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ARKY MARK, was born in 1971 as Mark Wahlberg and initially had a promising music career with Interscope Records in America. His older brother Donnie, a former member of 1980s boy-band New Kids On The Block, organised the deal and set up Mark's band called The Funky Bunch. Their first album Music For The People was released in 1991 and became a major success, but the follow-up a year later, entitled You Gotta Believe received luke-warm reception. Interscope also underwent a change in management and with it their publishing style; concentrating instead on artists like Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, thereby putting Marky Mark's singing career on hold.

However Mark's rather notorious on-stage performances ensured he was still a popular figure, and he was soon offered the lucrative job of lead-model for the advertising-campaign of Calvin Klein underwear. Yet music was always close to his heart, which resulted in him eventually contacting his record company in Germany to ask whether they had anything for him. Jürgen Otterstein, who was running EastWest Records at the time, got permission from Interscope for Mark to work on an album in Germany.

Image courtesy Funky Vibe Productions
Mark (centre) flanked by Frank Peterson (right) and Alex Christensen (left) at the Gold Record party for Happy People on 19 February 1994.
Image courtesy Funky Vibe Productions
Mark (centre) shares a joke with Frank Peterson (left), Joe (right)
Image courtesy Funky Vibe Productions
Frank Peterson (far left) , Mark and Joe (right)

The Marky Mark project was pitched first to Alex Christensen by EastWest Records. Alex and Frank Peterson had by then already known one another for close on three weeks and the two decided that this could be their first project together. But it was determined that a foil was needed for Mark's rapping and so, only then was Prince Ital Joe brought in for the two to perform on the album Life In The Streets.

Joe was born in Dominica as Joe Paquette and lived mostly in Los Angeles. He wrote all his own reggae-lyrics for the album, with references to politics and Dominica as well as co-producing the song Love Of A Mother.

Mark too wrote his own rap-lyrics, describing many of his personal experiences from growing up as a reckless youth in Boston to his stint with Calvin Klein.

Along with Mark's expert rapping and Joe's ragamuffin vocals, three female singers (Bridget Fogle, Linda Fields and Melina Bruhn) provided the powerful choruses for the songs supported by The London Gospel Community Choir.

The album's first single, the anthem-style track United took Europe by storm — as did the other singles: Happy People and the album's title-track Life In The Streets. Because of the astounding popularity, The Remix Album was released in 1995.

With this success Mark was able to start his third career as an actor, performing in "Renaissance Man" (which featured three songs from Life in the Streets), "The Basketball Diaries", "Boogie Nights", "The Perfect Storm", "Three Kings" and the remake of "Planet Of The Apes" amongst others.

Joe continued his solo musical career, sadly though on 16 May 2001 he died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Currently it appears that Mark will continue acting rather than singing, although rumour has it that he may one day get back into music.
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