ďMarcus 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
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.
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 canít 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 itís 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.
Whoís influenced you the most in your career?
Marcus: Thatíd 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, whatís your favourite guitar?
Marcus: Well, Iím 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. Iím 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. Everybodyís got to walk that red line and weíve all got a
right to choose. Iím going to walk that red line singing my redline
Alan: I believe that you are now based in London although I know
youíve been delighting British audiences for years but what first
brought you to the UK?
Marcus: Well, thatís 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.
Youíve spent most of 2011 working the European blues circuit Ė how did
that all go?
Marcus: Weíve had a fantastic year, just fantastic. We get a lot of
airplay, especially in the Netherlands so weíve been able to cross over
into some of the pop market over there. Weíve 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.
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 Iíve got an
idea.... But Iím very happy with it and I have distribution and
promotion for it, and itís 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 weíd like to do more British
festivals, perhaps Colne and Burnley.
Alan: That was a great set you played today here in Carlisle,
"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
Check out Marcus at the Carlisle Blues Festival
Blues Interviews List
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