Foreign, Mark Clennon’s latest effort, is out today. With this newest collection of songs, the Toronto crooner explores themes of belonging, relationship ambiguity, the deconstruction of stereotypes, and authenticity. Along with the EP, Clennon presents a music video directed by Montreal-based Christian Boakye-Agyeman for the single Stray, released last month.
On this deeply personal dancehall track, the Jamaican-born artist sings in Patois, embracing all of his culture within his music for the first time, as he speaks on infidelity and addresses the stereotype of cheating black men. The accompanying visuals follow Mark Clennon’s movements across different dynamic and vibrant sets. For the video for Stray, I wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream of producing a one take video. We spent months designing the set and organizing the different unique spaces in the video with the intention of recreating a little piece of Jamaica in Toronto. The experience itself was intimate and heartfelt, having worked with the team and Christian before on the video for Not Perfect. Having all my friends assist on set and performing in the video as well made it a truly special day for a truly special song.
Watch and share the music video for Stray via YouTube.
Foreign is available on all music services.
Co-produced by Toronto’s Rainer + Grimm (The Weeknd, Drake), alongside Joey Sherrett (Nate Husser) and Mark Clennon, Foreign follows the release of his sophomore EP Passion (2019), on which he revealed some of his deepest concerns, including emotional disappointment, lack of societal acceptance, and whether destiny will turn in his favour. With his newest effort, the crooner fully embraces his outsiderness, less concerned with appealing only to North Americans. Truly wishing to create music that his friends and family will also relate to, Mark Clennon trusts that they will connect with his high energy R&B, caribbean funk, dancehall vibes and modern soul-pop filled project.
Along with previously released tracks Stray and Don't Start A Fire, Foreign features Can’t Stop Me Now, a powerful song with an earnest message that recounts having to deal with emotional pain, but pushing through to keep going regardless. Production duo Rainer + Grimm add their magnetic touch to this track as Mark Clennon sings about overcoming heartbreak, belting out You Can’t Stop Me Now / You Can’t Stop The Page From Turning / You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore over the pulsating beat of percussions. With the entrancing rhythm of this third song, Mark Clennon carries on transporting listeners to his home country of Jamaica. The EP closes off on two remixes, courtesy of Jamaica-born and Miami-based producer and DJ The Kemist and Chilean duo Merci & Marco. While The Kemist fuses elements of reggae, dancehall, electronic, trap, and pop music into a catchy and combustible concoction of his own for the remix of Stray, Merci & Marco explore new sounds influenced by latin pop culture, reggaeton, club and afro contemporary music, giving Can’t Stop Me Now a new dimension using added percussion and an accelerated tempo.
About Mark Clennon
Born in Jamaica to a musical family, Clennon’s father was a Trenchtown-bred saxophone player, and his brother became a successful dancehall producer. Participation in Jamaican Pantomimes while growing up inspired him to take a theatrical approach to his music, which today is reflected in his aesthetics, his erratic dance moves and his compelling stage presence. The artist left his home country at age 15 and struggled to find a balance between his Jamaican roots and growing into being a Torontonian. The thriving R&B scene of the city is motivating for Clennon, though he often feels stuck between two cultures and realities, and is constantly trying to figure out how to bring together both sides. Mark Clennon makes music that is both grandiose and humble by mixing together a variety of genres. The crooner delivers honest, touching lyrics in his powerful voice over sweeping compositions. Clennon’s versatile beats and lyricism mesh together to create an empowering, emotional and captivating sound.