Marcus Paul James comes to Breakout Magazine from our listing at SonicBids.com. Out of the plethera of music received, Marcus' music was able to break the barrier and rise to the top of the music heap. Upon listening to Marcus sing, you'll notice that he's a bit fresh and old school at the same time. Evoking memories of my favorite singer Luther Vandross, Marcus' soulful delivery and style is one that I wish would return in droves to the music scene. I called Marcus, who was braving out the sub freezing weather of the East Coast, from the comfort of my 80 degree weather home in Southern California (LOL Marcus, don't hate!)
When did you first discover your talent:
I don't know if I discovered it as much as I just realized that it was something. I've always sang, I grew up in church, my family started the church. I went to boarding school in PA, cause it was safer. That's where I got into learning about music and everything was just what felt good.
Who were you're early influences?
My dad was a DJ, so when he left , my mother got all of his albums. So I grew up with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and a lot of females, a lot of Aretha, a lot of Whitney, which is why I can't do something and not feel it.
Do you write your own music?
Yes, "Love letter" is original. I have a new CD coming out next month and it's all me.
(LISTEN TO "LOVE LETTER" BY CLICKING ONTO THE TITLE)
What is it that you like to write about? What is it that you think about as far as writing?
I think about the interesting parts of life... we all feel mad and sad, that's all common, but I'm always interested in how we get there and what we do at the exact moment it hits. That's interesting to me. Things we don't talk about, like the awkward moments where we are caught in between. What is the obvious? and then what is just right of the obvious? That's what I think about.
Yea, I understand that, I think I have the same approach to writing, along the lines of songs that are more of a relatable subject. Not just words that are generic fluff, but words that when people hear, they think the song is talking to them. To me that's what creates classics, they may not necessarily be hits but they are songs that will stand the test of time.
Yea, I understand how an album flow goes and what you need. One of the reason I miss albums is because of the B side stuff. There are some people who throw those away and there are some people who put thought and creativity into them, they may not be the hit but it still means something and those are always important to find. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
You also do Broadway? Who'd you play in Rent? I'm thinking Benny.
I actually played them all. I started off as Tom Collins on the road, then they moved me to Broadway and I was the Christmas caroler, the one who sings the Seasons of Love solo, and I understudied Benny and Tom Collins then eventually took over for them every now and then.
How were you able to separate the different styles of singing for Broadway and R&B?
I think it's really funny, it wasn't till I started doing background gigs for real artists that I realized there was a difference. To me, music is music and I wasn't doing My Fair lady, I was doing Rent, so I didn't have to pretend to do anything. My sound will never be a legit broadway sound, I wasn't born that way.
What can someone expect from a live performance?
It's such a good time, cause I don't like quietness. I want you to come in and have a good time. I try to run the gambit, I try to surprise you. I want an experience. When I watch a show, I want to just sit back and be taken care of. So that's what I think about when I plan my shows.
What's your favorite cover to sing?
I got a new one. I do a mash-up of Apologize by One Republic and Grenade by Bruno Mars. It works really well, the audience really likes it.
I'm curious to hear that, sounds like a good mix.
What do you want people to a take away from listening to your music?
I think the overall theme of my writing is that there is no real answer, no right or wrong way to feel, no goals, no red tape to run through. I have a song that's called "Practical Magic" that I end my shows with. It ends with everything we're going through, everything we understand, somethings don't work out but we want them to, this is what I wish for, but you know what, ultimately we got to let it go and live. So if people were to walk away from my show thinking what did they learn, I would hope it would be that.
Are you seeking a label deal or are you trying to stay independent?
I'm trying to stay independent for as long as I can, till it becomes overwhelming. I've been on Broadway for like 7 1/2 years, but as many of my broadway musicians understand, it's almost impossible to do music AND Broadway at the same time because it requires so much of you. I just ended "In the Heights" 3 weeks ago and I didn't take another gig. I take this as my moment to switch sides and do more music.
Who do you want to work with? Who are your dream artists and producers?
I would love to do a song with Brandy and Rodney Jerkins.
What is it about Brandy that you love?
I love the way they work together with their vocal parts and their writing. It's just so Polyphonic and I love it. It's so thought out and everything is on purpose.
What is your opinion on the current state of the music industry?
I feel like it's in flux.
Be sure to check out Marcus Paul James newest CD which will be out next month. For further information on where you can catch Marcus live please visit his website at www.marcuspauljames.com