Mark Vincent Pence never thought as a child that he would one day make a living with music. Little did he know that, flash forward to adulthood, he would not only be playing music professionally, but also writing, arranging, composing and producing it.
The Cedar Rapids-based musician was introduced to the piano at age five, an introduction that certainly made an impression. Playing for fun throughout most of his childhood, Mark had his aha moment when he played his high school’s Sadie Hawkins dance after graduation with his first band, The Seventh Level.
From there his career took off and he moved to Cedar Rapids to pursue his passion full-time. ”I was about 21 years old and really just stepped into it,” he recalls. ”It was nice to make a living playing music.” With 3 years playing The Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Mark stepped into performing five nights a week as the house musician at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1981.
In 1987 he began performing with the internationally known Christian rock band, FIGHTER. For nearly seven years he and the band toured together, recording some charting hits in the national top 10 on Christian radio. The group recorded two albums before breaking up in 1993.
Though they broke up, Mark didn’t give up. He lived up to the band’s name and continued fighting for a full-time musical career, moving into the realm of producing and recording albums for various independent artists throughout the Midwest.
In 1997 his home studio was built, where he began to engage in a more corporate path. That path led him in the direction of one of his musical mainstays writing television and radio jingles.
”It’s the next best thing to having a songwriting deal with a major label,”he says of jingle writing. ”I look at each one as an opportunity to write a hit song for that client…
Mark has written and produced numerous local and national jingles, some with which you may be familiar. ”Fixed right, fixed fast Boubin!” Ring a bell? His national work is the result of his relationship with OTM Music®.
In addition to jingle writing, Mark has also composed TV theme songs and soundtracks for independent films. His current focus is to expand and record some of his 60-plus original compositions. ”I’ve done a lot of albums for other people, but I’ve never recorded my own music,” he states. ”I want to start putting myself out there as a recording artist. I want to try to get to the next level as a songwriter.”
There is no question that Mark will achieve this next level through his determination and drive to succeed, combined with his modesty and humility about his talents. When asked about his greatest accomplishment, the humble Mark replies: “I don’t think I’ve had it yet. I consider myself a journeyman in what I do. My inspiration is that I’ve been given a talent by God and I want to use it the best way I can to touch people’s lives.”