Raleigh, N.C. — Pay close attention to what you say next time you go to Cloos' Coney Island in Raleigh because the guy who just flipped your burger or grilled your hot dog might just be gathering material for his next album.
Mark Cloos, 24, has been involved in the family business for a decade. It is where he began to kickstart his musical career. After meeting folks in the music industry through the restaurant (Hootie and the Blowfish visited before they made it big and their manager has ties as well), Cloos knew he wanted to make music.
As a Cardinal Gibbons High School junior, he changed his focus from hip-hop to singer-songwriter after listening to his first Dave Mathews Band album. He taught himself to play guitar, piano, drums and bass.
Cloos played rhythm guitar in his first band until 2011, when he took over lead vocal duties. To really come into his own as a vocalist, Cloos played open mic nights at Deep South the Bar.
Now, he is striking out on his own as a solo artist. To help build momentum for his debut album, he is offering free downloads of his single "The Moment" - a catchy laid back pop song about seizing the day.
Cloos is finishing up his first solo album, which is expected to drop in August. He has been recording at Osceola Studios off of Capital Boulevard in Raleigh.
When he isn't recording or playing live (he has a gig at Deep South on July 3), Cloos said he is writing more songs and constantly getting inspiration from customers' conversations.
If you like what you hear, you can vote for Cloos for the Carolina Music Award for best male rock artist. It is his first nomination in the category.