Mark this - I've made it into the charts

Debut single grabs a top 40 spot

Luton-born musician Mark Joseph gained national success this week when his debut single entered the BBC Sunday chart at number 38.

Multi-talented Mark wrote, performed, recorded and produced his single, Get Through, himself and released the record last Monday.

To coincide with the single's launch Mark , 22, played a series of gigs at record stores throughout the country including Virgin, in Luton's Arndale Centre.

He was supported by a crowd of teenage fans, shoppers and music lovers who all gathered to hear him perform live tracks from his CD.

A Top 40 position is good by any standards, but what makes this all the more remarkable is that the record has had absolutely no radio airplay at all.

All the sales so far have come from pre-booked sales, most of which were made when Mark went on a nationwide tour of schools last year.

The tour, which included a day at Putteridge High School, in Stopsley, gave pupils the chance to take part in music workshops and allowed Mark to promote the art of performing music and singing and writing songs.

Mark's father and manager Stefan Mezsnyai said: "It has been a real independent struggle but Mark has a big fan base locally, which has been built up over five years, as well as the school support.

"We have now had a call from the head buyer at Virgin Megastores, who said they will support us and they will get behind us and stock it in over 170 of their stores nationwide."

Mark, a keen Hatters fan and former pupil of William Austin Junior School, has been writing his own songs and playing instruments since he was 13, and has been doing it professionally since he was 16.

He was pleased with his performance in the Arndale Centre and said: "It went really well.

"I have had people who have never heard me before coming in and buying the single and asking me to sign it for them."

Whether or not Mark made it into the Top 40 and it is at number three in the Independent chart he intended to go on another short tour soon, as he wants as many people as possible to hear the song.

He said: "We have deliberately steered away from the radio and what we have been doing has been so direct, playing straight to audiences.

"I'm really pleased with the way it has gone, but if the song is a success I'm going to have a hell of a party!"

Get Through is available from Virgin, priced 3.99, on Mark's independent label Mark Joseph Records.