Downers Grove native Scott Marek is an aspiring country singer/songwriter/bandleader ready to up his game.
"It's so much fun to get up on stage and sing," said Marek. "Hopefully everyone is listening, and as long as that continues to climb as it has been, I don't see why I should turn back."
Now living in Bloomington, Marek just released his first original single. The leader of the Scott Marek Band said "Can't Wait" is about a woman he met that lives far away.
"It's about us trying to make that work," said Marek."
When pushed to reveal how he sees himself and his band in the next five years, Marek said he'd love to have a charting song being played on the radio.
"I would hope it would happen sooner rather than that, but that would be my five year goal."
Marek came to country music in suburban Chicago through his mother, who would listen to Chicago's booming country radio stations. The down-to-earth lyrical vibe is what stuck with him at a young age.
"It's real situations and stuff I can relate to," said Marek. "So from a performing standpoint, the crowds are very fun to be around. We play a lot a lot of venues that serve alcohol. It's so much fun because they're all letting loose and having a good time. There's usually never any problems among the crowd, it's typically just a fun time."
Downers Grove seems an unlikely place for a post-2000s teen to latch onto country music, and Marek conceded other forms of music get more attention where he grew up. But he said many would be surprised there are a handful of country cover bands that make the rounds in that area.
"They play the same bars and venues we play," said Marek. "I think there's enough of a following there. Their big shows still do well, like Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, and Allstate Arena. Those venue all do well with country music."
Marek would love nothing better than to play one of those storied venues one day. Right now he's plugging away at his day job while trying to find his way in the music business. Knocking on clubs and venues can be exhausting and dispiriting, but he said he's up for the challenge. And hoping the new single "Can't Wait" is an indicator of what's to come.
"I don't know if this is going to be the 'huge' song on the upcoming album," said Marek. "But hopefully in the next year we'll be releasing a five-song EP. And we've just entered into a songwriting competition with this song."
The Scott Marek Band plays Six Strings Club in downtown Bloomington on July 22. They play the Firewater Bar & Grill in Jacksonville, Illinois, on July 29.
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