Mark Allen Felton
Saxophonist delivers on new album
No words can express Mark Allen Felton. You have to hear this talented saxophonist in person to understand the affect of his music. I was privileged to have witnessed a Mark Allen Felton performance when he performed for an intimate crowd earlier this year at SCLC’s King week celebration in Los Angeles. Let’s just say that the guy almost took every lady home with him before he was done playing his set. I was even scoping out a fine lady friend when I noticed she was hypnotized by his music. She wouldn’t take her eyes off him the whole night. Now that I recall, I think that’s why I left early. I even over heard one audience member say his music sounds like a “blast from the past”. To his credit I must admit Felton’s new album “I Do It For Love” has a way of drawing the audience in much like his live performance. I suggest playing the record straight through, start to finish. I promise that once you start listening to the album it will be hard to stop.
Sentinel: How did you first get started?
MAF: I was watching television one day and I saw a group come on, it was Kool and the Gang. I saw the guy flashing his horn around and I said, “That’s what I want to do right there”. Ironically, the next day a band director asked if anybody wanted to play an instrument for the new band and I was like, “ya I want to play that shiny curvy thing” and everybody started laughing. I was eleven years old at the time. He (band director) showed me a picture of a saxophone and I was like, “ya I want to do that”. So he assembled a band and that’s how I actually how got started.
Sentinel: You received numerous award of excellence for music during your early years, did you pick up on music easy or was it a struggle to find your niche?
MAF: I just had a feeling about music but I wasn’t really so into like a lot of kids were. Some people pick up instruments and they get into it right away. I was into basketball. Music was the thing that was an alternative for me at the time. I remember we were all talking at basketball about being all-city something and I wasn’t getting enough playing time at the time to be all-city basketball so I said I’m going to be all-city band. I later found out about the competition to join all-city band so I went out, practiced, did what I needed to do and I got there two weeks later after the auditions and everything. And the teacher said, “son you know you are two weeks late, but let me just see what you can do though”. He brought me in the room and he said “can you play your scales”? So I played my major scales. “Can you play your minor scales”? So I played my minor scales and he said you know what, “I’m going to give you a shot. Are you a senior?” I said, “Yes sir”. He said, “I’m going to give you a shot. I’m going to add three saxophone players instead of just two. So I am going to put you in the band.” And I made all-city band like that.
Sentinel: Tell me about the band you formed with Terry Ellis (En-Vouge).
MAF: We met in college and we use to hang around a lot with each other. I had this aspiration of putting together a band. Terry was participating in local bands before her stint in with En Vogue. I saw her and I knew she was nice, she could do her thing so I said hey come join this band, I got this thing called Electric Storm, she said, “okay cool”. So we got together started rehearsing and stuff then we started doing a whole lot of stuff around the city.
Sentinel: Many people don’t know but your relationship with Terry played a key part in helping to assemble the En Vogue. Tell me how that happened?
MAF: I had a friend out there in Oakland and he was telling me they were putting together this band, a girl group. I had just moved to L.A. and I had called Terry and I said, “Hey they are putting together a girl group and I think you need to get down, no matter what, make it happen”. She was like “okay”! I said “I’m going to get the information talk to my guy and see if we can get you up front in the audition because I heard there were a lot of girls auditioning.” He was able to hook it up so I called Terry and said “it’s hooked up go ahead and do it”. She had to pay her rent that month and instead of paying her rent she bought a plane ticket for the audition. The rest is history.
Sentinel: I noticed that Terry is featured on your new project. Tell me your new album and what we can expect to hear?
MAF: For a long time I’ve been seeing a lot of negative images in the media and a lot of negativity toward a lot of things so I was like I wan to do something to express myself in a different way. I felt we needed more love and needed to spread more love around. I started to just gravitate toward writing songs that were just love oriented. So it’s really a love CD. I pulled some old stuff in and some new stuff and I came up with “I Do It For Love” because this is the reason why I do it.
Sentinel: I know it can be hard for artist to pick favorites from their own catalogue but what is your favorite record on the album?
MAF: “I’m All Yours”, is a favorite of mine as well as “Love Me”. “I’m All Yours” has the passion that I feel when I play. I feel so passionate about playing. I don’t think it’s totally musical for me, I think its spiritual as well. “I’m All Yours”, kind of captures that feeling I have when I’m playing.
Sentinel: What do you mainly want fans and critics to get from the record? I know you just touched on spirituality but what do you want people to take home with them?
MAF: That’s the good thing about it is love transcends all environments. It’s a love CD so if a couple wants to get together and they just want to chill out and listen to some beautiful music, I think it makes a great environment. It’s also inspirational in reference to people just coming together just to love on each other in all types of fashions. It’s multifaceted.
Sentinel: Is there anything you would like to share with our Sentinel readers regarding your new project?
MAF: It’s a great record and I had a great time of making it. I feel it was very inspirational for me to make a record like this because it gives me an opportunity to spread love through my expression and expression that God has given me. I would love for everybody to be embraced by that because that’s something that I feel very strongly about. I think we need more of that in this world today. It’s a lot of great things happening, we need to keep the great things happening and I think the shift is more coming together with each other as oppose as being against each other.
For more information please visit: www.markallenfelton.com