Big talent comes to life in a small town
Immanuel Kant once said that, "the nice part of growing up in a small town is that even if you don't know what you are doing, someone else does." If this is true, then the future could be very bright for USU Eastern freshman Mark Swink. Because while he professes not to know where his musical career will take him, all those who have heard him sing know that the sky is the limit.
Swink, who is 18 and has lived in Price his whole life, first got involved with the guitar when he was nine years old. Since then he has grown into a veteran state and local performer whose diverse musical style has made Swink a favorite with local crowds. While it is now obvious that music is a huge part of the college freshman's life, that wasn't always the case.
"I think like most musicians, I had a difficult time with the guitar in the beginning," explained Swink. "Playing the guitar is not an easy thing at first, so when I started taking lessons it took some time to enjoy the process and after a year or so I really considered quitting."
Swink's musical career was saved at this point by a friend named Tyler Wilson who introduced the young troubadour to recording his own tracks.
"Recording really got me interested for the long haul," said Swink. "It seemed like the possibilities were endless and I could tell this was something I was going to enjoy for a long time."
Swink continued his musical work playing and singing for bands like Forensic View, a punk rock influenced crew and King of Aces with Wilson. He also picked up the bass guitar, piano and drums along the way, slowly becoming a one man recording machine.
"I really enjoyed playing in those bands when I was younger, you know it's funny, everyone in King of Aces was in college except for me," laughed Swink who was but 15 at the time. "We played some shows in Salt Lake and that was such a big deal for me, to play for people you don't know and that don't know you. It was such a great environment."
At 16, Swink began recording songs he had written himself including "Control," a song Swink still plays at local shows because of its initial and continuing popularity.
"I feel really blessed that I got to play with so many different people when I was young," he continued. "I have played with some great musicians that have always made me want to get better as a guitar player, vocalist and someone who likes to record music."
According to Swink, music has not only provided a possible career, it has proven to be a tool against the pitfalls that can take a young person's life down the wrong road in the blink of an eye.
"Music gave me something to do, something to focus on when a lot of people I knew were just getting into trouble," explained the singer-songwriter. "It's funny, when I was young I got a lot of crap from guys I knew about my music but as I got older they started respecting it. You know I tried sports for awhile but quit because I really just liked music better."
During Swink's junior year in high school he started playing larger community events like International Days and receiving lively feedback from the area's public.
"Playing on the radio with Mallery (Dunn) on KRPX for the first time was a big deal for me," explained Swink. "Its really cool because now she plays my new stuff and has let me sing live in her studio twice."
This summer, Swink hit the local festival scene with force playing at a majority of the Castle Valley's celebrations.
"I had a great time this summer, this is the third time I have played at International Days and I feel like I get a better response every time," said Swink.
Currently, the young musician has written around 20 original tunes, most of which he has made available on his Facebook page and Youtube channel.
"I have always loved writing music, lately I have been playing more covers because it's nice to have a mix in my live set but I love originals. You know it's not the daunting task most young artists think it is, in fact I track most every instrument in my songs and record a majority of them with the microphone in my ibook and the pre-loaded 'garage band' software. Right now my cousin Chris in California says he is doing what he can to get my name out with some industry producers but to tell you the truth, I'm really just excited about playing local and going to college."
Like the man said, even if Swink doesn't know where he is headed, most who have seen him play in the small town of Price know the young man is going far.