Half Japanese, half New Zealander, de Clive-Lowe began piano lessons at age four. He went to secondary school with Zane Lowe, DJ Rob Salmon and producer Andy ‘Submariner’ Morton.
Mark de Clive-Lowe started out as a dedicated jazzer, playing in jazz combos round Auckland central jazz venues like Manifesto Bar and Cause Celebre, where he had a residency in 1996 working with The Enforcers, Nathan Haines' old band, after Haines left for the UK.
In 1996 and 1997 he released two solo albums of straight-up jazz on Tap Records, a label he owned with Auckland jazz buff Andrew Dubber, plus another album as member of the group Jazz In The Present Sense. De Clive-Lowe was also a session musician, and his keyboards can be found on the 1995 R&B hit Freedom from Mar-ve-elle, a song he co-wrote with producer Alan Jansson. However, although he listened to hip-hop and soul as a teen, de Clive-Lowe's first love was always jazz.
Six Degrees came out in 1999, and was picked up for worldwide release the following year by Universal Jazz, gathering superb reviews as it went.
Then he discovered the Akai MPC sampler and his style shifted to a more contemporary form, aimed squarely at the dancefloor. He recorded his third album with the support of Kingsland-based electronica collective Kog Transmissions. Six Degrees came out in 1999, and was picked up for worldwide release the following year by Universal Jazz, gathering superb reviews as it went.
Featuring guests including Manuel Bundy and King Kapisi, Six Degrees marked a step away from the more traditionalist jazz approach that de Clive-Lowe had previously been tagged with. The album was co-produced with Andy ‘Submariner’ Morton, Manuel Bundy (who was part of Mark’s live band) and Joost Langeveld. That year Mark also contributed to the album by manufactured TV pop group TrueBliss.
Around this time de Clive-Lowe also recorded an album as Nuvonesia (an ensemble featuring himself, Manuel Bundy on turntables, and MC Imon Star on the mic), recorded live in a day-long session, and later released on Kog Transmissions in 2000.
He then relocated to London, linking up with expat Nathan Haines and UK producer Phil Asher. He firmly embedded himself in the West London music scene, helping evolve a style that was labelled ‘broken beat’, alongside the likes of 4Hero, IG Culture, Dego and Kaidi Tatham.
Mark de Clive-Lowe’s live club sets draw on his jazz background, as he improvises beats on the MPC, then plays over them on keys, joined by guest vocalists and musicians. He’s worked with a wealth of artists, such as Jody Watley, Nia Andrews, Sheila E, Lauryn Hill, Omar and Pino Palladino.
He released his fourth album Tide's Arising in 2005 on ABB Soul/Antipodean and Columbia in Japan. He started his own label, Antipodean Records, in the early 2000s, releasing a collection of remixes titled Melodius Beats Vol.1 in 2003.
After a decade in London, de Clive-Lowe shifted base to Los Angeles in 2009. His fifth solo album Renegades came out in 2011 thru UK label Tru Thoughts for whom he continues to record and release, with the albums Take The Space Train, a collaboration with The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, released in February 2013 and Church in 2014. 2013 also saw the One Take EP.
He has guested on numerous releases, and has also worked as a remixer, for the likes of Tama Waipara, Recloose, Chico Hamilton, Shirley Horn, Jody Watley, DJ Mitsu the beats, Incognito and more.
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