Monday, March 23, 2020

Adrian Marcel Interview: Latest Album "98TH", Touring, Acting, Being An Entrepreneur & More

Platinum-selling R&B Singer, Songwriter & Actor ADRIAN MARCEL hit the Billboard chart in 2014 with the anthem "2 AM" featuring Sage the Gemini and the single has amassed over 70 million YouTube videos. Subsequently, he released his 2017 major label debut album #GMFU (Got Me F**ked Up) and went on international tours to starring in TVOne's The Bobby DeBarge Story as James DeBarge. More recently, he released his sophomore album 98TH fully independent on his own label imprint, Third Voice Music Group. I caught up with Adrian Marcel and he share how he got to this point in his career.

TERRANCE: Briefly tell us how you were discovered and signed into the music industry.
ADRIAN MARCEL: I started out very young. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and I didn't come from a musical family per se, however there was always a lot of music around me. For whatever reason, God chose to give me this gift he did and I knew it pretty young and so did my parents and all of the elders around me, they kind of saw it. So everyone kind of has a village and worked extremely hard to mold me and keep me around and in programs that I needed to be that could teach me more of the craft. So, when I became of age, when I got out of high school, I told myself I'm going to push and meet different people. I was able to get a deal with Republic Records in 2013 and from there, I hooked up with Raphael Saadiq from Tony! Toni! Tone! He started to mentor me on different things. I had a lot of success with my record "2 AM" with Sage the Gemini. We got to No. 4 on the Billboard charts and then I went on tour with Keyshia Cole, Kelly Rowland, The-Dream, Elle Varner. I just got to work with a lot of great artists and artists I had looked up to. From my experiences there, it brought me to where I am now which I chose to go Independent and to not only put my focus on the artistry, but the business side as well and kind of knowing the ins and outs of the craft entirely. So, now I'm Independent and signed to my own label Third Voice Music Group and I just released my latest project 98TH under that label. In 2019, I started in the Bobby DeBarge story as James DeBarge on TVOne and now we're on the 98TH tour under my company. I'm extremely blessed to have worked with a lot of great people and done a lot of great things man and to still be blessed to be able to still be pushing and pushing for even more.
TERRANCE: How did you approach the 98TH album differently from your debut #GMFU?
ADRIAN MARCEL: Well, of course when you're with a label you have things you hope you get to do, but with time and the way it works sometimes, all those things don't happen. I had released a couple of mixtapes but nothing I could officially call an album, so GMFU was the first album that I made. It was right after my label and I parted and from there, that's where I think I was a little more bitter with the situation and being a new artist and thinking things were going to be a certain way, especially when you're focused in the artist realm. You're not taking into consideration the business and all the things you should at the time. So, with that I was able to create the album and I thought it was very good. I don't think any of the music I've released has been careless. It's always been driven by emotions and driven by the times I'm at. But I think with 98th, the difference was the time that I took from music. I took about two years off to really, really dive into myself, to my craft and to what I wanted and to really focus on my business plan, so 98TH was the beginning of a new creative realm for me. I had just moved back to Oakland and I was sort of diving back into my family, loved one's and my children and really focusing on being a human being and living life and of course, again, studying the business and finding out where my money is, finding out how to get it and finding out what a song is really worth in how many places. So, I just started to kind of think differently and create my business, create my label and other endeavors and just find myself. I came up with 98TH because it was more of where I was now. I was back to that kid on 98th when I moved to the block when I was 15 and I finally knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do music. I knew I wanted to be a singer. I knew that. That was something you couldn't tell me no different and at some point in my career I lost that mentality because you sort of give it away for what you want; I want the video, I want the record label, but you give away these other dreams and goals that you create for  yourself and the confidence that you have sometimes. I feel like I'm extremely blessed to be able to get back to that and now coming back to that mentality, I feel like I'm back on 98th saying, I know who exactly I am. I know what I want and you cannot tell me otherwise. You can't tell me I need a label to truly do the things I wanna do. With or without them it's all possible and that's the mentality I went into creating 98TH and the entire album is really a symbolic time for what I was going through and I think that if people really dive into it and really listen, you can hear these different symbolism, metaphors and analogies, honestly, that are connected to my life today.
TERRANCE: Have you decided what you would like your next big role to be?
ADRIAN MARCEL: I haven't decided because you know, I don't feel it's up to me. It's never really up to the artist. I think it's what calls you, what attracts you and for me, I think anything I do in the craft of entertainment, I just take it extremely serious. I want my name to be respected and not just because of the name, but you can guarantee whatever it is I'm on or associated with, that I'm giving it my all. So, when I was blessed with that role, it took a lot of studying and research to really dive into the character because you're so different. I'm nothing like James DeBarge, but I like that. I think that's what acting is all about. I think that's the beauty of acting is that you get to become somebody else. When you get to act, you get to put yourself in the shoes of that person and be that person as you would if they were you. Right now, me being fresh, I'm like new fish in the water and so I'm taking everything, you know what I mean? As long as it's respected to my passion and to the culture then, I'm in, you know? As long as I get to show some chops man, I'm with it. Of course, I want to get to that level of really playing those dominant roles and being able to be a part of the number of talented black male actors in the industry.

