Mark Wilkinson has released his new video for the track titled ‘Grafton St’ from his upcoming EP “Mariposa” dropping December 9th.
As heartfelt as it is heartwarming, ‘Grafton St’ delivers a small and humbling taste of what is to come December 9th. That feeling of warmth in the notes and solitude in the lyrics brings what 2022 has sorely lacked: inclusiveness.
That feeling of being welcomed into a part of something. In this case, the music of an artist who knows how to communicate with his audience. Done with an open hand and an exposed heart, we feel the pain we have embraced with the love we need. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light needs a soundtrack. We are uplifted a litter closer to happiness. This is what this music means to me.
Intimacy reinforces connection. Akin to trapping a butterfly, Mark Wilkinson bottles the most intimate moments of his life within the quiet space between delicate piano, soft strings, gentle guitar, and eloquent lyricism. In his songs, the Sydney-based singer and songwriter allows listeners to get as close as possible to him— almost as if he’s speaking directly to them through his dynamic delivery and soulful timbre. He shares relatable stories of change, life, and love. After tallying tens of millions of streams and building an international fan base, he gets closer than ever on his 2022 debut EP for Nettwerk Music Group, Mariposa.
“I’m just a normal guy who has a passion for songwriting,” he smiles. “I love the way it brings out a huge amount of emotion and can unite people. It taps into something that’s normally hard to reach. Like everybody else, I’m simply a regular person who connects through music.”
Playing piano and cello as a kid, Mark picked up a guitar in college and never put it down. He busked on three different continents and unveiled music of his own at a prolific pace. Following his 2011 full-length debut Truth Came Running, he gained international momentum with independent LPs such as Let The River Run , Hand Picked, Vol. 2 , Wasted Hours , and Blue Eyed Girls  to name a few. Christened SiriusXM’s “Discovery of the Year” upon his U.S. introduction in 2013, he has also impressively moved over 80,000 units and counting in addition to scaling the Australian Independent Charts at #1.
Meanwhile, he lit up streaming platforms with the likes of “I’m On Fire” [Conki Remix], generating north of 23.5 million Spotify streams. Of his gigs, Huffington Post noted, “The buzz around Wilkinson’s live performances has been growing (he continues to sell out shows across Australia and throughout Europe, all without formal marketing support or promotional campaigns).”
Over the past few years, he assembled what would become Mariposa with producer Peter Holz [Gang of Youths, Peking Duk, Vance Joy] behind the board and mixing courtesy of Logan Matheny [Sam Hunt, Judah & The Lion]. He filtered a series of major life changes and big questions into the songwriting.
“Going through the Pandemic made me question how sustainable music would be,” he admits. “I thought, ‘How would I adapt?’ My wife and I had a child in August 2021. The moment was huge for us. I was going into new territory as a father and wondering how to marry fatherhood with my career. On the EP, I’m pondering, ‘Am I going to be able to give life to both of these things?’”
He definitely does though. The opener and first single “Belong” pairs his evocative vocals with sparse piano and terse strings. The words echo in a conversational flow as he declares, “My home’s here, my joy and my tears, don’t tell me that I don’t belong here.”
“It came to life during the Pandemic,” he recalls. “It’s the process of losing your sense of identity and having to move on from something you love. Personally, I was thinking of how I feel about music. You’re facing the prospect of losing something and really fighting for it.”
With “Paradise,” Mark finds a delicate balance between “chasing the ideal” and appreciating what you have. Soft acoustics provide a warm bed for his pure vocal croon on this emotive slow burner. “Happiness and satisfaction can be illusive, and I wanted this track to reflect that sense of mystery and feeling that something is close but just out of reach.”
Then, there’s the upbeat “Grafton St” where a glitchy beat bounces punctuated by acoustic guitar. It nods to his days busking on Grafton Street in Dublin, capturing the locale’s hustle and bustle in the production.
“It’s about young love,” he smiles. “It’s also about the prospect of what happens afterwards. Is it just a moment in time or more?”
Tremors of feeling reverberate through “Earthquake,” which details “the excitement of becoming a father for the first time and recognizing all of this responsibility you now have for another person.”
The title track “Mariposa” parallels the true story of revolutionaries who carried messages to Cuban freedom fighters hidden in Mariposa flowers. Reaching an emotional apex, he spiritedly proclaims, “I will not live my life through someone else’s eyes, I am no puppet to a carnival of lies.”
“I took a trip to Cuba in 2016,” he says. “I learned what the white Mariposa symbolized during the Cuban liberation. Something so intricate, delicate, and beautiful was a weapon for resistance. The song is about resilience, resistance, and strength. Those themes run through the EP.”
In the end, Mark connects like never before with Mariposa.
“When you listen to these tracks, I’d love it if the EP taps into something meaningful in your life,” he leaves off. “I’m showing everyone what I go through, and I’d love it if the music connects and affects you positively.”
Featured image by Marclay Heriot.
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