We’re shaking things up a little bit for artist of the week, because our artist of the week isn’t a creative illustrator or a painter. Rather, Marksman Lloyd uses lyrics and music to paint a picture. Teensoul writer Madeleine Ang caught up with Marksman Lloyd to have a chat about hip-hop, Perth and musical inspirations.
In the segregated corner, which is Perth, Marksman Lloyd is a beam of hope for struggling young musicians, proving that it is possible to achieve your dreams and make it in the music world. Most of us can agree that we have imagined being a performer at one point or another and I am no exception. With Perth being the most isolated city in the world and music being one of the most competitive industry to partake in, this childhood dream quickly began to turn into an unrealistic fantasy. A profession in music seemed to be virtually impossible to pursue within a city that appears so restricting. When I heard of Mark, I was genuinely intrigued and impressed that he had created a successful career in hip-hop within the restraints of Perth. He is a testament to the quote; “if you can dream it, you can do it.” After interviewing him it was very clear to me that his passion, hard work and undeniable talent has been what has resulted in his inspiring career and exceptional music.
TEENSOUL: How long have you been practicing hip hop and what influenced you to start?
MARKSMAN LLOYD: I’ve been writing raps since I was 14 but i would say I started actually making music at 18. Tupac was the first artist I got really into when I was 12. I’d always loved poetry and writing and hearing the way he expressed his struggle so passionately and potently had me hooked. All my first raps were gangsta because I wanted to be like him. Didn’t go over too well though. Picture a skinny – never struggled in his life – kid from Perth rapping about pulling drive by’s… so bad haha.
TEENSOUL: Has anyone in particular inspired your music and style?
MARKSMAN: I would say ‘the aforementioned‘ definitely taught me about delivery and believing what you say. Artists like Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman taught me how to be a story teller. Then some of the artists that were really popping off in the early millennium like Slug from Atmosphere and Brother Ali. They really taught me how to be honest and real with what I was saying. These days I’m feeling dudes like Chance the rapper, J Cole and Macklemore.
TEENSOUL: If you could collaborate with any other artist or producer, who would it be and why?
MARKSMAN: I would love to make a song with maybe Flume on the beat, Bon Iver on the vocals and a guest verse from Tom Scott. Flume makes music I connect to. We did of a cover of his recent track ‘Never be like you’ that’s on my Facebook page. Holocene by Bon Iver is close to my favourite song of all time. His voice just carried so much emotion in it and Tom Scott is, in my opinion, one of the top 5 emcees on the planet at the moment. Incredible writer all round.
TEENSOUL: What do you enjoy most about making music?
MARKSMAN: I love making songs that as a form of therapy/ expression. I’m introverted by nature so being able to write to express what I’m going through is really important to me. I love having someone tell me that something I’ve written resonated with them. I had a girl living in Malaysia message me today and say she was listening to ‘You won’t be the one’ with goosebumps. I love that music has the ability to make someone connect to something so deeply and really I just want to make art that can do that.
TEENSOUL: What sort of messages does your music convey?
MARKSMAN: I think hope is a big theme for me. Honesty… That’s crucial for me. i’m not one of those rappers that just writes punch lines and battle raps because I get bored of it. my favourite music is the type I can listen to and feel like the artist has gone to the deepest part of themselves and laid it bare so that’s the kind of music I want to make.
TEENSOUL: Would you say that being a musician in Perth presents limitations?
MARKSMAN: Definitely. I would say the hardest thing is to garner ongoing exposure. Lot’s of artists in this city can drop really cool projects and it feels like maybe because of our isolation it can bubble in the city and then not really get legs beyond that. In saying that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I think a big part of being an artist is showcasing how the place you were raised in made you who you are and because of that I’ll rep Perth forever. We have some incredible talent in our little corner of the globe.
TEENSOUL: What would you say has been the high point of your career?
MARKSMAN: A song I wrote called big girls. I think that song has done the most good out of anything I’ve written. The people I’ve had message me and say that song got them through a hard time is everything to me and that’s more important than any big show or cool opportunity that I could talk about to answer this question.
TEENSOUL: What makes you different from other hip hop artists?
MARKSMAN: Going back to honesty, I would say if I’m being real about what I’m saying then that’s my point of difference. There’s this quote from C.S Lewis “If you just tell the truth and don’t care two pence about being original then originality will usually come”, actually I’m paraphrasing a bit but you get the point. I’m never forcibly trying to have a point of difference. I just do me and hopefully people can feel that when they hear the music.
TEENSOUL: What should we expect from you in the future?
MARKSMAN: I’m working on the next project at the moment. It’s taking ages but I feel like we’re getting close to having something that I can drop within the next 6 months.
TEENSOUL: If you could give any young aspiring artists some advice what would it be?
MARKSMAN: Work really, really, really hard. Especially if you’re from Perth. There are so many people in your chosen field that are way more talented than you but hustle is the difference between success and nothingness. Don’t sit back and think it’ll happen one day. Ten years goes by in the blink of an eye and if you don’t get off your ass you’ll be in the same place. Don’t compare yourself to others. You are unique and can bring something that nobody except you can. As i said, there will always be someone more talented than you but they aren’t you and I feel like everyone has got something unique in them that they can positively influence the world with.
You can download Marksman Lloyd‘s new EP; ‘Rewrite the Ending’ on iTunes now.
Photocredits: Supplied via Marksman Lloyd.