Welcome our new column, “Strathmore Chats”! Throughout the year YAA students and alumni will get the chance to interview professional artists performing at Strathmore and we’ll publish it here for you to read.
Our first entry is by Sam Nasar, a recent alumnus of our YAACompany. He interviewed jazz musician, composer and vocalist, Mark G. Meadows, a recent Strathmore Artist-in-Residence. Sam and Mark performed on stage together this past fall for Strathmore Founder, Eliot Pfanstiehl’s Farewell Celebration.
Read their chat:
Sam: Who is your favorite jazz artist of all time and why?
Mark: Herbie Hancock and/or Quincy Jones - they always stay current, even to this day, all the while upholding their jazz foundation.
Sam: Why should young people have a love for jazz?
Mark: Because it always goes hand in hand with the social climate. If the world is protesting, jazz is protesting. If the world is cool, jazz is cool... jazz reflects the times.
Sam: What’s your favorite gig that you’ve played?
Mark: Wow! That's tough. Probably a gig I did with Rochelle Rice at All Soul's Church the day after Eric Garner was murdered by a police officer. We played "Wholly Earth" by Abbey Lincoln during a church service, and the energy in the performance was reflective of our sentiments. It was unearthly.
Sam: When did you start writing your own music?
Mark: When I was 13, my first song was "In the Groove". ;) Haven't played it in a long time! :(
Sam: What makes you also enjoy teaching so much?
Mark: It's my way of giving back. I didn't have an "easy road" learning this music, so I love shedding light on others to help them with their process. I think I'm a good teacher not because I am great, but because I have learned from my mistakes, and have a good way of explaining what I did and didn't do that will ultimately help my students.