Mark Feldman
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Mark Feldman

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"The Allure Of Being Alone"

Mark Feldman enjoyed being in a band. For awhile, anyway.

The Thornhill singer/songwriter has just completed his first solo recording through his own recording company, Stageright Productions. He said during the work on the new album, simply called Mark Feldman he learned a few things, including the fact that he doesn’t want to be in a band again.

The 24-year-old led Soul Tan, a five-piece band at the University of Western Ontario, where he also studied business. He enjoyed it but says after awhile that enjoyment level dropped.

"I get along with everyone but it turns out the guys in my former band were the only guys I didn’t get along with," he joked. "It’s like marrying four other guys. With a band, you may like the way the music sounds, but personality is a big part of that and if you can’t get along with the guys you’re playing with, that’s a problem."

His new CD, recorded in his home, sounds a little like Jon Mayer or James Taylor — straight-forward, guitar oriented rock, a style of music that didn’t seem to help him during the recent Canadian Idol tryouts, of which he took part in March. He finished in the top 100 Toronto-area acts.

"That was something that I knew was virtually impossible for me to win, I just don’t have the Idol voice," he said. "But I knew that if I saw it on television months later it would have upset me if I weren’t a part of it. And it was a great experience."

He registered his recording company’s name because when shopping his new CD around, it would look more professional to have a company backing it up. The tracks were recorded in his home studio, to cut down on the pressure of recording. It was in this way that he didn’t have someone there rushing him through the process or putting him under a microscope, analyzing everything that was performed.

In spite of the home studio, Feldman still prefers performing live whenever he can, and he’s had the practice. He’s been performing in front of crowds in the GTA for the past two years, and has a weekly staging at a local Firkin bar. He also performs monthly on the main stage of the Distillery District.

Signing on with a major record label is a goal, but he said it’s not about getting the first deal, rather, it’s about getting the best deal he can. Meanwhile he’ll keep doing his best with the material he’s writing, and in his performances, in spite of what others in today’s music industry seem to be doing.

"I heard a Beatles cover last week on the radio," he said. "The music was good, but the guy singing it seemed to be just going through the motions.

"That’s the feeling I get with music today, people are just going through the motions with what they do — they got their big break, perhaps undeservedly so in some cases, but that’s the industry these days.

"My goal is to work my ass off. You work from the bottom up, people call it a big break but I don’t think it will be a break, it will be earned and deserving."
- Town Crier

"Mark Feldman- CD Review"

Mark Feldman · Mark Feldman
(Independent - 2004)
Mark Feldman shares a couple qualities with John Mayer. The first is the easygoing acoustic rock he plays and the second is the non-threatening normality the guy exudes.

It’s maddening because, upon first listen, you want to hate this guy for the above mentioned traits – just like John Mayer. But you soon find yourself throwing this disc on again, even turning it up to better enjoy the gentle breezes and bouncy waves of his sense of rhythm. Turning it up lets you better enjoy lyrics like ‘Let go of your anger, place it in the angry bin’ from “Call Me on the Weekend.” Again, you wait to feel the bile rise, but it doesn’t. In fact, you find yourself quite delighted by Feldman.

“Hawaii at High Noon” is a great example. It’s just Feldman and his guitar (the dominant configuration for these songs), singing about taking off to different places – Hawaii, Algonquin, Alaska and Nashville. He’s got the gift for the turn of phrase and the memorable image. The song opens with Feldman’s invitation, ‘Let’s take a trip Hawaii maybe/kite across the dunes/sail around the silent summer moon.” Lovely.

Probably the weakest moment on the record is “Talkin’ Bob Dylan Blues,” though we learn Feldman is 23 years old (at the time of recording) from the song. The song is weak because it sounds just less mature, a kid’s ode to a Dylan that doesn’t exist and hasn’t for a long time. It’s cute but should be left to the live show.

Feldman picks up the thread again though with “Dance in the Garden of Eden.” It’s not some hippie’s hope of us all reaching some peaceful world, as the title suggests, but it is a story about a shy guy asking a strong woman to find the garden with him. But she “walked away.” An interesting and unexpected conclusion.

That’s really the key word here, unexpected. Mark Feldman brings you very close to neo-folk-rock-hippiness, but not all the way. He’s found a nice patch of grass to sit on, pick up his guitar and charm you, just like that damn John Mayer.
- Sean Flinn

- Umbrella Music

"Mark Feldman Too Cool for Canadial Idol"

Mark Feldman
Ever wonder where all those prospective Idol contestants – Canadian, American or otherwise – go when they're given the heave-ho by the judges and voting public? Some are given another 15 minutes of fame elsewhere (hello, William Hung?), others just go back to pre-Idol anonymity. While Thornhill's Mark Feldman passed through the Canadian Idol contestant ranks quicker than a cog on an assembly line, his cache of cool folk-pop originals will likely leave you asking why he even bothered with the whole damn Idol process to begin with. Besides, if you're gonna idolize anyone, better it be, say, Bob Dylan – as on this disc's centrepiece Talkin' Bob Dylan Blues – or twist a little Dylan with James Taylor or Jason Mraz. Leave Idol to the wannabes, Mark, and keep churning out more acoustic-based originals such as Your Side, Irie and Hawaii At High Noon to be assured of a credible music future.
Ian Nathanson/Metro Toronto
- Metronews

"Singer/songwriter gets national radio play"

Singer/songwriter gets national radio play

Arts Editor

Mark Feldman is making good use of his business degree – but not in the way you’d expect.

