"It''s my favorite song about a kleptomaniac girlfriend... Aquaman... a plastic bag, I hope it''s yours." That is New York based singer/songwriter Mark Aaron James introducing a few of his quirky takes on universal themes. It was this take that lead Borders News to label his songs, "Some of the best and most introspective pop music we¹ve heard in years."
Born in California and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Mark Aaron James seemed an unlikely candidate for the Nashville songwriting scene. With a strong pop-rock-alternative background in tow, however, he enrolled in Music City''s reputable Vanderbilt University. He soon became a popular fixture among the campus "porch party" circuit that years earlier had supported the Indigo Girls, Ben Folds and Hootie and the Blowfish. Mark soon brought that following into the local songwriter venues where the famous "in the rounds" gave him a new challenge. His reputation had lead to bigger venues and sharing the stage with some of Nashville''s hit writers. He came to realize, "If you don''t have a song as good as the writer before and after you, then you''re just filler. It really provoked me to focus on craft, along with inspiration, to write better, more innovative songs." The inventive results lead to co-writes with some of Nashville''s top songsmiths and his compositions being performed by everyone from Jimmy Buffet to the World Peace Choir.
The year following his critically acclaimed indi release, Mr. Wirehead, Mark was awarded Best Local Songwriter and Best Up and Coming Band in the The Nashville Scene''s 2000 reader''s poll. In the weekly mag, owned by NYC''s Village Voice, Mark beat out John Hyatt, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and several other Nashville luminaries for the award. With the release of his second indi-label CD, Adventures With A Plastic Bag, he repeated the feat in 2001. The title song from that CD went on to make the top 100 songs of the year on Nashville''s WRLT Lightening 100, gained airplay on Atlanta''s 99X and was added to 126 other CMJ reporting stations, charting in 12 markets.
Despite his success in Nashville, Mark was regularly being reminded that he was a rock singer in a town known for country music. After playing some well received shows in New York''s Living Room and being featured on PBS''s CD Highway and I-Dig''s Rawdio programs, Mark decided it was time to make New York City his home base.
Since his move in 2001 he has headlined in venues as varied as the new Living Room, The Bitter End, The Parkside Lounge and the Westbeth Theater. New York''s Underground Music Organization (UMO) voted him one of the "Top 14 Singer/songwriters in Greenwich Village," and feature him as the opening track on their annual top 14 CD. His song "June 17th" was recently featured in the critically acclaimed film, Lost. Mark is beginning 2008 with a year based in the UK, touring throughout Europe.
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