Q: I like your singing in “In the Distance.” What are your influences?
LINDA MARKS: When I was a kid I listened to lots of kinds of music. I loved folk music, Calypso music, musical theatre, popular music. As I was growing up I was influenced by singer-songwriters like Carol King, James Taylor, and Karla Bonoff. I learned all the music Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote and Dionne Warwick sang. I loved ragtime music by Scott Joplin and learned lots of his songs. I just loved music, and started writing when I was very young…and have learned from everything I have listened to over the course of my life.
Q: The energy in the song is very positive and calm. What inspired you to write “In the Distance”?
LINDA MARKS: I wrote the song as a love song and song of appreciation for my partner Rob, who I actually met during the pandemic. Trying to meet someone during the pandemic was quite challenging. It was not really safe to meet new people. We were all sheltering at home, not going out to coffee shops or restaurants which would have been “normal” in our pre-pandemic life. And meeting someone who is a true partner is a challenge in and of itself, pandemic or no pandemic. So, the fact that I met someone truly special, where there was great communication and connection from the very beginning, was a gift. Rob and I talked every night on the phone for 3 months before we actually met in person. I read an article in the HuffPost about how the pandemic was leading many people to go much deeper much faster in their communication since it was clear life was precious and time was not to be wasted. Rob and I actually shared a lot about our lives with one another and got to know one another much more deeply than non-pandemic dating allows. Some of the lyrics in the song actually came from words Rob wrote to describe himself when I first met him.
Q: What is the message behind the song?
LINDA MARKS: I’ve shared the story behind the song. The message behind the song is that if you have a sense of what a true partner feels like, and you put the vision out to the universe as a kind of prayer when you least expect it, that true partner might appear. I certainly did not expect to meet anyone, never mind a life partner, during a pandemic.
Q: When did you first started singing and playing the piano?
LINDA MARKS: I was attracted to pianos as a toddler. My first word was piano. And whenever I saw a piano I was magnetically attracted to the keys. I would stand at any piano I found and start figuring out melodies. I heard melodies in my mind and it was fun to sing what I heard and try to figure it out. My family did not have a piano, so I had to look for other places to find pianos that I could play when I was young. My grammar school best friend had a piano, and I would go to her house to play it. I started to save money and look for ways I could earn money as a small child to buy my own piano. I painted rocks. I sold lemonade. I mowed people’s lawns. When I was 13 years old I found a store that had an upright piano I could afford and came down to the living room to announce to my parents I wanted to buy the piano, I had the money but needed a ride to the store. I finally got my own piano. When I listened to music on records (yes, that is how long ago I was a little girl), I would always sing along and harmonize. Music was like breathing to me. Natural. Organic. A part of me.
Q: Can you tell us about your story with songwriting?
LINDA MARKS: I started to write songs when I was in grammar school. I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I did not have a guitar or piano. I just heard melodies and tried to find ways to write down the words that I wrote to help me remember the songs. When I was 11, I bought myself an acoustic guitar and some guitar chord charts. That let me figure out the chords that went with the melodies I heard. I actually wrote my 8th-grade class graduation song and taught the whole class the chorus to sing along with me. And from there, songwriting became a way of life. I have found that music reaches deeper than words, can express and transmute all experiences and feelings, and can bring people together more powerfully than any other force I know. Songwriting has been a way I have processed and transformed pain expressed and shared joy and crafted stories from the heart to the heart.
Q: Anything you’re currently working on for us to look forward to in the near future?
LINDA MARKS: I wrote enough songs during the pandemic for two albums. My first pandemic-era album, Monuments Of Love, is being released digitally on 7/15/21 and as a physical CD with a big release show at a major Boston venue on 8/1/21. My second pandemic album, Home, will be released on 11/25/21. And I have already written 5 songs for my 2022 album Every Day Legends.
Interviewed by Katrina Yang
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