Published on November 22nd, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Eclectic Songwriter and Beat Wizard MkX Releases Official Visuals for ‘right place, at the right time’
In his latest single, “right place, at the right time,” eclectic songwriter and beat wizard MkX experiments with a patchwork of influences that span surrealism, minimalism, urban poetry and introspective philosophy in what has the look and feel of a smash single if you’ve ever heard one before. “right place, at the right time” has all the hallmarks of an iconic pop song with literally none of the plasticized attributes that most of us have come to associate with the major label-produced mainstream in the late-2010s, and even if it doesn’t embody the same clubby mojo that some of MkX’s biggest releases have, it doesn’t have to – this is a composition with its own unique identity. It’s riddled with the kind of contradictions that would cause most critics to relegate it to the indie pop/rock category without thinking twice, but if we listen closely enough, the calculated nature of the song is rather beautiful and difficult to brand with such a basic terminology. MkX means business here, and he brought out the big guns in-studio to prove it.
Transforming the outlandish concepts inside his brain into fully realized productions using a laptop and microphone, multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer MkX is quickly emerging as a fresh, innovative pop trendsetter. Juxtaposing electronic, R&B, future bass and trap production with dynamic and infectious pop songwriting, the Boston based artist is building an intense buzz with the five singles he has dropped over the last two years.
MkX built momentum with his Pop/R&B debut track “The Look” and its haunting and dramatic follow-up “Ghost.” His following release “One Sided Love” scored big at pop radio, placing #37 on the Billboard-BDS Mainstream Top 40 Indicator chart and #2 on the Mediabase Top 40 Indie Label Report. His next drop “Highlights” was an artistic turning point for MkX, using grittier production textures and more experimental sound design. His discography has been played throughout retail stores nationwide with regular spins at H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Sephora, Gap, Old Navy, Best Buy, and many others. These in-store plays earned MkX the coveted #1 spot on the What’s In Store Music Currents chart with an average of over 61,000 spins per week nationwide. MkX releases to date have surpassed 2 million streams on Spotify collectively.
Aside from his solo project releases, MkX is also writing and producing for other artists. He co-wrote (with Kim Petras) and produced the track “Young & Wild” for K-Pop group TWICE, which appeared on their platinum selling EP “YES or YES”. The EP went #1 in South Korea and Japan.
“I want to write songs that reflect what I am going through and that everyone who listens has gone through at one point or another,” says MkX, who is currently studying electronic production and sound design at Berklee College of Music. “I’m really into creating records that have a unique level of detail and cleverness in the wordplay, but keep them a bit vague so that everyone can connect with them on a personal level. As a longtime pop super fan, I know how important it is as a listener to be able to connect with what the artist is saying.”
MkX’s music is the foundation and driving force of an overall self-branded vision that includes a unique and eye-catching fashion style he describes as “blending nostalgia with futurism.” “I love to incorporate elements of different decades into my work, whether its the overly-dramatic futurism of the 80s or the street/city infused energy of the 90s and 00s. I also love to incorporate my love for technology into my clothing and into the show. I created all of the video content that plays during the show. Each song that I write has a visual concept and aesthetic that goes hand in hand with the track. I digitally replicate this as a video backdrop to give the audience a glimpse of what goes on in my brain during my creative experience.”
Before emerging as a solo artist, MkX was on tour opening for Ariana Grande after hitting the road in the past with Christina Perri. A popular live performer since the age of 7, he laid the foundation for his current releases with over 300 shows nationwide, many as an opening act for Top 40 artists. The venues he has played include the Whisky A Go Go and The Roxy in West Hollywood, CMJ Music Festival, El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Times Square and Lincoln Center in New York City, and House of Blues and Hard Rock cafes nationwide. He was asked by the musical director of Britney Spears’ Vegas residency to apprentice under him, working on the digital audio during the show.
Some artists who have the sense that they’re born to make music can pinpoint a moment in their early childhood where their sensibilities first formed and their dream took hold. MkX prefers to tell people that he has been at it since he “popped out of the womb.” “My parents would always tell people that their child was possessed with music.” At age three, he remembers writing his first songs on a Fisher-Price tape recorder and toy beat machine. A few years later, he asked his parents for a guitar, which kickstarted his interest in piano, bass, and songwriting. While crediting his parents with being happily supportive of his passion and drive, he has also indebted to the formative influence of his favorite artists past and present, including Avril Lavigne (“a badass who spoke her truth with an edgy attitude”), Shakira (whose penchant for putting out multiple remixes of her hit singles “fascinated [him] from a production standpoint at age four”), and Lady GaGa, who “has such a fantastic creative eye and 360 concept for her artistic visions, which [he] thinks is such an important part of being a great artist.”
Growing up, MkX was fascinated with Top 40 radio ever since he was around 2 or 3. “I always had an ear and eye for what was ‘next’ and loved staying ahead of the trends in pop music. I love paying homage to 2000s pop songwriting and production because it’s not only what I grew up listening to, but it also taught me a lot about the craft of production and songwriting. I studied these songs inside and out, piecing together what worked, what didn’t work, what kinds of sounds go where…every aspect you could think of. One of the reasons I love writing pop music so much is that it’s an art form with almost a science to it. It’s a very dynamic balance of maintaining catchiness and following a certain form, while making sure it stays unique and stands out from what’s already been done.”
MkX has looked to music not only as his form of self expression, but also as a remedy and an inspiration to overcome obstacles. Having had success as a young performer while at the same time having to navigate through the judgement of being creatively bold and different, he went through a period where he felt his identity as an artist disappeared. Eventually drawing on the multitude of skills he cultivated as a kid while sticking to his creative instincts, he has developed a sound and style all his own that has resulted in his self re-branding as MkX.
“The ‘X’ in my name represents self-expression through art,” the singer adds. “I used to be very self-conscious of what people thought of me. It affected how I acted, wrote music, and lived my life. I decided to create a persona that embodied everything I wanted to be as a person. From auditory/visual art and fashion to attitude and confidence, I developed an identity that represented the best version of myself. After a lot of work and self-discovery, I eventually became the person that I wanted to be. I want people to use my music to bring out their inner confidence. I want my music to change the way people carry themselves. I want them to feel like a badass as they walk down the street with my song playing through their headphones. I want to make people the best them they can be with my art.”