Past the Press Release is an interview series featuring a new member of a professional Southern Gospel group. It’s a chance to look past the standard “excited to be here” press release comment and learn a little more about them. In years past, you may have met Mark Clark when he was filling in or singing backup for former Inspirations tenor Archie Watkins. Now it’s his turn to fill that legendary role. Let’s get to know him a little better!

Daniel: Let’s start with a little background. Did you grow up around Gospel Music, or did you discover it as an adult?

Mark: I was introduced to Southern Gospel Music through my parents. They took me to singings when I was a child because they had no one to keep me. I remember going to see such groups as the Kingsmen, Gold City, McKameys, and yes even the Inspirations. My favorite group was the Kingsmen (sorry Martin). The songs they sang with that Southern Gospel beat really grabbed my attention.

I was 27 years old the first time I sang in front of people, it was in our church. I was so nervous I started off singing with my back to the audience with my pants legs visibly shaking. After the shock, I sang for 9 years with my wife and another couple, we called ourselves Vessels of Praise. In 2004, Melton Campbell called me and asked if I would be interested in singing tenor in his group called Common Garments. I accepted. I was introduced to the Inspirations through Melton.

Daniel: What sparked your desire to sing Gospel Music?

Mark: I have always said that I was born in the wrong generation. I love the harmonies of 4 part singing. The only music that fits that style is southern gospel. I would rather sing harmony than do a solo any day.

Daniel: This actually isn’t your first time on The Inspirations bus; I recall seeing you with the group before, in March 2007, assisting Archie. How long were you the assistant or backup Inspirations tenor?

Mark: I helped Archie off and on from 2005 through the first part of 2008. Daron Osborne and I rotated on that duty. The opportunity was so awesome. I was singing with a living legend. Since his beginning, very few had been given such an honor.

Daniel: Do you have an all-time favorite Inspirations album and/or song?

Mark: My favorite album of the Inspirations is “I Know” because I helped with that project while Archie was out. Archie actually sang on the recording. I had a part in working out the harmonies.

Daniel: Could you tell us a little about your family and about interests or hobbies you have outside of music?

Mark: Well I have been married to my wife, Gay, for 25 years this September and she supports me in my singing and travels. I have two children, daughter, Yancey, 21 and son, Hunter, 16. I love to hunt, fish and play golf in what little spare time I have.

I love singing with the Inspirations because the guys are a lot of fun. There is never a dull moment on the bus. Also, with the schedule we have, I am able to make it back for church 95% of the time. Church is very important to me and my family.

Daniel: Thank you!