I was born Mark J Ortiz on December 7th 1974 in Santa Fe New Mexico. I was blessed at a young age to be around tons of live music. My grandparents and my father both performed northern New Mexico traditional music all around town. To this day they still perform at the Santa Fe Spanish Market and annual fiestas under the name 'Los Nativos'(the natives). For locals and the thousands of tourists that visit Santa Fe each year, their music is a real treat for it's rarity and sound. When I was 12 years old, I was given a six string guitar for my birthday; little did I know the gift I was given that day would change my life forever. I was taught by both of my grandparents the unique music they learned as a kids growing up. In 7th grade I attempted taking a guitar class to further my skills in reading music. It turned out that it was not my cup of tea, so a week later I went into a home economic class to earn my credit. After joining a few live bands that played oldies, rancheros, and originals I quickly realized my gift for learning music by ear. It wasn't long before I was learning other instruments and quickly became influenced in music. My interest in hip hop was sparked in 7th grade but did not play a roll in my life until my first year in high school. At home I made a makeshift turntable and collected wax along with a few superman records and began experimenting with scratching. At the end of 9th grade, I acquired a better makeshift turntable set and started DJ'ing several parties at the end of the school year and into the summer. I went by the name, 'DJ Markie-O' and joined a hip hop crew named 'La Conecta'. We played several shows mainly at Warehouse 21 and the Railyard and always had the place jumping. During this time, I was writing lyrics on the side and attempting to take a stab at rapping. I stayed involved in the small but faithful hip hop scene throughout high school which became part of my motivation to graduate in 1993. In '96, I crossed paths with an interesting crew at a MC battle that was taking place in Santa Fe. I happened to be good friends with one of the member's older brothers and was later introduced to the four man crew, 'The Unknown'. We went on to create four CD's and produce some of the most original, flavorful, and classic styles from the southwest. We performed and opened up for several talented artist including, Q-Bert, X-ecutioners, Scratch and Dice Raw, Scarab, Living Legends, Three Melancholy Gypsies, Z-trip and Ozomatli. Dabadawicked, of 'The Unknown' crew, went on to work in several projects with Mumbles (producer of The Book of Human Language by Aceyalone) and he now goes under the name Gone Beyond. In the spring of '03 after a trip to Central America, I decided to create a solo album with live instrumentals and called it Organic Hip-Hop. I was creating music that was as unique as the land that I am from, while preserving the flavor of the sounds. My major influences in music range from Santana, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Led Zepplin, KRS-ONE, Rakim and Sublime. Check out the music link to get a sample of what I have been working on. Peace, Love, and Respect... Circumference.
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