“A moment of eye contact can be a very powerful thing,” says Australian songwriter Mark Wilkinson. “It might last less than a second, but it can stay with you for a lifetime.”
Wilkinson’s music operates in much the same way, forging profound and enduring connections with just a subtle turn of phrase or an unexpected melodic twist. His songs quietly burrow their way into your heart, tapping into the swift currents of pain, hope, and desire that flow just below the surface of our daily lives, giving voice to the unspoken passions and anxieties that at once terrify and excite us. His brilliant new album, ‘Blue Eyed Girls,’ is the kind of spare, organic collection that instantly weaves its way into the fabric of your life: familiar like an old friend, thrilling like a new love. Tender and heartfelt, the songs conjure up the sorts of intimate scenes that usually pass by in an instant—a furtive glance, a candid confession, a clean break—slowing down time in order to examine them under a microscope and understand the ways in which a seemingly unremarkable moment can, in fact, change everything.
Wilkinson’s career itself is proof of just how powerful such moments can be. One afternoon while busking in Amsterdam’s iconic Dam Square, Wilkinson caught the ear of a producer from the prestigious RTL Late Night show, and within hours, he was booked to appear live on Dutch national television. His performance that night reverberated around the country, sending his music rocketing up the charts and his name trending across social media. Another busking session in Wilkinson’s native Sydney drew the attention of an advertising executive on a lunch break, and sure enough, Wilkinson’s music was soon soundtracking a massive Nescafe campaign.
“It’s such a real and raw experience to be out on the street sharing your music with complete strangers,” he explains. “I originally started busking out of frustration because I just always wanted to be performing, but I actually found busking to be a really powerful way to connect with people.”
Wilkinson has always been a magnetic live performer, and through relentless international touring and busking, he managed to sell more than 70,000 copies of his self-released CDs, rack up millions of streams on Spotify, and build up a devoted audience that pushed his most recent full-length, ‘Wasted Hours,’ to the #1 spot on Australia’s independent albums chart. Upon making his American debut, Wilkinson was named SiriusXM’s Discovery of the Year, and he earned spots on bills with everyone from Brian Wilson to Peter Frampton to Seal.
“I went from performing to groups of less than 100 people at some gigs to performing on stage in front of thousands, which was obviously a completely different experience” says Wilkinson. “Watching those bigger artists perform taught me not to be overawed by the size of the show, though. At the end of the day, the gig is still all about connecting with listeners on a personal level.”
In the end, that’s what ‘Blue Eyed Girls’ is all about, too. It’s a chance to connect, to reflect, to see each other and ourselves clearly, if only for a moment. A moment, after all, can change everything.