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Mark De-Lisser interview

Mark De Lisser
Written by Steven White

We chatted to the famed celebrity vocal coach about royal weddings and how to encourage your child to sing.

Singer and music arranger Mark De-Lisser was the vocal coach and mentor to ten award-winning actors that came together to create the album Got it Covered for last year’s Children in Need, singing songs of their choice. He described it as a, “Real joy and honour because I got to work with some of the most incredibly talented actors on the planet. When you listen to the album, you can’t help but be moved by it.”

Here, the parent of two he speak on his involvement in the music world and how he’s helping improve people’s lives through the power of singing.

Tell us about the Meet The Street At Christmas TV show?

So what I did was start small choirs in different areas in Wales, from the city to suburbs to valleys and rural areas. Building those sorts of choirs was a real challenge because people don’t generally love to sing in public, and that is what I was asking them to do. But it was more than that. Bringing them together to try and limit feelings of social isolation and loneliness was the main reason.

Plus, people coming together and gaining a connection with people they never would’ve gained one with before. That was the joy and beauty of the show and it was transformational in so many ways. I wanted to prove this idea of shared experience does change lives and reduce feelings of social isolation. We absolutely did that and it was a massive success for me. 

What’s your proudest career moment? 

It has got to be writing and arranging a song for Harry and Meghan’s wedding last year. It was Stand By Me and sung beautifully by Kingdom Choir. I’m quite a spiritual guy with a strong faith in God and about six months prior to being asked to do that, I put this out to God and I said, “Look I really want to arrange a song that the world hears,” But I didn’t remember that prayer until six months after the wedding! It taught me so many incredible lessons about who I am.

A lot of the times as musicians we want to create to impress, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the question is who are we trying to impress? At that moment in my career I was trying to impress what I thought was the world. We actually did 13 versions of the song and the response from Buckingham Place was a no to the first 11. Then, finally coming up with an arrangement that for me was quite simple, warm and beautiful. It was that arrangement the world talked about and I was really proud of it. 

Would you have preferred a more complex one?

Yes, because as a musician you just want other musicians to go wow that was amazing and all that. I wanted that validation and recognition. What this process taught me is that the world is full of musicians but there are more people who are not musicians. That arrangement spoke to the non-musicians, and that was what I asked for – for the world to hear it and not just musicians. 

Read the full article here in the winter ’20 issue.


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