“I write songs that speak of the human condition, the language of emotion and spirituality is eternal in all art forms, especially music”.
MARK LILLY (IFEOLUWA)
Mark Lilly's (aka Ifeoluwa) first love is creating original songs and lyrics. He is one of those singer-songwriters that come along in a great while.
He has the ability to balance the scales between complexity and simplicity. Trying to go unnoticed in a bustling coffee house in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district the statuesque performer strikes more than an arresting image to curious patrons. In 2008, Mark was spotted by talent scout Tom Killorin of Play Network. After hearing Mark sing, Mr. Killorin was impressed enough to offer Mr. Lilly the opening spot at an event featuring Grammy winning artists Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbell. "Mr. Killorin summed up my artistic passion when he said (This is your love and you would do it for free..but you'd like to get paid).
Lilly’s intimate songwriting style and subtle arrangements combined with his intense yet broad vocal range make him a natural for singer/songwriter and adult progressive audiences. “With the right producer he’s and international artists just waiting to happen”, says Tom Mehren of Sounds of Seattle”.
Mark is also a student of traditional arts. His passion for the root of invention has propelled him to study singing in Yoruba, Ki Kongo, Spanish and English. Mark honed his singing skills in the church but not the readily familiar setting of pews and pulpits that immediately come to mind. “I learned to really develop singing energy in ceremonies for the Orisa. No microphones; just drummers and classical religious songs and incantations that are used to evoke healing. It is the equivalent of singing so that people can catch the “Holy Ghost”. An arousing gospel congregation and an Orisa ceremony are fundamentally the same thing. Unfortunately most often both disciplines of organized religion mutually condemn each other”.
Most recently Mark began his study of Jazz vocals. He has not surprisingly chosen the elegant artistry of American jazz to express himself. Mr. Lilly points out the similar use of silent space that graces a beautiful jazz ballad and a slow melodic invocation in Yoruba. “In jazz ballads and Yoruba Orin, the most attractive singers choose their notes carefully, attempting to bring new life to typically recognizable compositions”.
Mr. Lilly may seem to be a “Jack of all trades”, but there is one element that runs consistently through his artistic expression. No matter what style of music Mark performs, his dedication and artistry exude an air of authenticity that is attractive to all.