FEATURING MARK JOHN HARIMAN
In the midst of a flourishing local industry, musician, recording engineer and educator Mark John Hariman contemplates his involvement in the music scene where his love for guitar bloomed. Through his own curiosity, which inclined a passion for self-exploration, Hariman undertook many steps that arose when creating music.
From his debut events, a taste for performing grew from the simple sentiment of enjoyment alongside the profound connection a performer feels with their audience. “For those 30-45 minutes , it’s like you're in a relationship with the audience, and you want them to know what you're thinking, how you're feeling. And hopefully, they’d reciprocate.” explained MJ, who has played with local musicians. These includes Charlie Lim, Jon Chan, These Brittle Bones, Inch Chua, Sezairi Sezali, DEON, Tall Mountains and Jaime Wong.
Rich with appreciation, he explained how his first foray into co-producing and recording was with Inch Chua. “I’ve picked up many valuable lessons from that time and I’m very grateful to her for giving me that opportunity.” Likewise, his work with Charlie Lim was equally enriching and through Lim’s talent, Hariman highlighted how he was driven with compulsion to become a better musician. He further elucidated how rewarding those times have been with “they’re all such a joy to work with and I’ve learnt so much from them.”
Besides inspirations closer to home, Hariman vividly recalled the moments his passion began by describing his 3 year old self in 1987, singing to the album ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson. 12 years on, Hariman picked up his first guitar. “I liked this girl then, and I was very determined to learn Extreme's hit 'More Than Words' so that I could impress her. It didn't quite work out, but hey at least I got hooked on playing guitar!” said the musician. “When people were busy studying, my friend and I were in the school canteen, me playing guitar and him singing songs.”
It wasn’t long before the joys of human interaction kept him hooked on teaching which begun with a sense of financial practicality aiding his studies, “I live for those moments when my students get that ‘a-ha!’ moment. It truly is priceless.” said Hariman, adding another skill to his many others, which have contributed, sometimes behind the scenes, to the Singaporean music over the past years.
“Being in the States, you feel very much like a small fish in a large pond. Make that an ocean!” Hariman said when reminiscing his work in LA that taught him the indispensable advice to be ready at the drop of a coin. He then modestly revealed that he has supported Katy Perry, Vampire Weekend and Macy Gray proving anything can be around the corner. Hariman used the recent sold out Gentle Bones concert to illustrate an increasing appreciation for home-grown music, bringing forward the encouraging idea that Singaporeans are beginning to more fully support music made in Singapore. Although a small nation, Hariman explained “we have amassed a myriad of influences. And that’s all going to go into the creative melting pot.”