Mark Ambor on Songwriting, Social Media, and New Music

Mark Ambor is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Pleasantville, NY.


Photos by Shervin Lainez

Ambor built a fanbase posting covers and demos of original music on TikTok, with a sneak-peak of his latest single, "The Long Way," accumulating over a million views.



"The Long Way" is a catchy coalescence of danceable rhythm tracks, energizing guitar riffs, and an emotive pop vocal performance. The single's positivity is infectious; every beat and nuance is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Ambor's strength as a producer shines through with each dynamic shift and thoughtful instrumental arrangements. The hook of "The Long Way" highlights Ambor's unique vocal quality and knack for hit-songwriting.


We spoke with Mark Ambor about songwriting, social media, new music, and more. Read the full interview below and check out "The Long Way." Let us know what you think.


 

Where are you based? What is the music scene like there?

I’m from a small town in Westchester, NY called Pleasantville. Growing up, and pretty much still today, there’s no music scene here. There's the occasional friend that dabbles in songwriting or is great at playing an instrument, but for the most part I never really felt like there were people around me to collaborate with.


Who or what inspired you to start playing and writing music?

That’s kind of hard to say. There wasn’t really a “hero” or anything like that. I’ve played piano my whole life and never really sang for anyone. But, the summer before going into college I was feeling extremely lost and sad, and for whatever reason that day I decided I wanted to try to write a song. I recorded it on voice memos so I wouldn’t forget it and went to work that night. I was feeling pretty proud of it and decided to send it in a group chat to my parents, who at the time weren’t very good with technology. A few hours later my mom responded, “Who’s this artist? Dad and I love this song.” That was the moment that I realized maybe I was onto something.

"A few hours later my mom responded, 'Who’s this artist? Dad and I love this song.' That was the moment that I realized maybe I was onto something."

What role has social media played in your music career so far?

It has played one of the biggest roles. The exposure that TikTok has given me has been the catalyst of all the interest I’ve received and the reason that this past year has been such a wild ride. Being an undiscovered artist and being able to reach so many people for free has made all the difference.

How important do you think a social media presence is for artists in general?

I think it’s pretty important but not everything. The quality of the music is always first. If you don’t have good songs, social media will do nothing for you. It’s really about finding the right balance between pushing your songs and showing who you are, while not letting the negative aspects of social media consume your life.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Coldplay has always been my North Star influence. I love how all of their albums are unique yet still amazing. I also love the energy Chris Martin brings to everything. Some other influences for this upcoming music have been Bleachers, Dayglow, and Lorde.

How would you describe your sound?

I don’t really like describing my music in terms of references or other artists. Moreover, I want my music to make listeners feel like they’re at a great music festival with their friends on a really nice day. I want it to feel like togetherness and community. I want it to be something that people can scream in the car with their windows down and jump up and down to. Above all else, I want it to make people feel the deep joy you get in your stomach when you realize that you’re not alone. There's a certain magic to that feeling.


"Above all else, I want it to make people feel the deep joy you get in your stomach when you realize that you’re not alone."

Tell us about your latest single, “The Long Way." What’s it about?

To me, “The Long Way,” as well as the songs that I’ll be releasing in the coming months, are all about the journey these past two years have been for me. They’re my attempt to understand coming of age and life for what it is. “The Long Way” is specifically about truly great things taking a long time. Although in the moment it can be frustrating that you can't instantly achieve what you want, I think anything gotten too easy never turns out to be worth it in the end.

"Although in the moment it can be frustrating that you can't instantly achieve what you want, I think anything gotten too easy never turns out to be worth it in the end."

Describe your songwriting process.

Well, when I’m doing everything on my own, I usually come up with a riff on piano or guitar. Sometimes I’ll dive into logic and start producing the riff out to get some more inspiration, but sometimes just the piano or guitar on its own is good enough to write to. I don’t really like “concepts” because to me they create this pressure of having to come up with a mind blowing idea. So once I have the riff, I start humming melodies. I keep humming and humming until the humming turns into mumbling and then words start to come. I’ll latch onto a word or phrase that comes out and start building a song around it. Before I know it, I have a song that I feel like I subconsciously wrote. It genuinely came out of my head to the riff that I was playing over and over again. It might sound insane but it feels magical.

What do you think is the secret to writing a great song?

I guess there’s no real answer to that but I’d say in general I think people can get too heady about song concepts or ideas. I think the songs that resonate the most are very simple and quite clear in what they’re saying.

How did you choose the single’s cover art?

The single artwork for “The Long Way” is actually just the start to the cover art that will keep evolving with each new single that drops in the coming months... stay tuned!

What are the last three songs you listened to?

“Let’s Get Married” by Bleachers, “She Moves in Her Own Way" by The Kooks, and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

What’s next for Mark Ambor?

More songs to blast in your car with the windows down!

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

I run on oat milk lattes.