British crooner Mark Kingswood ready to share his unique jazz songbook

Markwill play at Manchester Stoller Hall on February 27. Picture: Michael Wharley
Markwill play at Manchester Stoller Hall on February 27. Picture: Michael Wharley

Gifted songwriter, British crooner and Radio 2 favourite Mark Kingswood will be on tour in the UK in the early part of 2020 arriving in Manchester in February.

Redefining what it means to be a modern day crooner Mark will showcase his inimitable style, bringing to life his radio hits Strong and Dancing On A Monday.

And Mark, who shares his time between the UK and Canada, says he cannot wait to get going.

He said: “This is my show, my set and songs with a fantastic band. I love the sound of the live orchestra. This type of music is so well loved but it’s great to put my own production into it so audiences can expect a few surprises.”

Mark will play at Manchester Stoller Hall on February 27.

Growing up listening to the great American Songbook from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, Mark has paved his own way with a modern take on big band jazz, injecting a 21st century tone and lyricism.

Mark Kingswood pictures: Michael Wharley

Mark Kingswood pictures: Michael Wharley

His varied career has seen him winning childhood talent contests, numerous writing and production credits as well as gold albums in countries around the world.

He says while becoming a little disillusioned by the commercial industry it was his fascination in the writing, recording and production which led him for many years to work in studios learning the craft of engineering, producing, mixing and mastering.

He said:“It was where I was able to then bring all I’d learnt together and hone my own style. I got a little obsessed in the arrangement but it makes such a big difference and that’s when I realised that would be my foundation for the type of artist I wanted to be. Those great voices Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr are so well loved - but when writing for the album it was important for me to write something authentic and I loved being in the studio and bringing something unique to the table but also showing an appreciation and respect for the music. ”

Mark this year released debut album Strong.

Mark Kingswood has released debut album Strong. Picture Michael Wharley

Mark Kingswood has released debut album Strong. Picture Michael Wharley

“I’ve been fortunate getting a great deal of hands-on experience, working with different producers and songwriters and learning how to create and arrange a lot of different kinds of music.

"As a kid I hardly ever went out to play and wasn’t interested in things like football. I would just come home from school and sit at my keyboard for hours and hours trying to work out how to do things. I guess I just had this real insatiable hunger for music.”

The songs on Strong show off his range as a vocalist, writer, arranger and producer as they sway from brassy, up-tempo dancefloor numbers to charming, evocative ballads that would make Sinatra swoon.

Looking to match the instrumental power with equally potent words, the lead-off single and title track Strong swings with the dynamic Sean Connery-era James Bond-style sass but is infused with an uplifting positive lyrical message that can elevate the mood of any listener from the doldrums of life.

“I wanted to write a song that has a strong message for someone going through a tough time.

"It’s an anthem really, an anthem of positivity and hope. It’s one of those messages that encourages people who may be struggling with loss or addiction or just hopelessness to keep going and to not give up. ”

If there was a song that perfectly captured not only Kingswood’s music, but his approach to music and the joy he gets from creating his own brand of big band jazz infused pop it’s “Got a Thing for Swing”.

In a live setting, Mark and his 10-piece Big Band will perform many original compositions but also some of the more traditional songs of the genre.

But he says he will always be an original artist first and foremost, and if he does record cover material, they will not be the songs typically borrowed from the swing/big band catalogue.

For the Strong album, he jazzed up the massive REM hit, Losing My Religion, and a homage to the late great pop icon George Michael, with a cover of his song One More Try.

He added: “My album doesn’t conform to the standard crooner record formula, and that’s deliberate. Nobody else will really try to attack a rock song like Losing My Religion or even a pop song like One More Try and add the sort of Big Band instrumentation to it.

"I do take a cue from George Michael who, later in his career, started to get more into symphonic and Big Band arrangements. Robbie Williams is another guy who has kind of made that transition. But I think I am approaching it from a truly original perspective."

Tickets available from venue box offices, Ticketmaster and Ticketline