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Internet reset for Mark Clennon - Older songs removed for music career relaunch

Published:Tuesday | August 23, 2016 | 8:00 AMKimberley Small
Mark Clennon

Mark Clennon, a 26-year-old Jamaica-born singer based in Toronto, Canada, says, "My goal as an artiste is to create something that hasn't been heard before or to take something and make it my own."

With just two songs - Blood and Don't Die - uploaded to his SoundCloud profile, it would appear that Clennon is fresh on the scene - and in some ways, he is.

He recently signed with Moonshine Records, a small independent label in Montreal, Canada.

"When you get signed, they [want to] start from scratch," he said. "This is [sort of] new to me," the singer confessed to The Gleaner.

Though music has been part of his life for almost a decade, Clennon considers himself very new to the industry, saying that dealing with "labels and stuff" is a whole different ball game.

Clennon has already released two EPs, which he combined into a third project, which would have been his debut album. However, all of Clennon's previous material has been deleted from the Internet at the behest of his management. Since signing with Moonshine Records, Clennon and his team have decided to relaunch his career, starting with a clean slate.

"It would appear like I only have two songs, but this is actually my third project," Clennon told The Gleaner.

 

NO MUSIC VIDEOS

 

Despite the music industry placing great importance on image, Clennon and his team prefer to have the music itself serve as an introduction to the new artiste.

"No music video," he said. "Music videos can shape how people look at you."

Clennon's aural approach to his release is strategic as the label is using this reintroductory project as the primary instrument to gauge audience response and determine the next step in advancing his career.

It appears that the strategy by Clennon's management may be paying off. The singer made his debut performance alongside another Canadian musical outfit called Abakos. This came two days before the release of his four-track EP When the Smoke Clears. It was premiered exclusively by Mass Appeal, an American music magazine based in New York, last Friday.

Clennon has been surrounded by music for years. His father is a saxophonist from Trench Town, who now plays only at small events by invitation, and his older brother, now an architect in New York, was once a music producer who worked with dancehall act Mr Vegas, among others.

Clennon's music education started at an early age. He began piano lessons at seven years old and started writing songs at age 13.

"The question is: When did I decide to take it seriously?" he remarked in good humour.

Clennon has been working on establishing a music career for the past three years.

Referring to his family's penchant for music, Kate Kelly, writing for PigeonsandPlanes.com, said, "While this environment helped Clennon transition into his own music career, it didn't help define his sound."

 

FINDING MIDDLE GROUND

 

The popular hip hop and independent music blog site premiered Don't Die, claiming that the singer finds the middle ground between drama and accessibility with original production that "never veers into the overly cinematic. The melodies, carried by Clennon's vocals, have mainstream tendencies, but still pack an edge", wrote Kelly of Clennon's singles.

Although his music has no dancehall and reggae elements, Clennon said he has a deep connection with Jamaica and plans to have this reflected in future projects.

"My approach to dancehall and reggae is so different than the pop version," he says, citing recent chart-toppers Work by Rihanna and One Dance by Drake.

"I'm as Jamaican as they come," Clennon said, noting that he has visited the island numerous times since migrating eight years ago.

"I would love my culture to come out a lot more," he said, adding, that there was a lot of work being done for a reggae remix to Don't Die.

"We're actually starting work now on the next project," he said. "The goal is to work on a follow-up project with more substance to it." And, hopefully, some more island influence.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com