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New album: A walk through life

Debut album Never Give Up. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

The cover songs Wairarapa NZ First MP and Defence Minister Ron Mark has chosen for his newly launched debut album take listeners on a journey through his life.

Mark bought a guitar in his early teens – he paid for it by getting 50 cents a possum skin.

But he didn’t take up singing until much later as a comment from his foster dad about him sounding like a dying cow put him off.

“But here I am singing, playing guitar and recording, it’s a dream come true.”

And this takes Mark to the reason he has a slip of paper in the CD case, inviting friends and family who have a copy of the album to donate to Fostering Kids.

Ron Mark at school.

Mark was raised by about seven different foster families from the age of three.

He called the album Never Give Up.

“Never give up, never ever give up on yourself or your dreams,” he said.

“To get through the rough times, I advise foster kids that are struggling to map out one day at a time and to look at that sheet of blank paper at the beginning of the day and then write up at the end what you have done.

“If you don’t like what you see, start a new day tomorrow and aim for a better story at the end of that day.”

Mark also believes that what you endure as a child can make you who you are, but there are choices along the way.

“I was always saying, ‘I’ll show you lot, I’ll show you’.

“And I feel I have. As Henry Ford said, whatever you can imagine you can do, you can.”

“But it is good to learn how to forgive.”

Elvis Presley and Charley Pride, whose songs feature in Mark’s album, take him back to happy times and they were the songs that drew him to music and singing.

Mark does vocals and guitar on all tracks.

The first track, George Ezra’s Budapest, was suggested by his mentors Wayne and Marie Heath because it suits his voice.

“It’s light, it’s easy, and I started with this because the album covers a long period of time.

“These songs go back to the 50s and 60s and to the present. I have grown up with this music.

But when talking about the late Elvis Presley and Charley Pride it’s a different story.

“I admire the hell out of Charley Pride as a black African-American doing country music in the south.

“Some people didn’t like it.

“Charley was a poor cotton picker who went on to be hugely popular yet when hugged by Dolly Parton, she got hate mail for it.”

What Mark likes most about the album is that he did it.

He is 66 years old in January.

The last track on the album is Songs from Home because, when he was deployed in the army, he was at times desperate for something, anything from New Zealand to remind him of home.

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