Rob Smittix: So when I first introduced myself to you, I said “nice to meet the man behind the voice” and you said “please, the pleasure is mine”. I do appreciate your modesty but I wonder, do you realize that you have an exceptionally amazing voice?
Marcus Paul James: HAHAH… Well all I know is no one has told me to shut up yet. So I guess I’m doing something right lol.
Speaking of amazing voices, have you ever considered trying out for a show like The Voice? And how do you feel about shows like this, that put talented singers up against each other in a competition?
No, I have not considered trying out for the voice, it’s too weird. Though I have had a few friends on the show. Everyone is sooooo good that really you’re waiting for someone to mess up more so than do something amazing. Plus, they are worn out, rehearsed out, sung out, and then have to do the live show. It just sounds like a setup, and it makes me nervous knowing the journey. I do like the singing competition shows though, but less for the competition and more for the exposure of different voices to the public. It is a good alternative to the studio-sponsored-generic pop music that is out there. I imagine 8 out of 10 music stars would never make it through one competition, they are so amazingly hard.
So how did it all begin? When and where was it that you started singing and what made you decide to pursue a career in the music business?
I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I grew up singing in my church choir in Brooklyn, both the children choir and the adult choir. It wasn’t until high school when it was time for colleges did I ever really think about music as a career. It was always so second nature to me. College is where I really settled into the fact that singing and performing was all I ever really want to do, and if someone will pay me to do it…even better.
I feel that the most cliché interview question that can ever be asked of a musician is “what are your influences?” So rather than asking the same ol’ question, I am curious to know about artists that may have inspired you that people may be surprised to learn about.
It’s funny you ask that cause I am a lover of music and always have been, and my love has never been subject to race, style, language or anything. Some of my surprise influences are Bjork, Gladys Knight, Sarah Bareilles. And of course, I am influenced by classic music theater as well, back when Frank Sinatra and Ella would sing show tunes.
I pride myself in doing my homework on artists before I do an interview and with you I came across some interesting tidbits. I understand that you’ve done some work on Broadway, I also saw that you dance and act, care to elaborate?
Ha Yes, I have worked on Broadway for over 10 years in shows like Tony and Pulitzer prize winner “RENT”, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony award-winning “In The Heights”, Berry Gordy’s “Motown: the Musical” and more. I do a fair bit of sing/dancing/acting, was most recently a small feature in the movie “Collateral Beauty” with Will Smith and Hellen Mirren. I love it, it makes me crazy and keeps me sane lol. I love performing which is why I guess sometimes my writing is so full of feeling, I’m not really shy in that department.
So what’s next for you? What do you wish to accomplish in this lifetime while you still have the chance?
More Music!! I’m really excited to share the EP and also some more little nuggets coming out later this year, Including some holiday stuff. Believe it or not, I would love to just have a massive concert with all of my talented friends and artists. The old concerts like Motown 25 and such were so cool to watch. It reminds us that we may be all individual talents but are in one community that has been forged through time. I would also love to have a sit-down show in Vegas, my mom lives there and I could be near her for a while.
Very cool , well It certainly was a pleasure having this conversation with you today, please promise to keep us updated anytime you put out new music! Thanks again.
Will DO thank you. – MPJ