After a long-awaited couple years Boy Untitled’s (Mark Tennyson) five-part musical and visual epic has been released with the self-titled EP and accompanying illustrated book of poetry, A Wanderer’s Love Letter to the Universe. Tennyson’s tale of heart-ache, transformation and rebirth has come full circle.
With special recognition to his co-writer Rush Davis (Wolfgang Gartner, Kelly Rowland, Girl Unit), the EP’s soul-drenched lyrics and unctuous vocal dexterity take center stage over world-inspired records that jump from minimal, ethereal pop to vibrant electronica. Each chapter of this “Love Letter”, which was illustrated by Diego Eduardo, serves as your companion through its corresponding track on the EP, encouraging other wanderers to brave the first step toward positive change in their own lives.
The release culminated last week on July 12th in “The Boy Untitled Experience” a multimedia event hosted by the Ace Hotel DTLA and sponsored by Revry.tv, the world’s first all-queer streaming platform. The event also included performances by Justin Michael Williams, Madison Rose and GESS, with a night celebrating the work of a global network of queer artists, allies and collaborators whose talent contributed to the project’s creation.
We had WEHOville correspondent, Enoch Miller to get the details on what was the inspiration behind this whole project.
Enoch Miller: What was the inspiration behind your EP “Boy Untitled” and also for the title?
Mark Tennyson (Boy Untitled): I’d like to say that I knew what this project was about when I first started writing it, but in reality, these songs had more to teach me than I realized. “Boy Untitled” is my first music project, so for me, this was very much about me becoming “an artist” – whatever that means. As I worked towards that end goal, I realized that this destination I had created, really had no beginning or end. Life is a never-ending state of “becoming.” Once we “arrive,” we have the opportunity to become something new again. In order to accept this open-ended cycle in my own life, I had to let go of the personal labels that defined much of my life. This lesson was huge for me. It’s why “Boy Untitled” became not just the name of the EP, but my artist name (yes, I already changed it once. RIP M. Tennyson!). For me, being Boy Untitled means allowing myself to accept and love who I am at any given moment and giving myself permission to change it up whenever I need to.
EM: How did this EP come to be a five-part musical and visual epic?
MT (BU): This project feels like a direct reflection of the queer community and their influence in my life. When I decided that it was time to focus on music, I didn’t know where to start. I had never written music, let alone a full project. So, I started by freewriting everyday and sharing it on my social media. My friend, Love Bailey – a visual and performing artist here in the LA – had long encouraged my own artistic exploration. She asked if I would contribute my writing to one of her projects. Through this process of discovery, I organized the text in a five-part thematic structure: a journey of emotional evolution that became “A Wanderer’s Love Letter to the Universe.” Like so many things in this process, I followed “the thread,” meaning I learned how to recognize the pathway that was opening in my life. I then worked with artist Diego Eduardo to illustrate the book and the finished product is what became the road map for “Boy Untitled.” Each song is derived from one of the five parts and the corresponding visual from Diego’s illustrations. These were brought to life by long-time friend and cinematographer Pietro Torissi. I’m really grateful for all of the people and community that have guided me to this moment. I’ve learned so much about my own process because of them.
EM: What specific correlation do you hope to have between the music and visual, or are they meant to be independent?
MT (BU): The book and the EP tell parallel stories from two perspectives. The book follows a universal avatar named “The Wanderer” through their physical journey from the sea to the sky; an extended metaphor for the process of emotional evolution. The EP is my personal quest through that same process. Creating both encapsulated a lot of big life events – getting married, the death of multiple family members and through all of this, stepping into my power as an artist.
EM: What message do you hope your fans take from this new EP?
MT (BU): “You are a powerful person who is capable of creating the life that you want and the world that you want to live in. And once you do, you’re free to do it all over again in a completely different way!” I hope that people are inspired by the book and EP to examine their lives from a broader perspective. That they feel empowered to hard work and find strength in being vulnerable with themselves and their communities. Change is possible, but it requires us to be active, empathetic and forgiving of others’ mistakes and our own shortcomings. It’s from that place that I believe true growth begins.
EM: Was there a major difference in writing music to writing a book of poetry?
MT (BU): The poetry and prose of the book all came from free-writing exercises. I co-wrote the music and lyrics of EP with Rush Davis, using the text from the book as a starting point for each song.
EM: Do you feel the EP and Book are to be seen in tandem for fans to experience the full message you hope to convey or can they be just as powerful independent of one another?
MT (BU): They can definitely be experienced individually, although it’s my hope that people take the time to read/listen to both. I feel like artists more often than not, cannot control how or in what context their work is observed. And that’s ok. My goal as an artist is to create something that is transferable to others’ experiences, even if it’s only a tiny piece of my own big picture.
EM: Where can we find your new EP “Boy Untitled” and Book “A Wanderer’s Love Letter to the Universe”?
MT (BU): The EP is available on every major music platform, you can find it on Spotify here. The book is available for purchase on Blurb.com, you can click here. The easiest place to find more information about “Boy Untitled” you can go to the website www.boyuntitled.com.