NBC’s “The Voice” has proven to be a premiere ‘talent show’ of sorts. Showcasing some of America’s most promising best kept musical secrets. Not to mention the A-List group of judges and chart topping mentors that make appearances each season (I mean, Rihanna definitely showed up this season!). Each season, there is a standout performer who manages to steal the hearts of viewers. Whether this standout wins or loses is never really the point. This season, America was introduced to Heed’s standout, Mark Hood. The Chicago native, who not only sings but acts as well (you’ve probably seen him in a play or two or three and on the USA Hit series, “Sirens”), has a natural infectious personality that made him an instant favorite amongst the judges of “The Voice”.

Heed Magazine caught up with the budding superstar for what was a very pleasant conversation on “The Voice”, Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber and how he maintained a career in entertainment while pursuing a degree in Communications!

Mike Sanford: Who is Mark Hood?

Mark Hood: I am an entertainer extraordinaire. I love to make people feel my heart. What comes from the heart reaches the heart.

MS: Tell me about your “The Voice” experience and how it came about?

MH: Man, it was the most incredible experience of my life! What happened was, I auditioned a couple years ago and I didn’t make it, so I was over it. The opportunity came up again and I was like ‘naw’. Then, I was like ‘sure why not?’ and I did it!

MS: What was the best part about that experience and what was your biggest takeaway?

MH: There were a few best parts. One best part was Pharrell. Being able to work under him and have his mentorship? It was amazing just literally being in the room with him and kind of getting his thoughts on what I was doing. Another amazing part was being on that stage. I love to let loose on the stage. It was such a free stage.

(Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

MS: Do you find it hard being a “preacher’s kid” in the music industry?

MH: No, it’s not hard at all! I don’t have any problems on the other side. The only problem I do have is that people assume that I should be doing gospel because I am from the church.

MS: Who are some of your favorite artists?

MH: Usher is like my hero. He’s the male standard. John Legend is another one of my heros. Then there’s Marvin Gaye and PJ Morton. He was the mold for the whole preacher’s son singing R&B thing. He’s like do it.

MS: Who are you currently listening to?

MS: Justin Bieber’s new album is great! I guess I am a ‘belieber’! [Laughs] I’m listening to a lot of the Voice contestants too!

MS: Can you share your thoughts on the current climate of America in terms of police brutality and the injustices we are seeing?

MH: I am deeply saddened by the violence that happens in Chicago on our end and as a result of police brutality. I think it’s important that America gets to the root of a lot of these problems, which we know stems back years and years ago. I think we realize that our justice system is flawed, and the sooner we realize the problem, the sooner we can stand in front of the problem. However, as an artist I try to be an example for black males and let them know that you can be positive.

THE VOICE -- "Live Top 12" Episode 914A -- Pictured: Mark Hood -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
(Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

MS: When can we expect new music and other projects from you?

MH: You can expect new music in the first quarter of 2016! I’ll be doing a cover series on my Youtube channel and taking requests from my fans, ‘the hoodies’. Most know that I am an actor as well, so I’ll working on some TV projects, some theater projects. There is also some potential work coming with me and Pharrell in the future.

MS: Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Or any final words of inspiration for our readers?

MH: Actually, I do! When I got out of High School I went to junior college for communications but I really just wanted to perform, and act and sing. In 2013 I got an opportunity and I stopped going to school and in that same year I quit my job because of another opportunity and the blessings started overflowing and it was really great. Then, I had to get my tonsils taken out in 2014 so I had 8 weeks of downtime and I began to think about what I was going to do. So, I decided to go back to school. When I enrolled back in school, I was cast on the show “Sirens” and I had gotten two musicals and I’m like ‘whoa, how am I going to do this?’ But, God made a way! While shooting “Sirens” and performing in two shows I finished my Associates Degree and got it that same December. I just think that’s inspirational for anybody else because a lot of times as artists school is not that important. But, I’m here to tell you, you can do both at the same time! It was hard, but I made it work.

Check out Mark Hood performing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, what was called “one of the best battles The Voice has ever had”!

If you’re in the Chicago catch Mark Hood Live on January 17th at the Black Ensemble Theater where he will share his journey on “The Voice” live! Get tickets at www.markjphood.commark concert

Stay connected with Mark Hood:

Twitter – @MarkJPHood

Instagram – @markjphood

All Photos © 2015 NBC