I see the world. There is a lot of positivity and enthusiasm In there but there’s a lot more to me than that. I think and feel deeply about a lot of things so I am giving myself time to actualise those themes and thoughts into a body of work that I can stand by. My new EP, ‘Brighter Side of Sorrow’, is a good step in that direction I feel. I blend studio and live tracks in the EP, and I learned so much by even doing that. I love the energy of live performance. It’s wild and a little lose around the edges like myself so I can see the final product being an amalgamation of a number of things. I hope to create something interesting where the songs are strokes of paint that feed into, and emphasise the greater message of the album as a whole.

EP: We are both fans of your friend and fellow Irish artist Megan O’ Neill. Can we expect more musical collaboration from you as ‘Time in a Bottle’ was so good?

MC: Haha, thanks so much. Ah Megan, what a beautiful soul. Without giving too much away we may have one or two tricks up our sleeve for the coming months haha.

EP: Finally, and returning to the Recording Academy, was it difficult choosin g’The Chain’ as your cover with so many great Grammy winners to choose from? Did it make you nervous that there were many different covers already out there?

MC: Actually it didn’t take me much time to settle on ‘The Chain’ at all because that’s always been a family favourite. I tried it on the piano one Christmas and I remember thinking it hits so differently on keys and feels quite unique. There weren’t many nerves because I’ve hadn’t heard a cover done with that approach before. I just had to step over my imposter syndrome and go with it but I’m really glad I did. I love how it all came together and I’m super thankful to everyone that helped pull it all together.

EP: Thank you Mark, I think you created something wonderful. it’s been a pleasure and an honour to ask you a few questions. Thank you for the music and good luck for 2023!

Find out more about Mark Caplice and his music online on his Instagram, and Facebook.

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