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  • Writer's pictureAaryn Lynham

Lonely Kid A.K.A Mark Skinner

Project Overview

I wrote this client feature while working for ACOA after interviewing my co-worker Mark Skinner for the August 2018 intranet story. It was linked in the August 17 weekly newsletter.

 

Lonely Kid A.K.A Mark Skinner


Mark Skinner may be an Economic Development Officer by day, but on the flip side, he's better known by the moniker Lonely Kid.

Growing up, Mark was always writing music. He played the clarinet through school, taking guitar and piano lessons as well. He developed a fundamental understanding of scales and basic chords dabbling with these instruments. Then in his senior year of high school, he and a friend became interested in making rap music. In doing so, they discovered the world of music production, through which Mark soon gained a new passion.


In 2009, Mark became interested in electronic dance music (EDM) and began using music production software FL Studio to produce his own tracks. During his time studying at UPEI, Mark preferred staying in and producing dance music rather than partying with friends.

My friends would ask me, "isn't that lonely?" and that's where the name Lonely Kid originated from.

Mark has a production studio setup in his apartment with all the necessities to write and produce music. He has recorded his own vocals for demo tracks but "it's not anything the world should hear." In the EDM industry, artists typically have a vocal recording (also called a top line) sent to them from an artist and they write a beat underneath that track. Mark is atypical, as he prefers building tracks from the ground up, starting with a beat. He then likes working with local vocalists and will call someone up to write a song, letting the collaboration unfold.

The first music released under Mark's alias Lonely Kid was an EP in 2015. This debut album was nominated for the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) Dance Recording of the Year award and three Music PEI awards in 2016. Since then, Lonely Kid has been nominated for a second ECMA Dance Recording of the Year award and two more Music PEI awards.


Mark describes Lonely Kid as "a seven-time award losing artist" as he has yet to win an award. However, the nominations were still huge milestones and a good experience. Mark says "going to the ECMA conference was amazing - I met so many people, played a few gigs and then got a few other shows out of that."


The first Lonely Kid music video Blackbird 2.0, a collaboration with the artist KINLEY, was released on YouTube in 2016. The video was filmed in a continuous shot with three full takes in downtown Charlottetown. Mark says, "we did it in one take because it was cheap, and this product was funded out of our own pocket."

We wanted to incorporate iconic Charlottetown landmarks people would recognize - the goal was to make something fun and relatable.

If you watch closely, you can see cameo apperances from other PEI artists including Dylan Menzie, Liam Corcoran and more! The released video is the third take that had the least interference with pedestrians and vehicles on the road. It was also chosen because a girl crashed her scooter in the background! Mark says "we knew we had to use that take - you can't recreate that kind of moment!"

Lonely Kid isn't Mark's only application of his music production skills. He also creates music for television shows and advertisements. This past winter, he kept busy with projects for the Province of PEI and various other local groups. He also works with larger companies that write music for major television shows. Mark says his "bread and butter is the advertising stuff I do on the side that actually pays." However his interest is in working on Lonely Kid music.

It's my thing. It's how I operate - I go home and it's what I enjoy doing. Some people will write, paint or go for a run. In my case, if I'm bored, stressed or tired, I'll go make something.

Mark has done weel in promoting the Lonely Kid brand. He had a big surprise when the Cavendish Beach Music Festival (CBMF) came knocking, asking him to perform as local talent. On July 9, 2019, Lonely Kid played the CMBF Kitchen Stage alongside big name electronic artists Cashmere Cat and Lauv. "I was star-struck when I got to meet them," says Mark, "they're my idols in electronic music - it was a very cool experience!"


Lonely Kid's latest performance raised money for Kids Help Phone. For the Kids at Fishbones on August 3, 2018 hosted by Lonely Kid featured guest appearances from PEI artists Dylan Menzie, Rachel Beck, Caleb Gallant from Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, Josh Carter and Logan Richard.

I brought in a whole bunch of friends that are doing well, we sold out the event and raised $1,555 for Kids Help Phone!"

Mark says a huge part of his brand is being an Islander. He has had people ask why he "just works with people on the Island". Mark says, "I feel that being in the same room as an artist makes a song more authentic, and with so many talented artists on PEI, it's never hard to find someone great to collaborate with."


Lonely Kid is set to release new collaborations with off-Island artists in the near future and Mark is excited to expand his network to work with more Atlantic artists. When asked about his five-year vision for Lonely Kid, Mark says he doesn't have one.

I'll probably be doing the same stuff because I like where it's at. I'm sitting at a comfortable pace where I have fun with it and it's not stressful. Aside from writing for advertisements or TV, I write with friends and put out new music when I want.

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