Bradd Marquis: Fitting In

Losing the nerdy glasses in high school was not the only thing that boosted Bradd Marquis’ popularity. As an R&B singer, he’s had multiple appearances on Showtime At the Apollo, performances at “Wild Out Wednesdays” on 106 & Park and radio airplay of his record “Radio” on New York’s Hot 97. As Bradd Marquis joins […]

Losing the nerdy glasses in high school was not the only thing that boosted Bradd Marquis’ popularity. As an R&B singer, he’s had multiple appearances on Showtime At the Apollo, performances at “Wild Out Wednesdays” on 106 & Park and radio airplay of his record “Radio” on New York’s Hot 97. As Bradd Marquis joins super producer Cochise, who’s worked with artists like R. Kelly, Notorious B.I.G. and Saigon, he has released his debut album Finding My Way, independently. On the business side, Bradd discusses his plans to climb to the top. It’s a common notion that R&B singers can woo women easily since they have so many tantalizing lyrics. However, Bradd Marquis prefers a decent conversation with a lady instead. His charismatic personality is reflective in his music, as well as in his gravitation towards community involvement. It all stems from the adage that he lives by – “All love all the time.” Is that possible? Bradd has the Alternatives: With a slew of R&B artists on the come up these days, what differentiates you from the rest?Bradd Marquis: What I believe stands out mostly about myself is my voice; it’s the unique voice. I have so much passion behind what I’m singin’ and who I am as a person. What separates you from the rest is pretty much your personality, your goals and what you have in your heart. That’s what people kinda get attached to more than anything else – your voice, your sound. They’ll follow you if you got a good story to tell.AHHA: What story do you tell?Bradd: All love all the time. Everywhere that I go, all the shows that I do, it’s all love all the time. I try to bring this thing back to good music, bring this thing back to real music. If I’m singin’ a song and telling a story about someone on the block that I grew up on you’re actually gonna feel me ‘cause you’ll know it’s something I went through or it’s something that I seen, so you can relate to it a lot more.AHHA: Can you remember a time when you felt like you weren’t accepted by your peers?Bradd: All the time. [laughs] All the time! High School sucked. [laughs] For real, I moved from Trenton, New Jersey to Youngstown, Ohio and I was an outcast. I wasn’t from there and I didn’t grow up with a lot of them. I kinda had a chip on my shoulder growing up, so I really wasn’t widely accepted. I couldn’t do a lot of stuff because I came up in a rough house. People didn’t start accepting me in high school ‘til like eleventh grade when I popped the contacts in, with them glasses I looked type nerdy.AHHA: So that’s how it started?Bradd: I grew up around a lot of violence and crime and stuff like that, and I was always the other guy. I never sought a drug a day in my life. I always wanted to go the opposite route; I didn’t wanna portray that image. I wanted to be a good role model even for my peers; to show the younger people comin’ up after me that there are other ways to do it besides selling drugs. I graduated college. Who knew this music stuff was going to end up being what it’s becoming, but I had another story to tell.AHHA: How did you find time to balance your busy schedule between your music career and being a college advisor?Bradd: I’m still trying to find that balance but both of them fulfill my heart. I’ve done social services all my life. I was a youth counselor at a prison; I was a social worker, case worker and a college advisor in a community center. Those jobs fulfill me just as much as being on that stage and performing, if not more ‘cause I love helping people. Balancing was always a hard thing, because they’re two occupations that require 110% and I don’t know if you can ever give 110%, so I can’t say it was a perfect balance. But when I was at one job, I did that job and when I was at the other one, I did [that] one. AHHA: How did broadcasts of your performances such as Showtime at the Apollo and 106 & Park affect your grind to the top?Bradd: People recognize me, people know who I am. I’m shocked and amazed. I did a couple of shows and I walk into venues and I’m introducing myself like nobody knows me, but everybody gets upset that I’m even introducing myself. Like, “Oh man, I know you, Bradd Marquis. ‘Radio’ I know