“Today’s music is either over-ego or over-sex. There isn’t a conversation of what went wrong; not everyone cheats or is a bad person because they no longer want to be with you. What are the reasons people do what they do in relationships, including me? Where are those songs that say we’re all still learning?” – Bradd Marquis
They say there are no more good guys and that nice guys finish last. Soul singer/songwriter and actor/producer Bradd Marquis has every intention of laying these myths to rest with the release of his third commercial release, Thank You. Enchanting audiences long before his 2007 album debut, the critically acclaimed Finding My Way, Marquis projects the kind of clean-cut, old school charm unseen since the days of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and the iconic men of Motown.Whether serenading his girl about an all or nothing love or baring his soul of its inner hurts and longings, the spiritual troubadour has his finger on the pulse of the common man.Strumming the pains, feelings, and thoughts of that brother who struggles to find the words to say, Marquis’s latest delivery is a gift for the unspoken.
Boyishly handsome, towering with a strut accented by that indisputable New York swagger, and boasting a baritone dipped in the gravel and gravy of Southern soul, Marquis is one of the streets and the steeple. A committed man ofdedicated faith and community service, Marquis is the anti-thesis of today’s R&B bad boys. Like his inspirations, SamCooke and Marvin Gaye, Marquis started his stage life in front of the pews. Deriving from a rich family legacy of performers that includes blood ties to Phyllis Hyman, Debbie Allen, andPhylicia Rashad, Marquis traveled up and down the East Coastwith family as a child performer in the “Family & Friends” gospel troupe. From age four to pre-adolescence whenbasketball dreams beckoned, Marquis rocked the church with his preternaturally grown vocals. After a love affair with the ball, a star-turning performance at a college show returned Marquis to music’s fold, quickly leading to two craft honing years as a member of the R&B quartet, Mass Appeal.Garnering the attention of Babyface’s production team, Marquis refined his music and engineering skills even further both in front of and behind the studio boards, meeting and working with future Finding My Way producer Jeremy “Cochise” Ball (Rhymefest, Notorious B.I.G.), Thank Youproducer Angelo Ray (Keyvon Edmonds, Pieces of a Dream)Joe Little and the Rude Boys, the production team of legendaryGerald Levert.
In the midst of these refinement years, a much sought-afterMarquis mixtape, All Love, All the Time, was released in 2006, opening more doors. Signed to a production company, it wasn’t long before Marquis was releasing his 2007 debut LP,Finding My Way, with the independent production company, Quiet As Kept. Breaking through the New York airwaves with the regional R&B hit, “Radio,” Marquis suddenly found himself a multiple guest on both BET’s 106 & Park andShowtime at the Apollo, in addition to an appearance onApollo Live. Named Soul Singer of the Year by 106 & Park, Marquis booked the Soul Summer Tour and later theBudweiser Superfest where he traveled the country as the stable opening act for vets like Jaheim, Tamia, India.Arie, BlueMagic, Frankie Beverly & Maze and fellow newcomers Gordon Chambers, Hal Linton and Kameron Corvet. Marquis also had toured for six months as “Adam” in Oscar Brown Jr’smusical fable, ‘In De Beginnin’.
More than an in-demand vocal talent, Marquis was also starring in videos and writing music for artists in New Zealand where Finding My Way and “Radio” had found a serious following. Marquis lyrical prowess soon scored song placement on international projects by Styles P, Ethical, Young Sid, and a forthcoming compilation by Super Producers Sly and Robbie, amongst others.
Following Finding My Way, Marquis went on to release two additional independent projects. The 2009 mixtape, FMW2.5, was partially comprised of unreleased material from theuncensored Finding My Way sessions. While his debut told theaftermath of Marquis’s broken engagement, its 2011 follow-up,Authentic, was an introspective view of a man struggling to find himself artistically and personally. Marked by moody blues and torchy ballads, Authentic, was a raw, transparent portrait of a man making hard decisions at life’s crossroads.While Authentic doubled Finding My Way’s sales and whetted fans’ appetite for the new, the experience of singing about broken families, lost love, and the roughness of the climb opened something up in Marquis. Following Authentic, Marquis took a hiatus to make peace with his family history, study the industry, and re-discover his spirituality and thechurch.
“I had to take a break and regroup. I had to figure out how I fit,whether I wanted to sing gospel music or be an R&B artist. I also studied books on songwriting so I could write better songs and searched for better producers. I went through a lot of trail and error to find what meshed with my spirit,” says Marquis.
In his old producer and mentor, Angelo Ray, Marquis found the spiritual mesh he’d been seeking, introducing Marquis to his new sound of driving, contemporary soul with hints of pop, hip hop and classic R&B. Ray delivered the hook and music for the title track for Marquis’s pen and ultimately set the theme for this decidedly more spirited, up-tempo project. With 10 of the 20 recorded songs written in five days, the very personal Thank You is a love letter to everyone who stuck byand loved Marquis through his turmoil and his evolution into manhood. Straddling the line on Thank You between the secular and the spiritual, Marquis writes honest material of life and love lessons that can be shared across the family spectrum, from Generation Y to the Baby Boomers. With party-readymusic that is upbeat, melodic, and undeniably soulful, Marquis returns with his brightest, most assured set to-date. From the finger-popping inspiration of the lead single “Winner” and the deliriously retro-soul of “Bounce Back (feat. Phase One)” to the dark synth anthem “One Night” and hip hop soul of“Sleeping With Yourself,” Marquis and Ray keep heads bobbing and feet on the dance floor. Together they bring the party.
“It’s about entertaining people who are coming to see and support you; when you’re having sex with someone you make sure they get theirs and that keeps them coming back,” quips Marquis.
Not abandoning the soulful crooning that established his name,Bradd Marquis shares his love’s devotion on “Love Will Find A Way” and “B4 I Knew You,” cementing his image as the man to take home to mama. The rose is off love’s bloom on the mid-tempo groove of the cautionary “Happy Home” and the pleading acoustic guitar duet, “Break Up (featuring Tess Henley),” showcasing the grit and passion of Marquis’ and Henley’s powerhouse vocals. Channeling his inner Curtis Mayfield, Marquis’ spins his own street tale of survival on the unflinching “Lucky Ones.” Revealing both sides of Bradd Marquis, the meditative “Free” is a direct conversation with God, granting listeners voyeuristic privilege to the interior yearnings and struggles of the artist and the man. It’s these kinds of unvarnished illustrations of a performer willing to strip ego and mask to reveal what lies beneath the matinee looks and competitive hardness to the interiors of the heart, the connecting kind of testimonial soul that both teaches and reminds listeners they are not alone. The kind of music that makes Bradd Marquis the everyman’s soul man for this generation.