By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
IRVINE — Mark Bishop hasn’t been on the road since the COVD-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on his touring schedule, but the award-winning singer-songwriter is making the most of his time at home.
“I felt like I was just getting right back into it (following a Christmas break) and then this hit,” he said. “You can’t have any public gatherings and we are sequestering at home. It’s been different, but there’s a lot of aspects to what I do (that keep me busy). A big chunk of income has been taken out because of not being able to do the live concerts, but I expect things to get back to normal eventually.”
Bishop is optimistic his touring schedule and some form of normalcy in society will resume soon and is hopeful a vaccine will be developed sooner rather than later.
“I believe within a couple of months that things are going to be pretty close to where we even had heard of the coronavirus and this will be in the rear-view mirror. We were caught off-guard this time, but I think that we will be more on guard for epidemics and pandemics in the future.”
Although concerts are a major part of his regular routine, Bishop splits a majority of his time writing songs and other projects pertaining to the Southern Gospel Music Industry.
He has been working on a project for Daywind Records that will be released to radio stations across the nation. The segments, which are titled “Mark Bishop’s, You’re Happy when you’re Laughing” will feature comedy moments given by Bishop condensed into one-minute segments, which he described as “folksy and homey.”
“When you do something creative for a living, that doesn’t turn off just because you are sequestered at home,” Bishop said. “Writing continues and we are working on a series of daily radio shows that we are going to be sending out to over 500 radio stations. We’ve been working on that and it will be going out toward the end of the month to Christian radio stations and rural radio stations. There are a lot of projects that we stay busy with that we haven’t been able to do while we are at live concerts where people are gathered.”
Bishop’s concerts traditionally feature “bits of music and bits of humor” received well by the audience and he always “just likes to make people feel good.” The success of the humor and stories mixed into his concerts inspired his newest venture and added that it’s something “I just do anyway.”
“People like to hear the sound of laughter and I like to see people smile,” he said. “For years we infused our music concerts with humor and stories and in the past couple of years, I’ve had a lot of people that have been asking about recording more of the comedy and the funny stories. We found a way to facilitate that without actually going out and doing a live recording. This gives us a way to do that.”
For the previous 37 years, Bishop grew accustomed to a busy traveling scheduling this time of the year, leading up to the summer months, both as a soloist and a member of “The Bishops,” which featured his father Kenneth and brother Kenny.
“I’ve been on the road for 35 years to have this long of a hiatus (is different),” he said. “We usually don’t have a hiatus until around Christmas for two or three weeks in December.”
The time away has allowed Bishop to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren but jokingly added that his wife Carolyn is “ready for me to go somewhere and sing for somebody.”
“She’s been listening to me sing for 35 years now and that’s nothing new for her,” he said with a laugh. “It’s no (real) treat for her to go to a Mark Bishop concert.”
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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.