TERRANCE: What has the experience and feedback been like thus far on the 98TH tour?

ADRIAN MARCEL: It's awesome man, because like I've said, I've been blessed to do a lot of touring with a lot of great artists. This is my first tour I've put together where I'm headlining, and so it's dope to see people come out and the way their keeping in touch. I haven't been on stage in two years, so it was an experience to find this evolved character of Adrian Marcel and just bring it and deliver it to the people and the way they've been receiving it is so crazy man. I love that people come to me and their like, you look so happy, you look so free, you look like you're letting lose, and that's honestly what it is. That's the whole point of calling it the 98th tour, because that's the spirit I'm in. Again, going back to the saying, you can't tell me my direction because I know who this person is. I know what this person need and I know what he takes and what he doesn't, you know what I mean? So now, they're getting that person on stage. I've created these different elements I do to the show in every city and the reaction is always priceless. It's always the same thing. It's just kind of like they're just blown away like, is he serious right now? So they love it though and I just think that's what the shows are all about. It's truly for people to come and connect. It's not just about me coming out and singing to them. It's a connection where you come to laugh and have a good time with your spouse or significant other, it's like the perfect date night or you come with your homegirl or homeboy, you can say you had a blast or a good time. That's what shows should do. It should make people leave like you got more than what your money's worth. 
TERRANCE: When you're not creating music or Entertainment, what do you enjoy the most?

ADRIAN MARCEL: I'm a family man when I'm not Adrian Marcel. When I'm not on stage or in the studio or interviewing or doing press run, I'm with my kids, man. I love going to the movie's. That whole experience is still dope to me. My oldest daughter is into dirt biking, so I find myself at the tracks a lot with her and just letting her be wild and crazy, you know? I've found solitude in just rest. I think a lot of people always preach about work and work and work and work, but I think that if you do the right amount of work and do the work you're supposed to do and to the level you should be doing it, then you're able to make that time to rest and rejuvenate and come back to it. I find that, breaks for me are extremely necessary to give me a reason to go harder. It's like working out. You can work out, work out, work out on a daily and that's cool, but you'll work yourself out of wanting to do it because you go so hard. You have to be able to pace yourself and take breaks, go on vacation and get sloppy for a second and eat all the stuff you want to eat and when you come back home, jump right back in it. Find that new flame, that new fire and that reason to go to the next level.
TERRANCE: Who are some artists you're listening to or one's you'd highly recommend?

ADRIAN MARCEL: I've really been listening to Snoh Aalegra. I love her latest album. I think she's extremely talented. I'm always listening to H.E.R. She's a Bay Area representative. I listen to a lot of Rap as well which is crazy. I listen to Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch and I'm always listening to Nipsey. My playlist is kind of a spread out of new, old and all kinds of different genres. I'm kind of all over the place at times.
TERRANCE: What advice would you give to the aspiring entrepreneur?

ADRIAN MARCEL: My advice would be, just be consistent. Surround yourself with people who are like minded, who care about you and who could add to your abilities. I think that the hardest thing is finishing. It's easy to start something and an idea and it start out exciting and happy, but you have to take the hits. You have to turn the L's from loses into lessons. You have to apply the knowledge that you obtain. I think we get a lot of knowledge throughout the daily basis, but we don't apply it all and that's what it comes to. To apply something is to be able to complete it. You have to as an entrepreneur or anyone whose doing something on their own or for themselves or investing in themselves, you have to be a finisher. Follow the shots and don't just stand there with your hands up hoping it goes through and when it doesn't, then you beat yourself up and walk away. No, go catch the rebound and put it back up until it goes in and be patient. I'm sure not everyone agrees with what I follow, but I follow God, and I believe that when you do what you're supposed to be doing and you're at where you're supposed to be at, the right things happen when their supposed to. That's what it all comes down to is belief and faith in God or in the universe whatever you believe in. For me, it's faith in God, knowing that I haven't been brought this far just to settle. I think that the biggest thing entrepreneurs need to know is that the only way to loose is to quit.
TERRANCE: Any final words that you would like to share with your fans, followers and the readers?

ADRIAN MARCEL: I'm just extremely thankful and grateful for everyone who has been rockin' and listening to the music and who has ultimately been supporting. We have a mentorship program, Marcel University, which is a nonprofit organization of mine where I'm able to mentor aspiring artists and young talented artists. Just once again, what I've been through and where I'm at today. Again, being more aware of the business and investing in yourself and believing in yourself. So, again I just thank everyone for rockin' the way that they do and thank you for having me on RnB Junkie as well.


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