Music Q&A:
Mark Nevin

As a founder member of Fairground Attraction Mark Nevin wrote the hit Perfect. Now, with a new EP out, he’s heading out on tour with his band, playing Sheffield, Bury, Otley and Selby

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Life! I am in a constant state of wonder. I am also the book eating boy. I used to worry that I would run out of ideas for songs but when David Bowie died I realised I was more likely to run out of time. Now I love to write about everything and anything – the more unlikely the subject the better. For example, there is a song on my album called Curly Wurly Boy, about refusing to work at a chocolate factory, and another called Forgotify about all the never-played songs on Spotify.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
It has been a fascinating journey. When I started out I considered myself to be a songwriter and guitarist but as time went on giving my words to someone else to sing became increasingly intolerable. So making the move to centre of the stage was a momentous moment and now the idea of not singing the songs myself is bizarre. Miles Davis once said: “It takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself.” It does – and it has! I feel very free now.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
My new EP Dolly Said No To Elvis is just coming out. It tells the true story of how Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, approached a very young Dolly Parton about Presley recording her song I Will Always Love You. Of course she was thrilled, until it was made clear that she would be expected to hand over half of her songwriting royalties to the King. Sorry Elvis. “Not 50 per cent, not 20, not 10 per cent, not any, even one is one too many, thou shalt not have a penny!” A brilliant young animator called Heather Colbert has made a fabulous video for it. The whole project has been a delight.

What’s on your rider?
I always demand tora-fugu, the Japanese blowfish that contains deadly poison and needs to be ever so precisely dissected by a Michelin-starred sushi chef but I never get it. I have to make do with a bit of cheese and a few grapes, what has the world come to?

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Back in my Fairground Attraction days we won two awards at the Brit Awards with Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood. Everything that went wrong did. It is considered as one of the classic TV car crash moments. It was bonkers.

What song do you wish you’d written?
I don’t really wish I’d written anybody else’s songs – Happy Birthday would be a good earner though.

What’s your worst lyric?
“All that she wants is another baby.”

Mark Nevin’s tour includes Greystones, Sheffield, 15 Feb, Met, Bury, 22 Feb, Courthouse, Otley, 16 March and Town, Hall, Selby, 17 March

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