Hey Mark! So excited to be chatting with you! How did you come up with the name “Mark and the Tiger”?
Hi there! Thank you so much for having me! “Mark and the Tiger” came about through a few different avenues actually. When I was in college I had written a play about a boy who found a tiger in the woods. It was sort of my version of “Calvin and Hobbes”. I’ve always loved tigers and I really loved the idea of having a friendship as strong as that one! When I left college I started using the name Mark Tiger as a pseudonym when I taught yoga. That name bled into the rest of my life and I was using it when I initially started putting my music out. It was actually my now husband who called me out about using that name as a shield to hide behind. He said, “You’re only Mark Tiger because you don’t think Mark Haberland is good enough.” It was frank but true! So I switched to Mark AND the Tiger as throwback to the play I had written and an homage to friendship.
Can you tell us a little something about yourself?
Sure! I’m originally from Maine, but I’ve lived out in LA for almost 10 years. Music is obviously my career now, but I’ve also been a yoga teacher, a massage therapist, and a horseback riding instructor. I still work with horses actually. It keeps me sane!
What inspired you to pursue music?
Well, I’ve aways loved music and spent my whole life singing, but I had no agenda of making music a career. I had initially moved to LA after graduating to be an actor (so original!). After a few years I was really feeling disheartened by the whole pursuit. I took myself out to the Hollywood Bowl to see Florence and the Machine. It was watching her dance barefoot around the stage that flipped the light bulb on in my head that that’s what I was supposed to be doing! I started work to make music my life from that moment.
How would you describe your musical style?
Well I grew up listening to a lot of folk music so that genre definitely influences my style. My music is all very story driven. And I’m also a huge Stevie Nicks fan. I think I’ve sort of landed somewhere that’s part Stevie, part Florence and the Machine, and a little Harry Styles.
What artists do you look up to right now?
Haha, see above! Stevie and Florence are my number ones forever and always. And I’m really into Harry Styles right now. I love his music and I really appreciate the David Bowie’esq style that he’s got going on.
You just released a single “Hand to Hold”! How excited were you to get this project out into the world?!?
So excited! This song just fell right out of me. I needed to get it out there!
Can you tell us what this song means to you?
This song is all about unity for me. I wrote it at a period of time when I was listening to a lot of civil rights era music. That mentality of equality was inspiring, but I was more interested in the notion of friendship and togetherness. At the end of the day we all just need a friend, a hand to hold, someone who’s got our back.
What do you hope your supporters feel after hearing the new song?
I hope they feel uplifted! It’s so easy to get down in the dumps these days. Especially with everything that’s going on with COVID-19. But in an amazing an unexpected way this virus has brought the world together in a really incredible way. For the first time in decades the whole world is united in a common event. “Hand to Hold” is about that same kind of unity. I hope people listen to it and feel connected to each other.
Why do you think social media is so important for artists today?
Well it’s HUGE right now because it’s all we have! And how amazing is that? Even though we can’t play shows, we can still reach the whole world!
How has this whole music career experience been?
On man! So far, so good, I guess! I feel like I’ve barely dipped my toe in the water. I’m ready to dive in head first!
Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists?\
Just start. Put yourself out there. Write a song. Sing for your friends. Do it. I used to make so many excuses as to why I couldn’t put myself out there musically. I wasn’t good enough or wasn’t ready yet, or my production quality was too poor. But really it was all bullshit. I was just afraid. I think for a long time I was so focused on people liking my music that I tried to write music that I THOUGHT people would want to hear, but ultimately it was all garbage. Once I started doing it for myself (what I wanted to hear, what I wanted to say) the music came out so fast and was so much better! We make music for the world to listen to, but it was to be created for our own satisfaction first and foremost.
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