Country crooner livens up Becker Amphitheater

In Arts & Entertainment, Music

Miko Marks took the stage with strong vocals and equally expressive guitar Wednesday at the Becker Amphitheater. Wearing a pink dress and cowboy boots, Marks sang energetically alongside guitarist Victor Campos’ strapping chords to a small, but no less-engaged audience.

Alfred Aquino and Andrea Orozco are both members of ASI Productions, which organizes and promotes concerts every Wednesday with its Concerts at the Becker series.

Aquino, who is also a musician, knew he wanted to organize concerts for Cal State Fullerton when he decided to join ASI.

“We try to find as many genres as we can,” said Aquino. “We look online for up-and-coming artists. This is the first time Miko Marks has performed on campus.”

The singer/songwriter belongs to the country scene. Her first album, Freeway Bound, was released in 2005 and earned Album of the Year in 2007 by the Independent Music Awards. Her sophomore album, It Feels Good, was released in 2007. Marks has appeared in People magazine as one of Nashville’s hot new country stars, and Ebony magazine labeled her an artist who is “breaking the sound barriers in music.”

“I think she has a really strong voice,” said Andrea Orozco, 20, a business marketing major. “I don’t listen to country music that much but I like her. You can sing along with her songs.”

Marks’ first song choice, “Freeway Bound,” featured upbeat and catchy lyrics with a versatile sound that people of any age could likely enjoy. From then on she moved on to more mellow choices, such as “It Feels Good,” and “Broken Heart.” Before getting into “Broken Heart,” she briefly explained when she too was in college and someone broke her heart.

During the first half hour of her performance, she invited her audience to dance in the sunlight and burn some calories while they were at it. However, no one decided to brave the spotlight. Students simply enjoyed the free music and ate their lunches underneath the shade near the amphitheater.

But Marks’ positive energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Even from afar her bright smile lit the stage. Clapping her hands with the beat of the guitar, her passion and love for country music was more than apparent.

At one point Marks asked her audience what song she was singing, saying she rewards those who pay attention. When a young woman responded with the correct answer, she was given a free T-shirt and walked away with a smile.

Yvette Aguilar, a member of the audience, said she tries to check out who is playing every Wednesday at the Becker Amphitheater.

“It’s very mellow, which is nice since last week was rowdy,” said Aguilar. “She’s very interactive and comfortable. It feels like you are just hanging out.”

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