EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a reprint of an article that ran on our former website. We are in the process of moving everything to one place. We hope you enjoy reading the story again.
By ELIZABETH SCHAFER, Associate Editor
Most everyone has that one friend in high school who can play some songs around a late-night bonfire. At least that is the reasoning Mt. Pleasant native Mark Daisy used when he first learned how to play the guitar.
“My plan was to just be ‘that guy’ at the bonfire who could play all the favorites amongst friends; then my playing just blossomed into creating my own music,” he explained.
Oddly enough, before age 18, Daisy had never picked up the guitar. He did play trombone, and messed around with a drum set that was given to him by his childhood neighbors, the Hafers.
Today, the 26-year-old Daisy has expanded the late-night bonfire scene into a late-night local bar scene. You can catch him at a variety of venues around the Mt. Pleasant area, mainly The Tap Room at Mt. Pleasant’s Brewing Company and Coco Joe’s on the south side of the city. Also managing the booking for all entertainment at The Blue Gator in downtown Mt. Pleasant, Daisy plays there himself about once a month.
Although still hitting the covers, Daisy now spends more time with his own music. However, one of the main reasons for seeing Daisy perform still is the covers that he does perform. Many of them are from new up-coming artists who are not easily recognizable unless you are very “in the know.”
If you catch him play at Coco Joe’s, which is a dueling piano bar, Daisy may take his turn at tickling the ivories with a few Gavin Degraw covers. Most get no radio play in the mainstream, and hearing Daisy perform them makes the experience even that more intimate. All in all, Daisy likes playing his own music the most.
“You pour your heart into your own songs, and in turn the audience can put that into the context of their own lives,” he said. “I enjoy playing my own music, but the moment has to be right. You still want the audience to feel involved and be motivated. You want them to come and request a song.”
And believe me they do.
Daisy owes most of his song-writing abilities to his college friend, Owen Riden. “I used to just sit and listen to him. Nothing ever really had any lyrics, but the melodies he was playing were amazing,” Daisy said. “He just told me to mess around with chords, not to worry what it sounded like and just go with it.”
This has proven to be sound advice. “It’s so rewarding to take circumstances in your life and turn them into a song,” Daisy said.
In mid-September, Daisy got the opportunity to open for Ryan Cabera at The Mixed Tape in Grand Rapids. “It was a really humbling and great experience, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Mt. Pleasant friends.” Getting to play his own material to a crowd of around 100 people, he has since done an interview about the show on local radio station 91.5 and has plans to return to The Mixed Tape on Dec. 14, when he plays with Rookie of the Year and The Icurus Account.
Inspired by Jack Johnson, John Mayer and more recently Parachute, Daisy’s music clearly reflects the sound of those who influenced him. Did I mention that Daisy is also an exceptional vocalist? His voice is mellow and calming and then will shake the rafters when necessary.
Having found time to receive a degree from Alma College, Daisy is now in the master’s program at Central Michigan University for cardiac rehabilitation.
All around, Daisy is a solid student, legit friend and one hell of a musician; oh yeah, he isn’t exactly hard to look at either.