It is a true privilege to welcome singer-actor Mark Salling to yeahstub.com.
For five seasons, he played class bully turned Air Force officer Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the groundbreaking FOX (and worldwide) phenomenon: Glee.
As Glee makes its final bow in 2015, Mark is preparing to leave his fan-favorite character and William McKinley High behind, he will trade it for a dream project that has been three years in the making: Camp Coyote.
For this edition of The Five Question Challenge, Mark shared information about Camp Coyote and how he plans to stand out in the music market.
Jacob Elyachar: What were some of your favorite memories from your time on “Glee”?
Mark Salling: I have so many memories from the show; it is very hard to pick one. (Laughs) However, if I am going to pick one…I have to say that my best memory comes from the worldwide tour. I was just overwhelmed by how popular the show was internationally. It was overwhelming to see how enthusiastic our fans were and I can tell you so many moments from the tour alone. I also enjoyed performing at the White House and seeing First Lady Michelle Obama right in front of the stage, which was very surreal, to say the least!
I feel like I have been to high school three times in my life; between going to boarding school in Indiana for my freshman and sophomore years, going to public school during my junior and senior years, and then eight years later, being on Glee.
We put our blood, sweat and tears into the first two years of Glee. We actually shot 13 episodes before it even aired on FOX! For as big as it got, it was a passion project at its core. We did not know how viewers would respond and I thought it would air only a couple of episodes and that would be it. We are all very invested in the show and did 15-17 hour days whether it rehearsing, learning choreography, or singing in the recording studio between takes. It was an emotional and physical process to say the least, but it was very rewarding!
JE: As you transition into the next chapter of your career in the entertainment industry, what are some of your goals?
MS: For the next couple of years, I want to be playing music and I am excited to launch this project that I have been working on for three years. I want the project to eventually become a show either on television or an online channel. The project ties together with a band I started called Camp Coyote. There is a whole story that is broken down into 13 episodes that is based on themes of 13 songs The band have its first show coming up at the Hotel Café on November 19 in Los Angeles. It will be the public’s first look into our group’s musical process and the Camp Coyote brand.
JE: How will your songwriting and artistry help you stand out in the music market?
MS: There are no guarantees how the audience will react to this project. To be honest, I would be satisfied if I can keep Camp Coyote to be a self-sustaining project. Personally, I believe that it could be the biggest thing in the world and believe in it a 1000-percent. My plan is to create something very unique and that straddles the medium like Glee did. Glee was not only a television show, but it also had massive successes on the Billboard Hot 100 that surpassed both Elvis and the Beatles! I want Camp Coyote to be even bigger as an episodic series, so hopefully that happens.
When the fans come to watch the live concerts, I hope they are going to enjoy one prop that is going to play a major role in the show. We have this puppet character that insults us during the show. (JE: Like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog?) Like Triumph? Absolutely! However, this puppet is going to be more like an angry elderly man named Old Man Saul. While we interact with him on the screen, our fake campfire is going to project laser lights and smoke from a fog machine. What is going to set us apart from other acts in the industry will be our unique stage show and the centerpiece of it all…our group’s harmonies and melodies.
Audiences should be able to follow Camp Coyote, no matter if they are seeing a live show or watching us online! I also want the audience to feel like they are at camp again when they see the campfire and transports them back to their childhood. I want to keep everything very positive, lively, streamlined and aesthetic. I strongly believe in this project as I go to each songwriting session and every band rehearsal! I also hope that both the heart and the passion of this project that I have shines through!
JE: Between your hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook and over 1,320,000 followers on Twitter, you have inspired countless people to follow their dreams. How has social media helped you connect with and inspire your fans?
MS: Social media is obviously the primary medium to connect with fans and show them your music or art. It is 100 percent crucial to have and it is great to get a completely universal response to whatever you post. Every now and then, I like to see who the biggest fans are! I like to interact with my fans and retweeting their tweets or tweeting at them. It is a way for me to give back to them and thank them for their support.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with an aspiring singer or an actor who wants to enter the entertainment industry, what advice would you share with them?
MS: Be persistent! Do not let any one person’s opinion change your mind or drive. There were countless of record companies that turned down the Beatles! There are a lot of people out in the industry that think they are the end-all/be-all, but they are not. Several unique people change the direction of every medium by breaking the rules all the time! Just be yourself and really pinpoint what type of artist or actor that you want to be or represent. I have been in Los Angeles for almost eight years and I played guitar and taught lessons when I first arrived in the city. It took me seven years to catch a break and landed on a certain TV show, I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to pack up and head home! But, I stayed persistent and believed in myself.
Mark will be debuting Camp Coyote at the Hotel Café on November 19, 2014 at 8 p.m.
You can follow Mark on social media by visiting his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels!