It often strikes us as strange that more musicians don't hone their talents on London's busking circuit before attempting to make it big. Surely there's no stigma attached to it; the sight and sound of a decent busker strumming away is as much as part of the city as free paper disher-outers or the fella dressed up like Buzz Lightyear outside the Tate Modern.
Mark Mathews is a man who has no truck with busking being badmouthed in any way. When not relentlessly touring around the UK and abroad, our latest new music pick is not averse to a cheeky holler around the Circle line and is particularly enjoying the additional revellers pinging past his underground pitch during the World Cup, according to his blog.
Mark is a Greenwich-based singer songwriter with a passion for London. His Northern Irish dad and Spanish mum swapped the angry streets of Belfast for the East End when Mark was young, and though he's now traded Dalston for the Dome his music is still thick with east London impudence.
He recently signed a three-single record deal with the Animal Farm label, based just south of Tower Bridge. The first of these singles is London Lives, released last month — very much the type of song title we approve of, and happily the accompanying tune is an enjoyable slice of jaunty folk-rock with more than a hint of Britpop. You can check out the video below, including a marvellous scene shot at the Kebab & Burger House on Blackheath Road.
Mark has been working on his next single of late but isn't planning to neglect his live audience. Forthcoming shows include an afternoon gig at the Zegrano Bar in Soho on 13 July and a set at the New Cross Inn on 22 July. Every last Saturday of the month he plays with a full band, The One T's, and that's coming up at Piccadilly's Comedy Pub this weekend (28 June), and at Proud Camden towards the end of July.
If he continues to make sizeable waves as he has of late, his days of playing to drunkards at Baker Street at half ten on a Tuesday night may be numbered. But then again, in his own words: 'I love me busking!' Perhaps we'd better get used to seeing Mark Mathews on Later With Jools Holland one week and at Cannon Street tube the next.