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Music lovers will not want to miss out on some fabulous entertainment from island resident Mark James will be entertaining his fans at The Billabong in Bophut Fisherman’s Village on Tuesday’s and Fridays.
Mark, who was heavily influenced by Elvis as a child started his musical career with a recorder, when the group he was in told him he was not good enough to stick around he had an equally unsatisfactory experience with the trumpet. His next step came when the guitar man came to town and thanks to a collaboration between his parents and his grandfather Mark found himself the proud owner of the best guitar in town. However, as Mark is left handed two weeks into his guitar class it looked as if his love affair with music may be over. Feeling his son’s passion Mark’s father found him a sixteen year old teacher named Vanita Bunce who was a distant friend of the family. Mark took his lessons very seriously and did as he was instructed. With his left handedness overcome Mark very quickly had something to show for his passion and dedication. When he attained a level where his teacher could take him no further the best teacher in Doncaster Bob Bennet then played his part in Mark’s success. Soon Mark was talented baby in the family and before he knew it at ten years old was having a both terrifying and rewarding experience at his first public performance on solo classical guitar.
At this time the connection was realized between Bob Bennet and Gordon Crosskey, the esteemed tutor at The Royal Northern College of Music. Mark was part of Bob’s group visits to the college and Mark’s father took the unprecedented step of approaching Gordon Crosskey and asked him for private lessons, he agreed.
Plans were then afoot for Mark to gain a place at the R.N.C.M but in order to do so had to learn to play a second instrument. Like many others he chose the piano and started to split his practice time between the two instruments. As his career started to get more serious Mark started to find his voice that was influenced by Elvis, the Everly Brothers, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the Shadows and later George Michael. Mark got his place and attended R.N.C.M in 1987. After two years of study Mark was deemed able to represent the college and started playing gigs at art galleries and professional recitals. In 1991 Mark entered the Belgian international guitar competition and reached the semi finals. A tour of France followed and his passion for singing ensured that he would never again be known as just a guitarist.
By the time he graduated in 1991 Mark had matured as a Musician, he took a job at Stockport Grammar School and then determined to prove himself he auditioned and received a place at The Royal Academy of Music in London to study as a post-graduate. However when he heard from a colleague that a West End touring show was in need of a guitarist for their show Elvis The Musical that plan went to the way side. Mark spent the next nine months earning regular money and having unforgettable experiences that shaped his career.
As a new century dawned a holiday here in Thailand turned into twelve years and counting. He took up residency at the Margarita Bar in Patong in Phuket in 2000 and soon took up a partnership with ex-pat Tommy Crawford and formed The Reprobates. The Asian Tsunami in 2004 saw Mark move to Koh Samui and the end of The Reprobates. Mark has been enthralling his fans with performances at The Billabong since 2005 and also at the exclusive Sala Samui resort. Mark has had a proud association with Golf in Dubai where he performs every year for the Dubai Desert Classic.