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Name: Mark Cable

When did you start playing music? I started in college. I (went to) Bloomsburg (University). I was majoring in accounting, but I was involved in a group called FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). That kind of got me up in front of people. I got up enough courage to write a song or two and started singing them for those folks. Little by little, (they) encouraged me to do a little more. I wasn't really studying music, per se.

What inspires you to write music? One of my influences as far as songwriting . . . is my family and . . . just struggles in everyday life. I try to write from a biblical kind of standpoint. Mostly, I sing at churches, conferences and Christian colleges. They're songs to inspire and encourage. The main thing I want people to do is think.

Who are some of your influences? Early on, a guy named Randy Stonehill. . . was a big influence on me. I had all his records. (Laughs) I was a big Jim Croce fan. I like . . . acoustic guitar players like Steven Curtis Chapman. There are a lot of them. Michael Kelly Blanchard is a really good songwriter. His stuff challenged me to write differently.

Is there are place you like to play? I don't want to make all the churches I don't mention mad. (Laughs) My home church, Grace Fellowship (in North Codorous Township), has me for a concert every year or so. That's always kind of a highlight. It's a little more pressure too because it's folks (I) know. Littlestown Chapel (in Littlestown) has had me in numerous times for a coffeehouse for adults. It's a targeted audience. It's a whole lot easier singing for people your age.

Are there any other local artists you like? I don't go to a lot of events. When I finally have a night off I go, "Let's do something other than music." I have six kids, and that keeps me very busy.

Are any of your kids involved in music? I have a daughter, four sons and then a daughter. My oldest is 21. Her name is Bethany. She has sung on my last eight CDs as a background vocalist. She's very talented. She's really involved in our music program at church. She plays piano and guitar. My sons are more into basketball.

Tell us about the award you were recently nominated for. I joined this online community of independent artists called IndieHeaven.com. I'm actually kind of new to this. I've been (playing music) for 26 years, but I just joined this Web site in August. They have Momentum Awards (every year). It's the kind of thing where there's online voting, and there's a panel that does some of the selecting. It's my first year, so I'm kind of new. I'm hoping I do well. There are people from all over the country and even from other countries . . . who are members. It's a wide spectrum of folks in the independent music scene.

Has the Christian music scene changed over the years and has the music become more widely accepted? It's definitely becoming more popular. don't have a record label. Churches are more and more open to inviting people in to do concerts and are using music ministry as a way to reach out to people.

What is coming up for you in the future? I feel very fortunate to be able to have done this for a living. I enjoy that it's varied. Sometimes (the audience is) youth. Sometimes, it's adult. Sometimes, it's a whole church. I don't mind the travel. I think God wired me that way. Earlier on, I had aspirations of getting signed. I know numerous artists that signed a big deal and sold a lot of CDs compared to me, but not (the amount) the company wanted. I'm pretty content on being independent. I like the flexibility.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF

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