Mark Ambor talks UK chart breakthrough with Belong Together: "Someone told me it's hard to break happy songs in the UK"

With his first UK Top 20 single under his belt, Mark Ambor plots the release of his debut album.
mark ambor one to watch belong together official charts

Mark Ambor's Belong Together is proving to be a true slow-burner on the Official Chart.

The perky, folk-pop summer tune has so far spent 10 weeks in the Top 40 of the Official Singles Chart and managed to reach a peak of Number 11 - and is getting tantalisingly close to a Top 10 breakthrough.

It's the first UK chart entry for singer-songwriter Mark, based in New York, who has built up an amazingly loyal and ever-expanding group of fans through his social media channels like Instagram and, of course, TikTok.

We called Mark up when he was back home in the States to catch up on his breakout year...and what's coming next.

Hi Mark! Belong Together is your first-ever UK Top 20 single - you were in London recently, right?

The success is insane. I made this song in my basement! I made it alone! I was just having fun making it...and seeing it resonate around the world in the way it has is so crazy and amazing. Actually, when I was in London before the gig, we did a little pop-up show for people who couldn't get tickets. We were in a park and everyone was just singing along.

You just said you wrote the song in your basement, did you ever think back then...this is it?

When I make any song I'm excited about, I always think 'maybe THIS will be big,' if I don't have that excitement while I'm making it, I'm probably not going to send it out into the world. With Belong Together, I don't think I ever thought it would blow up [to the extent it has]...but I'm very glad it did!

When was the first time you'd realised Belong Together was really working?

I'd posted this sound [to TikTok] the week before the song came out and when it did come moved. It started slowly, but I saw more and more people making videos to it. I don't remember the exact moment [it went viral] but I do remember flying from North America to Europe to tour and that's when I knew. People were singing along to it in London, Vienna, Amsterdam, each video I posted was going crazy. That's when I knew.

We have a crackpot theory at Official Charts that people are loving Belong Together because it sounds like a very summery song and we haven't had much of a summer here yet 

I see that. I've also been told it's really hard to break happy songs in the UK, so when we started charting here, I knew it was going well!

Social media has been a huge part of your journey as an artist, what have you learnt by using it as a tool?

I've learnt to be as authentic as possible, honestly. I've noticed the most spontaneous things I do tend to do the best, like if I have a thought and just send it out, it's always better than sitting down and thinking what to record. People relate to your humanity and who you are as just a person in everyday life. I feel like that's what I think I've tapped into recently with the songs in this album. That feels like the main thing that's contributed to what's been going on with the music as well.

I've been writing from a place that's about things that are really important to me that I previously had a harder time writing about. I'm writing about is true and it matches who I am. And it's all authentic!

What made you start to write from that place?

I had an EP that came out a few years ago and it got some traction online, I thought it did really well, I'd never had much eyes on my stuff before. But I did think it lacked a sort of...depth.

It was last summer when I just sat down and I went back to basics. I just started writing about things that are important me. That didn't have to be love songs about like your significant other - Belong Together is literally about my friends and family. It's not about a person. I like to think that someone who is in love with another person can relate that song to them but for me I wrote it about things that are just really important to me.

Belong Together is your first Top 20 single in the UK - how did it feel to chart for the first time?

It's the coolest thing. I can actually see it in the chart. I honestly did it just before this call, as I was sitting down. 

Belong Together is out now via Hundred Days/Virgin.

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