Hailing from the best of both worlds of acting and singing is Mark Hood. The burgeoning entertainer, who was featured as a Rated Next artist in 2011, is making huge strides in his bubbling career that will make him as a household name in the near future.
In the world of acting, Hood has had roles on hit television shows like Chicago Fire and Sirens. Meanwhile, in the music world, Hood has been featured on the legendary show Apollo Live and most recently a contestant on NBC’s The Voice. Under the guidance of music mogul Pharrell Williams, Hood made it all the way to the Top 12 on the competitive show.
Rated R&B recently caught up with Hood to learn about his latest happenings. In our interview, Hood talks about his growth as an artist since we first met him, his most challenging moment on The Voice, working with Pharrell and, of course, his new music.
Check out our interview with Mark Hood below.
RATED R&B: How do you think you’ve grown musically over the years?
MARK HOOD: I’ve grown tremendously. I have a different mindset about music. It’s so crazy to know when we first interviewed in 2011, when I had “Ain’t Gon Change” out, which is still a holding strong — I still sing that — but knowing that the kind of music I’m working on now is so different than that. It’s just an evolution and I’m happy about it.
RATED R&B: Since you have years of experience in musical theater, do you think it gave you an advantage when performing on The Voice?
MARK HOOD: I actually do think I had the upper hand because being used to performing all the time. The stage is home to me literally. I feel more comfortable on stage than off stage. That’s just where I like to be. As soon as I got on that stage, it was just like go time — just do what you want. Feel free. Feel comfortable. So many things were planned out and choreographed, but then there are so many other things in the moment that only comes with experience on the stage and being used to it. I feel like that helped me out.
RATED R&B: What was the most challenging part of The Voice for you?
MARK HOOD: I would say there was a lot of things thrown at us really fast — like songs — trying to choose songs with your coach and then getting them late and stuff. I just have really bad short-term memory. So, I would always be cramming to try to learn my songs and not and praying that I don’t mess up the words.
RATED R&B: What’s one thing you learned about yourself by working with Pharrell?
MARK HOOD: The biggest piece of advice he gave me was to not doubt myself. It was eye-opening because I never really realized that I doubt myself as much as I do until he pointed it out. He kind of went into Uncle Pharrell mode, like, he almost started yelling at me [laughs]. He was like, “Mark! Is this the end of this doubt because if you start doubting yourself then I’m going to doubt you and you might have to go home.” I wasn’t really realizing the things I was saying and he just picks up on everything. He’s such an amazing, humble, spiritual person. He just picks up on everything and kind of read you without many words.
RATED R&B: When you look back at your time on the show, is there anything that you would’ve done differently during the competition?
MARK HOOD: No, because I feel like I did what God wanted me to do. If I had to change anything, maybe it would be some song choices. Other than that, I’m happy with what I did with my performances. I gave my heart.
RATED R&B: Is there new music on the way?
MARK HOOD: Absolutely! I’m excited about my EP that’s coming out this year. Pharrell and I have been talking and he has a vision for what my music should sound like. I’m excited about working on my EP and working with him.
RATED R&B: What do you want people to take away from your music, your brand?
MARK HOOD: I want people to feel good. It’s enough negative energy around in general. I just want people to feel good and feel positive. I really want to inspire people.
RATED R&B: Is there anything else coming up for you?
MARK HOOD: In addition to new music, we have some theater opportunities coming, TV opportunities coming, so it’s a lot of things in the works.
Follow Mark Hood on Twitter @MarkJPHood.