Raised by a jazz vocalist father, Mark G. Meadows was encouraged to play piano at an early age and he quickly showed a strong propensity for music. When he was 14, he played a classical piece at a church, and he was offered a job to play for the gospel choir.
“I played for them and started picking up jazz when I was about 15, and loved it. But when it was time to go to college, I made the decision that I didn’t want to go for music,” he says. “But after two years at Johns Hopkins University, I missed it so much that I reapplied to the Peabody Conservatory and I ended up doing a double degree program with psychology at Johns Hopkins and jazz piano at Peabody.”
After graduating, he moved to D.C. and took a job as a teacher at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and he started to make a name for himself as a singer and musician in the area’s jazz scene.
“I started to get my foot in the door and make some connections to eventually lead my own band,” he says. “I love doing what I’m doing. I split my time between performing with my band, performing with some other groups in the area, I’m involved in the theater world now, and I also teach at American University.”
Fronting the band, Mark G. Meadows & The Movement, he has a new five-single EP called Be The Change set to come out on July 11. That same day, Meadows will hold a record release concert at AMP by Strathmore.
“It’s going to be an amazing, interactive show that combines everything that I consider myself as an artist,” Meadows says. “It will have genres of jazz and gospel and funk, plus folk, rock and rap. One thing I pride myself on is being an artist who can successfully bring together different cultures from different kinds of life. That’s what my music reflects and what my artistry reflects.”
Be The Change contains five songs and takes its name from Mahatma Gandhi’s notable quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The tracks include the title song, Meadows’ original “Go,” featuring acclaimed vocalist Christie Dashiell, plus reimagined covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and “Overjoyed” and a groove version of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.”
“This project is the culmination of what I’ve been doing the past 2-3 years since I released my last album,” Meadows says. “I did some of the tracks at Bias Studios in Springfield, and some at Crab Shack Music in Alexandria, and all the musicians are local, DC artists.”
Signature Theatre audiences will know Meadows from his starring work in Jelly’s Last Jam and Ain’t Misbehavin’, as well as performing in several of the theater’s cabarets.
“Ever since I made the leap into the theater world, I started doing cabarets with music by Stevie Wonder and Nat King Cole and been arranging a lot of music,” he says. “That’s part of what helped me put this new release together. I put a lot of the highlights on the EP.”
Mark G. Meadows & The Movement also features Deacon Izzy (vocals/rap), John Lee (guitar), CV Dashiell (drums) and Eliot Seppa (bass).
Catch a glimpse of his newest single, “Be The Change” here.
Mark G. Meadows & The Movement appear at AMP by Strathmore at 8 p.m., July 11. For tickets visit https://www.ampbystrathmore.com/live-shows/mark-g-meadows.