you.” It makes me real to them. I’m an artist. When I say I’m an entertainer, they look at me like yeah, you’re an entertainer. Not like I’m an aspiring entertainer or nobody they’ve ever heard of. I have credibility now, whereas before, anybody can say they’re a musician, you don’t know. Seeing me on Showtime and 106 and hearing me on Hot 97 [people are] like, “O.K. he’s a real musician.”AHHA: Do you remember the time when you realized like “Damn, I’m a celebrity now?” Bradd: As a college advisor, part of my job was to go to high schools in the Lower East Side and the SoHo area and teach. After I did [a show], it just so happened that the next day I had to go teach in the school and all the little girls ran up to me and trapped me in a corner and started jumping on me and hugging me and kissing me like, “Oh my God, I seen you on television.”AHHA: They didn’t know that you were a singer before they saw you on TV?Bradd: They didn’t believe it. You don’t believe until you see it. That’s the thing about television. They finally believed it, bought into it and now I’m no longer just an entertainer, I’m a celebrity now. So it’s different.AHHA: Your single, “Radio” is getting airplay on Hot 97, and you have been nominated for UMA of the year, what else do you hope to accomplish in your musical career in the near future?Bradd: Well, I’m still unsigned hype, so obviously I’m still looking for a deal. Grammy’s man, I want like seven Grammy’s in ’08. Right now, I’m going through the last push. We built up this hype, my name is out there and people know me. You can continue to go in circles or you can really capitalize on that. I’m putting myself in a position to capitalize on it. Hopefully, I can have a record out. If it’s not “Radio” maybe another record out. Don’t be surprised if “Radio” is blastin’ off continuously ‘cause it’s just one of those songs. It’s my favorite song, it took me two months to write.AHHA: After working with Cochise, a producer who has worked with many known artists, how has he contributed to your style?Bradd: We molded this style together.  I came to him, and he had his way of producing, and I had my way of doing the things that I did. We pretty much had the same vision. We took the whole Donny Hathaway [sound] mixed [it] with a little Mary J. vibe and blended it all together. That’s my boy, we worked two years on this project. He had input on every aspect of what I’ve been doing from performing to being in the studio to sitting here interviewing. [Chochise] always got something to say. He’s been around for a long time. I respect the things he has to say.AHHA: What inspires Bradd Marquis to sing?Bradd: Setting a positive image [and] being a positive role model. There’s so much negativity going on, and it’s a copycat business. For a while that thug lovin’ and that thug R&B was what was in. A lot of what I was doing was like you know what, I’m so sick of hearing that. How can you make a baby off of thug music? Who really, actually sits down and does that? I didn’t grow up on that. I was [raised on] Luther Vandross, Anita Baker…then when I got into music, it was Mary J. and Jodeci. Even though they had that rugged style, you still could pop it in from front till end. That’s what I wanted to do. A lot of the music that I have right now came from a relationship I was in about a year ago. I talk about the things that I go through. So if I’m looking at the world and there’s something wrong with the world, that’s what I’m gonna talk about. If something is wrong internally in my relationship with a woman, then that’s what I’m gonna talk about. That’s where the “eventually’s” and all that stuff came from. That song hurt to get out. [laughs]AHHA: Who is your favorite singer at this time?Bradd: Mary J. is always my favorite,even though she’s not rockin’ right now. Waiting for Brandy to come back, love Chris Brown for what he does. I got respect for a lot of artists. Nobody is really jumping out right now. I listen to a lot of old stuff though. That’s what I keep in my deck, the Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Luther, old stuff up until the ’90s. AHHA: What is a song that you just keep singin’?Bradd: “Radio.” [laughs] Omarion’s last song, the one he did with Timbaland “Icebox.” That’s the last one that stuck in my head. I love Ne-Yo’s stuff, he’s coming with it these days. It ain’t too many that I’m really impressed with. AHHA: If you could be doing anything else besides music, what would that be? Bradd: I’d be an NBA star.