Motivation Close To Home
September 23, 2016
From the south side of Indianapolis to the urban life of California, he has made a return to Indiana to give back. Showing what motivation and hard work can do, 25 year old rapper Mark A. Battles paid a visit to Martinsville High School on September 14, 2016. During his visit, Battles took photos with students, was requested to autograph nearly everything in his sight, and even spent the last hour of his day voluntarily being interviewed in a press conference with MHS’s Publication staff.
In the course of Battles’s life, he chose to deal with his family issues and life controversies in a positive manner: he started writing. Battles enjoyed writing and rapping, but he he’d never taken it on as his main focus until mid 2006.
Two of his siblings and he were in a collision with another vehicle, and shortly after the accident, his brother Carl was pronounced dead. This turned the Battles’ lives upside down, and ignited something in Mark.
“I was really into sports and used to play them with my brother,” Mark said, “but once he died, I kind of gave up on them. I started focusing more on music, and expressing my thoughts into my writing.” Many of Mark’s songs pay tribute to his brother, and Carl still acts as a motivation to keep going and pursuing his music career.
As early as 2011-2012 when Mark was only 15 years old, he released the statement that he was officially pursuing a rap career. Fly America is the name of Mark’s independent record label that he still uses today, even though it was launched over 10 years ago. His first mixtape “Walking Distance” was released in 2012; his second mixtape series “Saturday School” was released in 2013; his third mixtape “Broken Silence” was released in 2013; and his fourth mixtape “Preseason” was released in 2014. All of these, along with collaborations with some of the current hottest artists (Wale, French Montana, Lil Wayne, Kid Ink, etc.), prepared Battles for the release of his first studio album “Numb”, which quickly climbed to the top of U.S. Billboard and iTunes charts, reaching #25 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers charts, and #39 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Battles also spoke pridefully of him reaching up to #9 on a Billboard chart for the album “Numb” as well.
“It felt really good. It was awesome,” Battles said in regard to his high-ranks. After joining with label partners No ID, ARTium Recordings, and Def Jam Records, Battles released his second studio album “Before the Deal”. This recent album topped at #8 on the iTunes Top Rap album charts.
“You know, I was up there with Drake and all of them, it was crazy to know I was competing with some of my inspirations,” Battles said.
Continuous traveling, intense motivation, and hard work has handed Mark experiences he has waited for his whole life.
“Ever since I was younger, I wondered like ‘what would it be like if an artist I listened to came to my school’,” Mark said, “so once I got more fame, I told myself I would come back and try to go to all of the schools in Indiana I could since I’m from Indy.”
Mark visits high schools to show students that even if you’re from a small state like Indiana, you can still achieve your goals and do anything you set your mind to. He admitted it is a lot of work and he did have to travel to get more out there in the music world, but he has attempted to prove the point that one small idea can turn into something extraordinary.
“You got to believe in it when no one else does,” said Battles. He left behind a motivated and uplifted student body at Martinsville High School.
When visiting Martinsville High School, our publications class reached out to him and asked him to spend fifth period at a practice press conference with them. This allowed us to get real world experience interviewing an actual celebrity. Battles seemed very honored to be interviewed by MHS’s Pub staff.
“Nobody has ever really asked me to do this before. It’s always just like ‘come take pictures and leave’, you know?” said Battles. Out of all of the high schools Mark has visited throughout Indiana, he said the press conference at our school has been his favorite experience so far. During the interview, Mark spoke sincerely about his life growing up, his pride in being a father, his strong support group that was traveling with him, and his strong motivation. Battles restated very clearly that his mission was to prove that you can do anything no matter where you come from.