‘Dancing with the Stars’ champ dips into musicWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Ballas can fox trot, waltz, rumba, samba, swing, jive, tango, salsa and cha cha. Now the two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion is strapping on a guitar and stepping behind the microphone.
The professional dancer is set to release his second disc, “HurtLoveBox,” Feb. 15. He wrote all the songs except the first single, “Life Happens,” which he co-wrote.
“It’s kind of about your life just happens,” he said. “You can’t bend time, you can’t push time, you can’t pursue it; you have to wait for life to just happen, one step at a time, one day as it comes, and there’s no point in looking too far ahead or living too far back in the past.”
The 24-year-old was excited to talk about his music and explain the title of the new disc during a call from a tour stop in Pittsburgh.
“I keep all my memories in boxes. I keep concert tickets, backstage passes, wine corks from special occasions — I keep all kinds of things that were special to me growing up, and I keep all those memories in boxes. My mom would constantly rag on me because she says I’m a pack rat,” he said.
“I feel like a record is a collection of one’s memories, so half of this record is about going through some harder times, and the other half is about accomplishing great things and being happy with where you’re at.”
Describing his sound, Ballas said, “It’s singer-songwriter, kind of pop-rock stuff. If you’re a fan of John Mayer, Jason Mraz, James Marsden, Dave Matthews, it’s very singer-songwriter, but it’s still rock-pop.”
He started to play guitar and take ballroom dance lessons at age 10.
“My dad bought me my first guitar, but he wanted me to start learning flamenco and some classical stuff before I started getting into rock. And at the time, I was very upset about it — all I wanted to do was wail,” Ballas recalled. “But now I’m really grateful for it because it’s a big influence in my guitar style. I don’t play with a pick; I use a lot of finger picking, and I incorporate a lot of flamenco techniques in my playing.”
Ballas will play at Frankie’s Feb. 5. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 night of the show. Steel Vines will open.
While he’s helped Olympic gold medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson win the mirror ball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars,” Ballas said he stays in contact with most of his partners.
“I talk to Bristol [Palin] all the time; we text each other back and forth. Kristi Yamaguchi, I’ve become very close with her and her family. Shawn Johnson is a good friend of mine; I saw her not too long ago when I was in Des Moines, so we spent the day together. And I text back and forth sometimes with Melissa Joan Hart and Kim Kardashian.”