Feldman, 24, is taking everything he learned at the University of Western Ontario and applying it to marketing himself as a singer/songwriter.

“It’s no different than what I learned in school,” the Thornhill, Ont., resident says. He explains that a company might get 100 resumes for a job. Some are removed from the pile for spelling mistakes, others for their appearance, others for not meeting the criteria.

“In the end, this leaves them with maybe 10 per cent that they actually start looking at.”

Feldman uses this approach to attract the attention of important people in the music business, distributing his own CD and snappy press kit.

“Image is a big thing and then following up is a huge part of it,” he says.

I agree. He called me several times after he handed me his self-produced, self-titled CD before I agreed to interview him for this story.

And of course if self-confidence is a big marketing tool, Feldman has lots of that.

“I think I’m a very talented writer,” he says. “Recognition on a global scale is my ultimate goal. I know it’s hard to make it happen with one CD. I’d like to headline a major concert and be recognized – that is the plan.”

A successful marketing approach requires a sound business plan and Feldman has one prepared.

“I started off by talking to the media, and then I sent around 20 CDs to record labels to get some professional feedback.

“I’m sending off some of my songs to music publishers to see if they’ll pick up a couple of songs [and sell to other artists] and then finally I’ll send CDs to radio stations.”

Feldman’s business approach is paying off. One person at CBC Records loved the CD and asked for more CDs, so he can distribute them to CBC radio stations nationally for radio play. “They should be playing my songs nationally in a month or so. That’s very important.”

Feldman’s music is simple folk/pop, played mostly on an acoustic guitar. His press sheet says it’s a mixture of Bob Dylan, John Mayer (a 25-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter) and “a twist of James Taylor.”

Truthfully, it is some of that but a whole lot more. I found myself humming the melody to the first song, Bonita Bay, after just one listen.

“Developing your own style is essential and being unique sets my music apart,” Feldman says. “There are many bands out there that sound the same, but the few that sound different is what makes them special.”

Although he plays all the instruments on this CD and plays solo gigs, he would like to form a band and have a fuller sound. But he only wants to work with professional studio musicians who can listen to his songs once and add their creative touch to them. “Musical sophistication is absolutely key,” he says.

Feldman enjoys listening to groups such as the Beatles, The Band, Phish and Jack Johnson. Mostly, though, he’s got a soft spot for perennial folk crooner Dylan.

“My dad started playing Bob Dylan songs like Like a Rolling Stone when I was young; something just clicked and that was it for me.”

The longest song on Feldman’s CD is a tribute to his icon, Dylan, called Talkin’ Bob Dylan Blues. The song is structured like a classic Dylan story-within-a-song, on acoustic guitar and harmonica, and filled with Dylan references. The song tells of a dream that the narrator has about meeting a young Dylan and getting advice from him as they, “drank and laughed into the night, playing tunes and loving life.”

“I dreamt of Bob Dylan five or six times, very vivid dreams,” he admits. The night before he wrote the song, he dreamed he met a young Dylan, “but everything else is all a figment of my imagination.”

Feldman is convinced that his hard work and perseverance will pay off. “The key is to keep writing good music – it’s all about writing good music. Talent can only go undetected for so long. I have a lifetime of incredible songs in me.”

Feldman recently auditioned for Canadian Idol, and although he didn’t make the final cut, he gained a lot from that experience.

“I gave my CD to Jake Gold (one of the judges and former manager of the Tragically Hip) who really liked it. I met some good people who’ve come out and seen me play. Something like that always pays off either intrinsically or career wise.”

Feldman gigs three to four times a week, playing some of his own songs and a selection of favourite crowd pleasers. He’s performing every Sunday until Labour Day at Rocky Mountain High (125 York Blvd, Richmond Hill), from 5:30-9p.m.!

He also does private and corporate functions. For more information, visit his website,, or e-mail
- Canadian Jewish News


Mark Feldman- Self Titled- 12 original songs


Feeling a bit camera shy


The last couple of years have witnessed a resurgence in Folk rock that has swept through the musical mainstream like a barreling wave beneath a surfboard. No other time in recent history have music aficionados been so taken by simple story telling and gentle, yet catchy acoustic melodies.

Figuring prominently among up-and-coming troubadours in this field is Mark Feldman, a 25-year old singer/songwriter with the gift to turn a phrase and paint a musical picture like very few others. His lyrics avoid simple clichés and are flavoured instead by slices of life that come off with such an unthreatening normality that his music truly speaks to you.

Mark’s debut album received critical acclaim across the Canadian press, and his phenomenal live set further reiterated the credibility of this promising young artist. Drawing early comparisons to John Mayer and Jack Johnson, Feldman continues to craft compositions that are soothing, musical and unique. He is currently working on his sophomore album, scheduled to be released in late 2005. Feldman plans to tour the album relentlessly and is destined to continue turning heads as he maneuvers his way up the musical ranks.