[Aural Reports] Tunes Are San Clemente Singer/Songwriter Mark Siet's Drug of Choice

Guitar Man
Tunes are Mark Siet's drug of choice

It’s your duty as an American to listen to singer/songwriter Mark Siet.

How long have you played music?

I’ve been playing music professionally—it’s tough for me to say this—for over 40 years. I started out between New York City and Philadelphia for 15 years. I started playing guitar when I was 10. It’s been a lifetime passion. No matter how good I think I am, I know I can be better. I know I can never quite catch the rabbit, but I have a lot of fun trying.

When did you start writing your own songs?

When I was 25. The songs I wrote at that time were the sort of songs a young man would write when he doesn’t get the girl. What I thought was, “Why am I writing songs about things I’m not going to have? Let me write songs about things I want.” That changed my musical and writing career. I realized that I was in control of my destiny. I wrote a magical song about this woman. Six months later I married her, and we’ve been together for over 27 years. She’s an artist, painter and photographer, and if you look around our home, her pictures are on our walls, and every night I sing songs to her. The magic of songwriting is that if you do it with the intention of producing something not just good musically, but good in your life, good things happen. Musically, I seek harmony through dissonance, but lyrically I seek harmony through positive things. I have bookshelves full of songs. I write 50 to 100 songs a year. Songwriting is about trusting your feelings. When I write a song, I never second-guess myself.

When did you come to Orange County?

I moved to California about 20 years ago. What I found is that for the first time, I was in a place where my music could take root, and it could grow because of the big sky and the sun and the sea. I was always looking for expansion in my music and unlimited possibilities, and I found the California dream is entirely what you make it. I must have written 50 songs sitting on the beach. San Clemente is an island of serenity. There’s inspiration everywhere.

What have you been working on lately?

I’m collaborating with people I’ve met on MySpace. I’m collaborating with a gal from Russia, an opera singer of all things, an ambient artist from England, a bass player from Brazil, and a flugelhorn player from Chicago. I also want to work with my brother, who’s a jazz pianist in New Jersey. I love technology. Some people go out in their garage and fix their car, bang on their wood, play in their garden. I come home from work and I’ve got the guitar. If you listen to a song and it puts you in a different mood, that’s because the music changed the vibration of your thinking. That’s the purpose of both my music and the writing that I do. I have two ebooks out that are new age, spiritual kind of self-help books, though I hate the term “new age.” I also have a novel which I’ve written, which I’ve also written a script for. They work together. I sometimes lose the ability to say something without singing it, and vice versa.

There’s a song called “Let Freedom Ring” on your MySpace page. What’s that about?

It’s not political at all. It says that there’s an American spirit here, which is incredible. It cannot be stopped, no matter what. It goes beyond the people. It lives in the soil, in the land, in the actual essence of it. There is a joy to being an American. I sent that song to the first Bush, and Clinton. I didn’t send it to the second Bush. I’m still mad at him, so I couldn’t send it to him. I think that every American should hear that song. Look at this freedom. In China, they have a contrived freedom, but here we have the real deal, despite all the crap that goes on. “Let Freedom Ring” is a celebration of that.

For more information, visit jjslim.com, marksiet.com and myspace.com/marksiet.

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