One of Liverpool’s brightest new songwriters, Mason Owens, has released his debut EP, ‘Off The Bat’, produced by veteran producer Steven Powell (Michael Head and The Strands, Echo & The Bunnymen, John Power, The Stairs).
The singer-songwriter’s debut four-track EP – released on the Liverpool-based independent record label ‘Nifty Records’ – contains the candid humour, powerful guitar-laden sound and reflections on working-class life that he has become known and loved for in his hometown of Liverpool.
Championed by the likes of BBC Introducing Merseyside, Owens swiftly has become a voice for his city, drawing on his personal experiences of the North West town and its proud residents for inspiration.
Fellow Merseysider, Jamie Webster, who topped the Official Folk Album Chart last year, said Owens “could go down in Scouse folklore with some of his tunes”.
Owens is no stranger to the hardship that he explores in his songwriting. In his early twenties he spent time behind bars. Although he described his time in prison as “shite”, he says it was also an experience that allowed him to grow as an artist and a person.
The young musician took a music course with the prison-based ‘In House Records’ while incarcerated at HMP Elmley, writing songs about his situation and providing a focus that led him away from a “potentially destructive path”.
He said: “Every day I wished I was out and counted down the days till my release. However, going through a hard time definitely strengthens you as a person and teaches you to reflect on the outside life and not take things for granted.
“As mad as it sounds, I did have some good times in there and made a fair few friends that I’m still in contact with. As I was allowed a guitar in jail, a few cellmates who were musically inclined got involved in making some music and it brought some joy to the cell and made the time go a bit quicker.”
It was his time in prison that made Owens realise just how powerful music can be. After being given a guitar, his stretch at HMP Elmley seemed that little bit easier, he recalled.
“Music is the best thing in life,” explains Mason. “I wrote a good few songs inside and wrote more when I was released on electronic tag curfew (which was another pain in the arse).
“Music helped me turn a negative situation and experience into a positive and it’s something I know I can always fall back on even during hard times.”
Following a string of successful singles including his 2020 track, ‘I’m Not An Englishman’ which has racked up over 100,000 streams, the release of his debut EP comes at an exciting time for the artist.
Recorded and mixed in just over three days at Ark Recording Studio in North Liverpool, ‘Off The Bat’ explores themes of love, isolation, drug-infused dreams, fake news and social media, and showcases Owens’ eclectic musical style.
Explaining the EP’s title, Owens said: “I wrote the songs pretty quickly and there’s an immediacy and urgency to them. There was also a degree of spontaneity in the recording process with many ideas and sounds coming ‘off the bat’ so it seemed fitting to call it that!”
With several other projects on the horizon, the future is looking bright for Owens. As one of the most interesting and exciting young talents in one of the UK’s most storied musical cities, he is certainly one to watch.
‘Off The Bat’ by Mason Owens is out now on Nifty Records across all digital streaming platforms.