LA Artist Spotlight: Mark de Clive-Lowe

Mark de Clive-Lowe is a Los Angeles based musician, composer and producer whose unique sound blends jazz, funk, world music and electronic dance.

His most recent and 11th studio album, “Church” is named after the music event Mark presents in LA and NYC and was crowd-funded on Kickstarter.

Mark has worked with Lauryn Hill, Jody Watley, D’Angelo bass player Pino Palladino and Miles Davis’ percussionist Sammy Figueroa, among many other diverse artists and is one of the most innovative producers and live performers on the music scene.

Learning to play the piano at the age of four, Mark is as at home on the keyboard as he is using drum machines or DJing around the world.

Mark's next gig is CHURCH's Valentine’s Day Grammy Edition at the Del Monte Speakeasy
Mark de Clive-Lowe is equal parts musician, composer, producer and DJ

Find out more about the prolific artist that is Mark de Clive-Lowe:

Where are you from?

I’m half-Japanese, half-New Zealander, raised mostly in NZ. Now, LA is home.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

My dad made me take piano lessons from some crazy young age and it always seemed to be my inclination. I played my first gigs in Auckland while I was in high school, but really got serious about music as a profession after spending my last year of high school in Japan and getting super inspired by the jazz scene there especially.

How would you describe your music?

I’m pretty equal parts musician, composer, producer and DJ and I roll that all into one with the music – I’m a jazz musician who tripped over a drum machine on my way to the dancefloor and was never the same since! The music has house, hip hop, afrofunk and jazz twisted into a crazy mash up.

What inspires you?

There’s special moments every day that I feel really grateful for. Those inspire me. Sometimes it’s a conversation, or a meal, a sight or a sound. Music is the mode of expression I feel most connected to so a bit of everything comes out when I play.

Mark with his wife and musical collaborator Nia Andrews
Mark with his wife and musical collaborator Nia Andrews

What’s the best advice you have received?

Never stop being myself. One of my favorite musicians and mentor said that to me and it’s always resonated. I felt that way before, but it’s something to have the reassurance of one of your heroes telling you that!

What is one of the proudest moments of your career?

I’m lucky to have had a lot of those moments that are so unbelievably fulfiling. Most recently I was playing in a tribute to Dr Dre – a 30 piece orchestra flipping classic Dr Dre beats and productions. I got to play keys alongside Bernie Worrell – basically what Jimi Hendrix was to rock guitar, Bernie Worrell is to funk synth. All those Parliament/Funkadelic synth hooks and space funk moments – that’s him doing it all. That was an experience I’m still buzzing from and grateful for.

How do you want to be remembered?

As a good person. On the music side, honest in my artistic expression and contributing something that wasn’t there before.

What gigs do you have coming up?

Next up is my party CHURCH – we’re doing a Valentine’s Day Grammy Edition 2/14 at the Del Monte Speakeasy. The party’s great fun – literally that mash up of jazz club and electronic dance party. I’m planning CHURCH Detroit events and a Europe tour for the spring.

Church V Day

What advice do you offer upcoming artists?

Be humble to the music – to know that the music is greater than the artist is a key piece of understanding; work diligently at your instrument and craft; aspire to mastery; and seek out mentors!

What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve had to learn?

Learning to deconstruct and unlearn behaviors that I had inherited from my upbringing. I don’t think that’s finished yet. It’s a challenge but so completely fulfiling.

Bella LA’s tagline is “beauty defined by you.” How do you define beauty?

Beauty is when things function or exist in harmony with each other.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

Having time with the family is really important to me. I also train capoeira which is an incredible work out, as well as culturally rich martial art.

How do you juggle life as a parent and artist?

That’s a challenge that I work at constantly. What I do find works for me is having a clear structure and schedule to my day. If I time manage well, then there’s plenty of time for everything. Having a balanced life has become very important to me.

What is your favorite part of LA?

I never tire of driving down the canyons from the valley and that moment at the bottom, emerging onto the PCH with the Pacific Ocean stretching out endlessly and wide open sky. It makes me so appreciative of where I live every time.

Favorite Restaurant for dinner:

My wife and I tried Hatchet Hall recently and enjoyed that. Bestia is unforgettable – thinking of it now is making me crave their pasta.

Blue Whale interior
The Blue Whale in Little Tokyo, LA

Favorite Music Venue:

The Blue Whale in Little Tokyo. It’s a jazz club tucked away in a mall that is so perfect. Great sound, drinks, staff, and it’s always all about the music.

Favorite Shopping Spot:

Online! I like to know what I want, so the convenience of ordering something online makes life easier.

Favorite Brunch Spot:

I’m still hunting for my favorite LA brunch spot. Colonie in Brooklyn needs to open up a spot here.

Favorite Museum:

Pretty sure it’s going to be the Broad as soon as I get to go check it out. LA has so many great spaces. LACMA is always a favorite too.

Favorite Date place:

Paris

Love is…

Sharing time and space. It’s also Miles on the stereo, blazing fireplace and a glass of wine with your favorite person.

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