Right now, Mark Ballas may be best known for his work on “Dancing with the Stars,” but he’s working to change all that with the release of something else quite dear to his heart – his new album, “HurtLoveBox.”
Released on Tuesday, the album shows off the singing and guitar skills of the former mirrorball champ, as he frolics through a host of songs like the surfy sounds of “Hotwire,” big emotive tunes like “Life Happens,” and the Marc Anthony-esque radio pop of “Way You Werk.”
“The thing that I think is great about this album [is] it is very diverse,” Mark recently told AccessHollywood.com. “There’s different styles and different tempos, but guitar, lyrically and melodically, it’s all kind of cohesive with each other.”
The 24-year-old recorded the album with producer Rob Chiarelli, mostly during the last season of “DWTS” and in the run up to Season 12, something he was able to focus on after he wrapped up his ties with the Ballas-Hough band, which he confirmed to Access is no more.
“Yeah, I’m not doing [the] Ballas-Hough band anymore, no,” he said. “I think it’s just done.”
Among the tunes Mark came up with for the album, include the afore mentioned “Way You Werk,” a sexy song with a push-pull theme.
“It’s kind of like, I always do this gesture at gigs where I stand [with] one of my arms [out], like telling you to stop and with the other hand I kind of beckon you to come here, so it’s kind of how like women like to do that with men: ‘Stop right there! But come a little closer,’” he laughed. “As hard as that is to endure as a man, secretly you love it. It’s kind of about that.”
Another cut, “Burn Me Alive” stems from not taking the advice of those nearest and dearest.
”‘Burn Me Alive’ is about being in a situation that you knew that you shouldn’t be and all of your friends were warning you, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t be in that,’ but just stubborn tendencies take over and you ignored all the good advice from people that cared about you… and it ended up going pear shaped,” he said.
More emotionally charged is “All For Nothing,” probably the oldest song on the record, written about two years ago, and was inspired by the tragic suicide of his beloved uncle.
“He was like, in the firs 12 years of my life, he was more of a father figure than an uncle,” Mark said.
“When we came into making this record, I felt we could revamp it and rerecord it and just make it hit home a little bit harder,” he added.
Still, it’s often tough for Mark to perform live.
“It is definitely hard. It’s a rare occasion that I’ll gig it… I have to kind of be in the right mind frame and mood to play it, but there’s been times where I’ve played it and I just don’t get through it very well. You just go to a different place when something like that’s happened, so I’ll avoid playing that at times at gigs, but it’s a favorite… I’ll gig it out now and again,” he said.