Mark Ballas has been a professional dancer for all 12 seasons of the ABC reality dancing competition, “Dancing with the Stars,” but what fans may not know is that he is also a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist in his own right.
In 2011, he also garnered a Primetime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Choreography” for three of his routines on the show.
According to Ballas, he remarked, “I am really grateful and happy to be in the situation that I am, whether I get to perform or play music or dance for fans and people every day. That keeps me motivated and it inspires me to work harder. You can always learn something. As an artist, whether you are a musician or a dancer or whatever other field you are in, you will never know it all, and as long as you keep an open mind you can learn something new. I always want to be better and improve every single day.”
On his forthcoming studio album, he collaborated with producers from The Timbaland Camp which included Wizz Dumb and Jim Beanz, The Stereotypes and Songwriters Jozzy, BC Jean and Clarence Coffee, Jr. “We are close to finishing it now, so the next step is mixing and picking songs that are definitely going to make it. It’s been a great process since over the last two years we recorded about 30 songs and we narrowed it down to 15 that we like, but we are still not sure how many are going to make the final cut,” he said. “It was really fun working with The Timbaland Camp and I was excited to keep the producers of the record to a minimum so that the album would have a sonic flow to it. We have a great rapport and chemistry together and we are all on the same wavelength. Everybody was really honest with each other and we have that open relationship which is something I think is really essential when you are making music.”
Ballas foreshadowed that the new CD is going to have essences of flamenco and funk music, but it will still be a pop album. “There will be lots of live instrumentation which is really cool and the arrangements are really interesting and different about it,” he said. “This is the first full studio album that I have done, so I am excited about it. It definitely has a sonic flow and all the songs flow together. Each song is unique in its own sense and it feels like a consistent album which is what I was trying to achieve with this record.”
As of yet, his new CD does not have a title, but he hopes to have this album out for his fans within the “next couple of months” or early next year. “I would love to tour and I would like to be out doing shows and perform my music in front of other people and reach out to fans. I just want to keep on inspiring people,” he said.
On January 27, 2012, Ballas performed a solo concert, backed by his acoustic guitar player Dylan Chambers, which was well-received at The Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, New York. “I had a great time at that show,” he admitted.
The dancing sensation revealed that Chambers is still playing guitar for him and he turned 21 last week. “Dylan is so talented,” Ballas acknowledged.
He is extremely excited for the upcoming 17th season of “Dancing with the Stars” and he noted that he should be finding out “all the calls within the next couple of days.” “I still haven’t heard anything yet,” he said.
The official cast announcement is expected to be made on “Good Morning America” on September 4.
During season 16 of “Dancing with the Stars,” Ballas was paired up with gymnast Alexandra “Aly” Raisman and they came in fourth place out of 11 contestants. “It’s all good. The fact that I got Aly that far was a huge accomplishment for me, since she never danced before and she really struggled with the musicality. I think the journey that she had and the improvements that she showed were amazing,” he said.
Finally, he opened up about his Mark Ballas Foundation, which was created in memory of his late uncle, David Rich, who died from suicide. Their goal is to raise awareness of suicide prevention. “I wanted to work on a foundation that would help people that are struggling with depression and it is still developing. I am hoping that in a couple of years it will turn into something bigger,” he said.
For more information on Mark Ballas and his latest endeavors, visit his official website.