Ones To Watch 2023 – INTERVIEW – Mark Erelli

It is that time of the year where we celebrate the acts that you need to keep an eye on in 2023. It is an exciting time of the year as it means we can talk to acts to find out what they have in store for audiences and what you can look forward to in the new year. Today we speak to musician Mark Erelli about plans for this year and a new album.

Hello Mark us all about yourself!

I’ve been a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist sideman/producer from the Boston area for 23 years and running. I’ve got 12 albums to my name and my 13th record, Lay Your Darkness Down, comes out on Feb 3, 2023. I perform in a variety of formats, sometimes solo or with small duo or trio ensembles, all the way up to the big 5-piece rock n’ roll band. 

How was 2022 for your – what were the highlights?

The big story for me in 2022 was a very successful Kickstarter campaign that I launched to fund the release of my upcoming 2023 album. I went public with some personal news, sharing my 2020 diagnosis with the inherited retinal disease retinitis pigmentosa, and my audience really came through for me. I am slowly going blind, a process that starts with pretty severe night blindness, so I can’t see very well in nearly all of the conditions that I typically work under. I felt very exposed and vulnerable, but having an invisible disability means you have to constantly advocate for yourself because people can’t easily see what you’re struggling with. I was nervous about telling people, but the support has been overwhelming.

How did you get into music? 

I’ve been into music ever since MTV came on the air in 1981. I was just a big fan for many years, but in junior high I started acting and singing in school musicals, in high school I formed rock bands with my friends, and when I went off to college, I started writing my own songs and performing acoustically at campus coffeehouses.

What are your plans for 2023?

I’m really excited to tour behind my upcoming album Lay Your Darkness Down, which will be released early next year. I’ve never felt more in sync with the musicians I’m playing with, and the material feels powerful and relevant, both to me and my audience. I’ll be playing everywhere we can, hopefully getting back to places I’ve not been able to visit for some time, like the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking forward to taking the band to some summertime festivals as well.

What other bands and musicians are you looking forward to seeing perform this year?

I play guitar in Lori McKenna’s band, and she’s got a new record coming out next year that I’m excited to hear and help bring to life in concert. Josh Ritter also has a new record in the pipeline that I’m excited about. At this point, I’m mainly interested and excited about seeing and supporting my friends as they do what they do best.


What styles do you hope to see more of in music his year?

I don’t really waste much time thinking about musical styles. I think about great songs, regardless of genre. So that’s what I am looking forward to hearing more of in the coming year: more great songs.

What band is your ones to watch in 2023 and why?

My buddy Alisa Amador, who I actually share a manager with, is probably going to have her first full-length release out next year. She’s a really dynamic, radiant, young artist—she won the 2022 NPR Tiny Desk Concert—and it’s going to be really exciting to see the statement she makes on a full album. As much praise and attention has come her way, I think she’s really only scratched the surface of what she’s capable of and I can’t wait to see how she evolves as an artist.

Do you have any new years resolutions? If so what are they?

I’m not a “new year’s resolution” kind of guy. I strive for consistency in my dedication to the people I love and the things I believe in doing. If I’ve got to remind myself to be better at those things, then I’ve got bigger problems that need to be addressed.

Are you on social media? If so how can people find out more about your troupe?

Yes, I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram at the links below:

Twitter: @markerelli


YouTube: @mark-erelli

Three words why people should come and see you this year?

Passion, hope & rock n’ roll


The movie or television show you are looking forward to seeing this year?

Yellowjackets, season 2

Your favourite book?

The Overstory by Richard Powers

One thing you will always remember about 2022?

I ran a very successful Kickstarter to support the release of my new record, so I will always remember the generosity of my fans who made that happen.

If you could paint anything what would you paint? 


What is the most delightful word you can think of?

Pamplemousse, the French word for ‘grapefruit.’

Favourite album?

The Band’s self-titled second album


Where would you love to go on holiday this year?

Back to the American West


What is your favourite quote from a television show?

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that…” from Seinfeld

Who is your favourite film character and why?

Luke Skywalker. You can’t compete with the first movie you fall in love with as a kid.

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