Kevin Mark Trail Q&A
The soulful vocal tones of UK singer, songwriter, producer, and musical chameleon Kevin Mark Trail feature on the socially-conscious single For The Mighty Dollar – the second issue from the forthcoming Sola Rosa album Chasing The Sun. A long-time Sola Rosa collaborator, we caught up with Kevin from his London base to learn more about the single, musical background, influences, relationships, and his post-COVID future!
Kevin Mark Trail, what got you into music?
I grew up Ska, Reggae, Lovers Rock, Soul, Dance, R&B, Hip Hop, Country and travelled to Jamaica a lot, one of the true homes of love for a pop ballad. Jamaicans are very eclectic in their music taste. We love a good melody, and music that makes you dance, but is also political. Being mainly raised in London also gave me a taste of musical references from different cultures. So first and foremost I believe it would be my family’s record selection!
I think it’s best to highlight significant musical junctures in my life, re “what got me into music”
- Being noticed for my voice by Ms Jones in preschool – she said I had the voice of an angel!
- Street dance parties in Jamaica – Nelson Rd, Maxfield Ave, and Harbour View
- The Michael Jackson Bad tour live at Wembley Stadium
- My Mum’s old record collection, Bob Marley’s “Kaya” was a significant record for me
- My school teacher, John Mullon, who helped me start seriously writing, producing, and performing, who is actually a Kiwi
- Writing from an early age, I just found it was a way I could deal with what I was going through
- Singers Rachel Bennet, Julie Dexter, and Kevin Leo, all took me under their wing at WAC arts, a performing arts weekend programme
How did you get to where you are now as an artist?
Hard work and good relationships, and being easy to work with, being humble, and always wanting to grow and learn.
What are your musical influences and how have they shaped who you are now as an artist?
Everything I hear; music, a bird singing, the ocean, my whole life. Living in this body.
You and Andrew clearly enjoy collaborating together. Why do you think that is?
When I work with people, my main aim is to understand where they are coming from, and to learn their musical language, and what they are trying to say. We come from different backgrounds and have lived different lives, but I think musically, we sail in the same boat. I think he understands that I have to write with the truth. I respect his truth, and I think he respects mine. If he is not feeling something, he makes it clear, and so do I with no ego, we are in service of the track.
I think creatively we’re both unafraid to take risks, and we both want to create something new, but honest. It may sound contrived, but for me, I have to love whatever I create first, I have to be able to walk in it, I think in that respect we are the same. For some music is just music, for me, it has to capture and relay a picture, move my spirit. I have to believe in it, and I believe in what he creates. I think the feeling is mutual.
You’ve toured and performed with Sola Rosa at some renowned UK festivals such as Green Man, Secret Garden Party, and Shambala. What were the highlights of those tours?
All of them. I’m very proud of the vibe we create, and every show has been a moment for me. It’s been beautiful to share and connect with people live, with what was first created as a thought, it’s really a blessing, no matter how big or small the crowd. The name of the festival does not matter, it’s all about our connection, and the connection with the people, that’s the magic, being in service.
You’ve spent a fair amount of time in New Zealand, what led you here and what keeps you coming back?
New Zealand is my home. I sang about it before I went there. For me, it is a land of dreams; the people, culture, and land – it’s a place that keeps teaching me lessons in all areas of my life. You never leave your home or your family, it walks with you. It’s a place that makes sense to my spirit, I can’t put it into words.
What are the lyrics for FTMD about?
Listen to the song. I want people to tell me what it’s about. What I will say is it’s global. I feel we need to change how we live. I don’t have the answers, but we need to take care of each other, and the garden we are blessed to live in. We are the caretakers, we have forgotten the land. I long for a simpler life, with a simpler understanding, lesson separation, more understanding, we are all different and it’s ok. Are we not all brothers and sisters? Do we not all share the Earth? Do we not all make mistakes? I continue to question our value systems as humans. I’m bored with politics, I’m bored with capitalism. I’m in love with different stories, cultures, and the wonder of nature. There is so much to learn.
How has the COVID pandemic impacted your career?
COVID? I really don’t know what it is. I will tell you in 20 years’ time. It’s made me write, it’s made me think, it’s made me love, it’s brought joy and sadness, clarity and confusion, acceptance and joy, which will all affect my being, and my career. Yes, shows, travel plans, friends, and family have all been affected. The reality is, no life, no career. I’m alive so I give thanks – and I’m in a good space. I say Cor-ro-no thanks mate!
What projects do you have on the horizon?
Like the Horizon, it’s endless, which sounds vague, but if I listed all the things I’m involved in developing, I’d be writing a future I have no idea about, especially in the face of what’s happening in the world right now. I’m creating solo material, talking about collaboration with different people, teaching, filming, taking photos, and living.
If people really wanna know they should add me on socials, or type my name into the internet every once in a while. Buy stuff, come to shows, send me a message, and support Sola Rosa. Be happy! 😁