Honour for Kiwi singer

HONOURED: Pop singer Mark Williams, who hails from Dargaville, will be among other big names in the ROCKONZ Hall of Fame.
HONOURED: Pop singer Mark Williams, who hails from Dargaville, will be among other big names in the ROCKONZ Hall of Fame.

NEW ZEALAND pop singer and one of Dargaville's favourite sons Mark Williams will be inducted into the ROCKONZ Hall of Fame on Friday.

He will be in the company of such Kiwi music icons as Ray Columbus, Max Merrit1 and the Meteors, Johnny Devlin, Dinah Lee, Tap Hepari, Frankie Stevens, Suzanne Lynch and other leading New Zealand singers and musicians.

Speaking to the Dargaville & Districts News from Sydney, the modest 56-year-old front man to iconic New Zealand band Dragon, which is also being inducted, says it was a surprise when he was told he was being put up for the accolade.

KIWI MUSIC: Dragon, the iconic Kiwi band that Williams now fronts, will also be recognised.
KIWI MUSIC: Dragon, the iconic Kiwi band that Williams now fronts, will also be recognised.

"I've actually tried not to think about it. But it's happening in Christchurch and it's great that Dragon are being inducted as well," he says.

Williams is glad for the band's founders that is is being recognised. Former frontman Mark Hunter has died and Hunter's brother Todd is still with the band.

Williams attributes a lot of his survival in the entertainment business to his partner, dancer Pam Beadle, and the couple's daughter only child Taylor Beadle-Williams, 21.

She is carving out her own musical career with band Junk and a bachelor of arts degree majoring in music.

Williams says life with Pam and Taylor has been a sanctuary when off stage and he champions Pam for her belief that fans "get over" famous people, when they are out there among them.

"When the song Show No Mercy was released, everything went a bit crazy and it's when people hide themselves away that they become a novelty, as people aren't used to seeing them except on TV or the stage," he says.

He says that the Hall of Fame accolade is usually what people get to "mark the end of your career".

But he has no intention of chucking in the towel yet.

Williams says Dragon is fully committed and expects it will be for some time with the band expecting to come north next summer.

"We expect to come up to Paihia then, so I may get to visit home while up that way," he says.

For himself, Williams is still writing songs and is at present co-writing with Wellington songwriter Bruce Maginis.

However, the words don't come easily to him.

Williams, who says his career drive is just as strong today as it was when he began, started out as a school-boy musician and singer.

"I had this dream when I was five-years-old but I forgot about it and then it dawned on me at high school again." However, he believes that his parents never really understood what he wanted to do for a career.

"I'd get up there and sing in small public situations – a bit like karaoke – but I don't think there was any thought of it actually becoming a life choice then," Williams says.

He is glad that his parents saw him succeed before they died but Williams says his mother found attending his concerts "too emotional".

"They were great parents and we grew up poor," he says.

Williams says getting to this stage in his career has been a "long and winding road" and not always easy, especially when he once mysteriously lost the use of his voice – even to talk.

"They call it sublux – apparently a condition where the vocal chords are not coming together."

Mark Williams will be receiving the ROCKONZ International Star award.

ROCKONZ spokeswoman Cecile Murphy says: "The point of the awards is to recognise musicians and performers who have risen to be top journeymen and women of their trade in the fields of rock, pop or country rock music and is a celebration of our distinctive Kiwi culture."

Performers are nominated by the public and must meet criteria to receive an award.

Dargaville News