We sat down with the New York based artist to discuss his latest release, “Company,” the optimistic song that a post-pandemic world needs.
Drinking an iced latte from a mason jar with a metal straw, Mark Ambor joined MUD’s virtual interview from his basement studio. He was immediately chatty, and very at ease — you almost wouldn’t know that the 23-year-old has 200,000 followers on TikTok, or over a million plays on Spotify, where he has only released four songs.
He excitedly described the vision for his music, which he wants to match the vibe of being “At the best music festival you can think of with your best friends jumping up and down, it’s a beautiful day, everyone’s singing these songs together of your favorite artist that are just bangers of songs. It’s the greatest time.”
Mark, who emphasized his appreciation for his friends and people around him, explained that with his music he wants to create a space where “You feel like you’re not alone, you’re part of something bigger. And truthfully that’s what I love, and I wanted this music that’s coming out in the next few months to feel this way.”
According to Mark, “Company,” which debuted on November 2nd, is probably the most direct in terms of describing that vision.
He smiled as he spoke, even when explaining to MUD that he was quarantined at home because of exposure to COVID-19. His quarantine was ironically timed to overlap the release of his new song, which Mark says came from a place of frustration during the height of the pandemic in January 2021.
“It was January and I hadn’t seen my friends for a while because no vaccinations were out,” Mark told MUD. “I’m an optimistic person for the most part and I wanted that to show through the music I was making.”
You can feel the optimism come through the synth-pop beats of “Company” as he sings, “Alone it feels strange, life is better with some company.”
This new single followed Mark’s usual songwriting process. He starts with a riff, turns it into a melody, and formulates the rest of the song around a word or phrase that comes naturally. “Before I know it, I have a song of what I’m truly thinking,” he says, adding that it’s like his subconscious is bringing his honest feelings into the lyrics. In the case of “Company,” Mark went for a walk and had his headphones in with a riff on loop, and was just listening to it over and over. To him, the song was born during that moment.
Beyond the specific feelings of frustration and loneliness that brought “Company” to life, Mark talked a bit about how he typically approaches his lyrics.
“Something I’m kind of proud of is that I try to make songs that are ambiguous enough that could seem like they’re about love, but are more personal to me," Mark said.
In a way, each song can be interpreted to whatever degree the listener needs, offering everyone their own individualized experience. Using the example of his song “The Long Way,” he elaborated that it is “about my journey over the past year, my insecurities of it, the magic of it — everything that’s good takes a long time to get. But you know it could also be about a relationship with someone.”
As Mark talked about his music, he frequently looked off into a distant future — one he is prepared to embrace. He plans for many more songs to debut in the next few months with a few ready to be recorded, and a potential project that will be ready in early spring or late winter of 2022.
When I asked about any piece of advice he would give to new artists, Mark explained that it can feel like it’s all a bet on yourself. Over the last year, and especially during the height of the pandemic, he learned the importance of showing up for yourself, explaining that the hype-man you need the most, is you.
Mark also mentioned the importance of staying true to yourself. If he has been successful at anything it’s maintaining this piece of his own advice. He has clippings on the walls of his school newspaper from when he was an undergrad at Fairfield University — the first pieces of writing about his music. On the walls and other surfaces of his studio, he keeps other small memorabilia, some from family, and some from friends.
“All these small things that just remind me of who I am and where I came from are all around this room where I make music.”
As we finished up our interview I couldn't help noticing the lavender shirt and soothing purple lights framing Mark. He creates and radiates an atmosphere of ease, and just like his music, creating a safe space enjoyable for everyone.
In a post-pandemic world, where we’re desperate to connect with other people, Mark Ambor’s appreciation for the little things, and his love for his friends and family, make him a lovable artist. But his upbeat approach to the complex feelings of loneliness in “Company” is something that will keep audiences coming back for more.