Mark Haze fans in for a surprise

LIZAHN WENTZEL

It has been five years since Mark Haze first sang his way into the hearts of South Africans, with his appearance on Idols SA as the beloved rocker, and, since then, he has been working hard to continue his success.

Mark was a finalist on season 7 of the popular TV series in 2011 and this paved the way for his music career to take flight.

A number of changes have taken place in his life, including his decision to become an independent artist and the birth of his son, Zac. Now the rocker’s fans are in for a treat as Mark is expected to release his new single in May.

“I just got back into studio last week, working on a number of new tracks,” he says, adding that his next offering is bound to surprise. Without giving too much away about the new album, he hints that his new work will be something of a departure from his usual formula.

“I like merging styles and developing as an artist. There will always be an element of rock in my music, but this is something different.”

Mark stays with his family in Durbanville, and when not performing or touring, he has his hands full with his little one.

“I am able to completely let go when I am at home and concentrate on my family. Zac is a very active boy and so full of life. It is important to make time for your family. Time goes by so fast, just the other day he was one,” says Mark. He describes Zac as the “coolest little guy”.

The musician has lost 40kg since appearing on Idols by following Professor Tim Noakes’ low-carb, high-fat Banting-style diet.

“I have simply just been eating wrong my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I was overweight. I had been to see doctors and been on numerous diets,” Mark says he only started to notice how much weight he had lost, when his clothes did not fit anymore.

“I just followed the diet, cutting out processed or chemically enhanced foods and the weight just started to come off.”

When on tour, Mark’s team helps him keep on the healthy path.

“It takes a lot of planning beforehand. When you’re on tour, fast food becomes a staple, as it is so easy to get,” says Mark.

It has taken him about two years to get the weight off, and he would like to lose another 20kg. “I still have a long road ahead of me, but I am going to keep at it,” he says.

Mark, who enjoys performing on his home turf, appeared alongside Dan Patlansky at the Blues Meets Rock Festival at the Hillcrest Quarry on Saturday.

“To get a double-bill gig is a big deal, especially when it is with Dan, who is doing great internationally,” he says.

“The fans have always been really appreciative of my music, they appreciate my art in its natural form.”

Mark says there is nothing like performing live, and he fondly recalls his first big show at the Grand Arena with a crowd of about 8 000.

“I came out, and the lights blinded me. I couldn’t see anyone, but I knew I just had to go for it,” he says. He now performs at stadiums with crowds of 60 000.

Fans will be delighted to hear that Mark will be touring the country for 17 shows from May to February 2017.

While he enjoys touring, Mark says it can be very hard.

“It is not easy being on the road and away from my family. We split the tours, so we can go home and spend time with our families and recharge. Then we are back on the road again, ready to give it our all.”

Mark signed with Universal Records shortly after competing in Idols. He had huge successes with the label and his songs received major air play on stations across the country. He had the longest running number one song in 2011 for, Wake Up. Mark left Universal Records in 2013, to become an independent artist.

Before Idols, Mark was the managing director at Meltwater SA. “It was not easy to give up a high-profile job with a good salary to fully pursue music, with no fixed income,” he says.

But his previous job has helped him keep his music business going.

“The knowledge and skills I picked up during my time as a managing director has helped me to make sound business decisions,” he says.

Mark married his wife, Shelley, in 2009, and a few years later, they had Zac. “I have always been very family orientated but I am more aware of my family since the birth of my son,” says Mark.

“When performing or touring, I find myself wondering how he is, what he is doing, even though there are hundreds of things happening at the same time.”

Mark has big plans for the future but says his focus is on staying true to his music. “I am an artist before a businessman and it’s important that it stays that way. It is easy to get swept up in the business side of the industry. I want to keep on creating and growing as an artist.”