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Early Blues Interview
Marcus Malone,
singer/songwriter/guitarist

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Marcus Malone  Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Marcus Malone has been delighting British audiences for many years with his magnificent velvet-toned vocals and his magnetic stage presence. Furthermore, he is a highly talented songwriter, who consistently surrounds himself with top class musicians ....
Lionell Ross / BluesintheNorthwest.com August 2011
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Alan:        What are your first musical memories growing up in Detroit?

Marcus:    My parents were very religious and I grew up in a Baptist Church environment and I learned to sing there.  My first biggest experience was the first time I sang a solo in church.  I was 5 years old and, boy, was I shaking!   I had to do it, I had no choice so I practiced and the name of the song was Listen to the voice of the Saviour, and I still remember that song!

Alan:        Did you come from a musical family?

Marcus:    Not really, they had things around the house for me to play, a piano and a guitar but they themselves were not musically inclined, although they loved music.  When I was growing up they listened to BB King on the old 78s, not that I knew who BB King was then.

 Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:        Did you always want to become a musician?

Marcus:    Yes, I did.  Being from Detroit I grew up around Motown and I was always trying to figure it out, miming Marvin Gaye and the others.

Alan:        How did you get started in music?

Marcus:    Professionally, when I was about 16 or 17 I started singing in a band at school.  That band actually got signed to EMI when we were about 21, we got taken out to California and that started it all.

Alan:        What kind of material were you playing then?

Marcus:    Being from Detroit I was heavily influenced by ZZ Top, MC5 and heavier music and we were basically a heavy metal band.

Alan:        So what first attracted you to the blues?

Marcus:    I think people go through phases in their life, musically and everything.  You cant stay the same, especially as you grow older.  And as I grew older I think a lot of those memories of BB King were in my head somewhere and its guitar music whatever way you look at it, and as I started to play guitar I started to listen to different types of music.  When I first started I just sang, and ran around and danced and whatever but then I started getting into guitar and I started listening to other forms of music like the blues.  I still remember the first time I saw BB King, at the Roxy, ages ago before he was really famous.  I still remember it because there were only about 2 to 3 people in there, in the Roxy Music on Sunset Boulevard.  He had two shows a night and he was very upset that nobody was there!  He did a very short set.

 Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:        Whos influenced you the most in your career?

Marcus:    Thatd be a combination of Motown music, all the grunge music I listen to although I would call it the beginnings of punk, I listened to a lot of Bowie, then I went through a whole James Brown era.  All that stuff mixes up, especially when you are writing song.

Alan:        So, whats your favourite guitar?

Marcus:    Well, Im looking for a Les Paul.  I had one but the neck was too big.  I love Gibsons and I love the Strads and right now my favourite that I own is my green Strad.  Im looking at some Goldtops tomorrow so that might become my favourite.

Alan:        Any songs that you play that have special meaning to you?

Marcus:    I wrote a song called Redline Blues, Redline Blues Cause and Redline Blues Effect which is kind of the story of my life anyway.   Everybodys got to walk that red line and weve all got a right to choose.  Im going to walk that red line singing my redline blues.

Alan:        I believe that you are now based in London although I know youve been delighting British audiences for years but what first brought you to the UK?

Marcus:    Well, thats a long story but I came over here with the love of my life but she went back home to California and I decided to stay here and make a new beginning.

 Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:        Youve spent most of 2011 working the European blues circuit how did that all go?

Marcus:    Weve had a fantastic year, just fantastic.  We get a lot of airplay, especially in the Netherlands so weve been able to cross over into some of the pop market over there. Weve done the Hunten Pop Festival which is a huge pop festival.

Alan:        What are festivals like in Europe compared with the UK?

Marcus:    The ones in the UK are great but they seem to have larger blues festivals over there, more like what would be a rock concert here.  They are really big on the blues rock there, they like it hard.

Alan:        Tell me about your band.

Marcus:    I met Stuart Dixon about 12 years ago. I was just auditioning guitar players and he just came around and I picked up that he would be an excellent choice.  I met Chris Nugent a few months before that and Johan Buys is new, very new, he joined just 3 or 4 years ago.

Marcus Malone and Stuart Dixon  Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:        Tell me about the making of your 5th album, Let The Sun Shine In, which I have to say is really excellent. 

Marcus:    It has a lot of variations in it and next time I need to write it in a shorter span of time because I get distracted and keep going down different avenues.  But Let the Sun Shine In took too long to finish because there was a lot of, oh, wait a minute Ive got an idea....    But Im very happy with it and I have distribution and promotion for it, and its being released in Germany on November 17th.  They are going to try and do a release in Denmark and the Nordic countries in the New Year.  World domination!

Alan:        What plans have you got for the future?  Any more tours?

Marcus:    We are pretty much finishing up now, as we went back and forth to Europe 15 times last year doing various festivals.  We only did one UK festival this year (Carlisle) but wed like to do more British festivals, perhaps Colne and Burnley.

Alan:        That was a great set you played today here in Carlisle, many thanks.

 Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

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"Let the Sunshine In is one of those albums that is easy to like. Marcus Malone is a talented song-writer, with a perfect soulful voice that perfectly suits the music that he writes. He surrounds himself with talented musicians who play for the song rather than themselves, and tackles serious issues, as well as lighter subjects in a way that works very well."
Ben Macnair / Blues In Britain June 2011

 www.marcusmalone.com

 Copyright 2011 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Check out Marcus at the Carlisle Blues Festival

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