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Interviews: Marc Copely

photo of Marc Copely

Marc Copely
December 2002
By: Lauren Jonik (

There is an edge that masquerades as the precipice of both darkness and light, surface and sky. Along the fine lines of triumph and tragedy breathes a distinct place--- one of new beginnings, renewed clarity, and life in the fullest sense of the word. So often, the details of the challenges we face get the attention--- the drama itself gets the glory. But, in reality, it is the quiet celebrations of the soul and the experiencing of the full spectrum of emotions that resonate with life more passionately and fully than anything else. This simple truth is beautifully showcased on Marc Copely's RCA Records debut CD, Limited Lifetime Guarantee.

With a love for performing live and a flair for song-writing, Marc Copely has been touring the country and introducing the world to his songs--- songs whose very existence reach a significance beyond merely an artist's desire for self-expression. From early in his childhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, music has been flowing through Marc's veins. Always surrounded by music in his home, Marc began playing guitar as a teenager and soon began pursuing his future in music. He played gigs around the Boston area and studied at the Berklee School of Music for a year. "I've always written songs, but I was too shy to have people hear them," explains Marc, echoing a not uncommon sentiment. "There is a vulnerability involved that is not comfortable sometimes. But, that is what is fun about it now though--- that level of discomfort." The thresh-hold of awareness of learning to embrace vulnerability as a strength is one that Marc crossed suddenly and unexpectedly while driving on a road in Maine.

Like closing your eyes and being pulled into the darkness of an unfamiliar world without the chance to realize what is happening, Marc Copely was involved in a serious car accident. In addition to the process of recovering physically from the accident, the subsequent stillness served as a huge catalyst in Marc's life. "It forces you into a different place--- one you can't get out of." It is in this space of being that a landscape of intense self-discovery reveals itself over and over through many faces and emotions. And, like spiritual alchemy, it is through the process of healing and of acceptance--- not of our limits but of our possibilities-- that unfiltered clarity and awakened creativity come to life--- two themes remarkably visible on Limited Lifetime Guarantee. As Marc explains, "What it did that was a huge positive for me is that it really made me aware that time is something to be valued highly and to use it the best I could--- which was to be a writer and to have the guts to write these songs, pour my heart out, and throw them out to people and let them decide if they like them or not. "

While Marc Copely's personal experiences inspired the eleven tracks on Limited Lifetime Guarantee, all of which were co-written by Marc and producer David Werner, the themes remain universal and varied. As a result of the path his life took, Marc explains how he grew as a writer. "I just became unafraid to express feelings--- on the record there are feelings of being in love, feelings of anger. . . I just felt that everybody feels these things and there is nothing wrong with having them all on one record. It touches a lot of different places." The first single, Surprise, begins subtly and innocently before exploding into its fullness, carrying with it witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about breaking up with someone. Backslide offers fast-paced energy and the wisdom that "anyone could be a brand new day." Right To My Head, the album's second single, reflects the tangible bliss of being in love. Crystal Clear easily evokes swirling visual imagery and as Marc describes, "it's definitely a song that is about coming through a place that is blurry and weird and having a person or a thing or an event clear their vision." The experience of working with of the musicians who contributed to the record, Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle) on drums, Dave Hull on bass, Marty Richards on percussion, Peter Scherer on keyboards and Tracy Bonham on violin, is one Marc enjoyed. "All of the people on the record are people I really admire. . . They made the songs better than they were without them."

The process of collaborating while songwriting is one that Marc Copely highly values. "It is a cool exchange to be influenced by someone else--- to make it your own as they make what you do their own." After attending a songwriter's group in France that was put together by Miles Copeland, Marc crossed paths with the legendary Carole King and later, had a chance to write with her. In the land of creativity, the playing field is always even--- every writer faces the same blank page until the words begin to flow. "As much of an honor as it was for me to have written with her and to have worked with her, it was also two songwriters sitting there coming up with something. It was an amazing experience. . . The song came together pretty fast." Marc looks forward to the prospect of continuing to write with other people in the future. "I just want to experience a lot of people's talents as part of helping my own to grow."

It is with passion to dive into life that Marc Copely gained a willingness to learn from and to use every experience to a greater advantage. "There is a quote I heard the other day, 'Sin boldly, so that grace may abound.' I feel like it is so true in the way that you make your mistakes--- because if you don't make mistakes, how do you know you're moving forward?" Though the music and vocals fit together seamlessly on every track, there is one song that particularly stands out with its level of emotional honesty and sacred simplicity: Truth And Oil. In many ways, this song could be considered the defining track of the album. All that I need, All I could be, Is surfacing like truth and oil, All that I dreamed while underneath, Is surfacing like truth and oil. There is a kind of wordless beauty when going through a challenging situation and when you're through it, rising above it, taking all you gained from it with you as you embark on every new journey, the soul knows to answer with only one word: yes.

Marc is currently performing with his band: guitarist Adam Widoff, drummer Joe Magistro, and bassist Winston Roye.

Photo by Colin Lane, courtesy of RCA Records