Many people in the DMV area may associate the name Mark G. Meadows with the man behind the music at Northern Virginia’s Signature Theatre but this popular, locally based composer, pianist and vocalist is so much more.
On Friday, Aug. 16, Meadows and his band, The Movement will play their rescheduled release concert for his second recording, EP “Be the Change,” which takes its name from the famed quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In the spirit of embodying the change Meadows wishes to see, the title track pulls from multiple genres including R&B with a touch of South African mpaganga music and township jive.
“Be the Change” references Meadows’ experiences over the past three years that included a new career direction, marriage, loss, his theatrical debut in the Signature’s “Jelly’s Last Jam,” playing the legendary pianist and composer, Jelly Roll Morton, and a little of everything else in between.
“As my old teacher and mentor, Dr. Alex Norris, used to always tell me, CDs are a snapshot of where you are,” he said. “It’s my job as an artist to put out music in whatever place or status I’m currently in. Artists often hold back on releasing music from our own insecurities.
“I try, to the best of my ability, [to] accurately depict my season through my releases, no matter what season that might be,” Meadows said. “I’ve got a message that someone can benefit from, and I won’t let a full plate take away from the influence I might have.”
The EP is composed of five tracks that reflect his new ways of exploring and evolving his sound, based in jazz but also liberally dipping into other genres, including a two-track nod to the iconic Stevie Wonder.
“Stevie Wonder’s music has always and will forever be one of my greatest influences,” Meadows said. “He hits all the points. Melody, harmony, rhythm, lyric — his music speaks in all of the ways.
“I put two covers on this EP after having arranged for a few Stevie Wonder tribute concerts, a few of them performed at Signature Theatre Cabaret concerts. I loved the arrangements so much that I thought, ‘Why not?’ Who doesn’t wanna hear more Stevie Wonder?”
Besides his continued work at the Signature Theatre, where he also played Fats Waller in the recent production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Meadows’ plate is chock full of new opportunities to share his original music, and covers of songs that are near to his heart.
“I also have many more exciting shows down the road with my band, and with other artists I love collaborating with,” Meadows said. “I’m doing a few cabarets at Signature in the next few months, and will be [musical director for] ‘Choir Boys’ in Denver at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts this spring.”
Meadows’ band, The Movement, which will be backing him in his upcoming concert and participated in the recording of “Be The Change,” is a welcome support for the multifaceted artist. Featuring Deacon Izzy on vocals and rap, John Lee on guitar, CV Dashiell on drums and Eliot Seppa on bass, the quintet is set to deliver one of their most dynamic and all-encompassing sounds yet.
“Be it performing with my band, other bands, recording, MDing, or acting, I’m always trying to put out a positive influence and take on any new and exciting opportunities that come my way,” Meadows said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to do a show ever. Since we were powered out last time, the rescheduled date is going to have so much energy we might just blow the power out again.”
Tickets are on sale for Mark G. Meadows & The Movement at AMP by Strathmore on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. For information, go to https://www.ampbystrathmore.com/live-shows/mark-g-meadows.
“Be the Change” is available for streaming and download on iTunes, Spotify and other forums.. For more information about Meadows and his music, go to https://www.markgmeadows.com.