A little pissed off and a little devastated, “Bleed” seeks both revenge and clarity. Forget everything you thought you knew about the pop singer/songwriter and prepare to hear his finest work yet.
Exposed Vocals: Welcome back, Marc! First, let’s talk about the SNJ Millennials’ Trendsetter Award. This is the 1st Annual “30 Under 30 Trendsetter” Awards. For those that don’t know, it is their goal is to acknowledge and celebrate 30 individuals under the age of 30 who have successfully forged a path, generated income and serviced their communities in unique ways. You will be honored in the “Creative” category for your musical works as a singer, songwriter, and producer. Care to touch on this?
Marc: It’s indeed an honor to be receiving this award. I’m in good company with the other 29 recipients this year. I may be 23 years old, but I’ve always been an old soul at heart, but I’m happy to be grouped in this particular group of millennials. There are real estate agents, physicians, and business owners of many different fields all being represented this year. We’re all just out there trying to forge our own paths doing what we love and running our businesses. Many folks overlook artists and don’t consider them to be business professionals, but when you’re creating a marketable product (the songs), handling the production and the publishing aspects, as well as all the other things, it’s impossible to differentiate an artist from other business professionals. Kudos to SNJ Millennials for acknowledging that! I’m honored to represent those artists who are out there working hard to chase their dreams.
Exposed Vocals: Can you talk about your latest single “Bleed”? Can you explain your creative process?
Marc: I wrote “Bleed” in February 2017. I was out in the cold, walking in the woods one afternoon and the line, “how many times do you bleed when you think of me” came to me, I’m not sure what triggered it to be honest. As soon as I had that line though, I knew exactly what it meant to me and I knew the story I needed to tell, it’s a story of bitterness and anger as a result of unrequited love. I’ve been there more times than I care to recount, I had a lot to pull from in my own life, so the song didn’t take long to write. It was started and finished within five minutes.
The funny thing about “Bleed” is that I was in the middle of working on a record when I wrote it, but it didn’t dawn on me to work on this song during those sessions. The day I wrote it, I went home from the woods and typed out the lyrics only to save them in my folder of songs. I just thought it would be something I could use for a later project. About six months later, I was still in the studio working on the record and my producer, Jamie Myerson and I were working on a different song (that we later ended up scrapping) and we were going back and forth with music ideas. We ended up playing this great synth groove thing. We both loved it, but the lyrics we were working with didn’t seem to match the music sonically. I soon remembered the lyrics to “Bleed” that I had written six months prior and started singing those lyrics to the music Jamie and I were working with and it was just a perfect match. Jamie couldn’t believe I had written this song and not said anything about it for so long. Jamie said, “that’s a hit song right there.”
For me, “Bleed” will always be one of my favorite studio experiences. We started working with it late on a Friday evening and I drove home down the highway listening to the rough sketch of it. The next day, I woke up and went back to the studio to finish it. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of Chick Fil A, and a lot of creative juices flowing. It was brilliant!
Exposed Vocals: Your music is unique, who are you inspired by?
Marc: Anything with a good beat and a deep groove. A lot of my roots lie in rhythm and blues, so anything you can stomp to and bop your head to inspires me a lot. Couple a good groove with some emotional songwriting and you’ve got a great song. Christine McVie is one of the finest songwriters. She’s notorious for writing some great love songs with a great boogie feel. “You Make Loving Fun” and “Don’t Stop” are great examples of this. Snoop Dogg has some of the best beats in his tracks. His rhythms shake you right to the core, not to mention his lyrics never age and always feel fresh. Emily Saliers is another writer who I relate to and draw a lot of inspiration from. She writes some overwrought stuff. I especially love “Language or the Kiss” and “Love Will Come to You.”
Exposed Vocals: Do you collaborate with others? What is that process?
Marc: I’m an artist who likes to paint with a broad stroke artistically, so anyone who likes to work that way, I find that to be an especially meaningful collaboration. When I first started writing songs, I worked with Shane Rojas, who is a very gifted guitarist, writer, and singer. We spent five years writing, performing, and recording together and I think we learned a lot from each other and made each other better. We would often spend all day in my living room, sitting around the coffee table, taking turns writing lines and arranging songs. It was a very old school Rodgers and Hammerstein type approach. I like to think of that time as a songwriting boot camp.
Once I started making solo albums, I enlisted the help of some great players I admired. I went to high school with a very talented piano player by the name of Ronnie Danino. He helped me write a lot of the music for my first album. I have him to thank for songs like “Part of Me,” “Nineteen,” and “Mystery.” He’s a really sophisticated musician.
In addition to that, I’ve had the chance to work with both Chris D’Antonio and Eric Raible of The Wayside Shakeup. They’ve helped me write the music to “Let Me Be Your Secret,” “Footprints,” and quite a few other songs.
I’ve also had the great fortune to meet a guitar player by the name of Jahson Saunders. I was walking in the park one day and heard this great acoustic guitar playing, I peered over the park’s shrubs and lo and behold, there was Jahson playing. I quickly introduced myself, and a week later he came over my house and we had written three songs together, two of which will appear on my new album coming out next year.
Most notably though, I’ve collaborated heavily with Jamie Myerson who has co-produced and engineered all of my solo work. That process is a little different, as I’m usually coming to him with a fully formed song, and we team up to polish it up and finish it off. Jamie is another artist who paints with a broad stroke and always has good ideas. We have a lot of common ground musically and when we put our heads together, the results always blow me away.
Exposed Vocals: Please discuss how you respond to and interact with fans
Marc: Connection is vital. We need to rely on each other and interact with one another. You know, there’s musicians out there like BANKS who has a designated cell phone just for fans to call her on. I think that is so cool, and such an act of love. I think my most vital interaction with people is my work. If you listen to the songs, you really get to know me and you also find yourself in them too. That connection helps us understand we’re all more alike than we are different. That’s a large part of why I do what I do. In addition to the songs though, tweet me, hashtag me, Instagram me, I’m here, I’ll respond.
Exposed Vocals: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Marc: Do it for love, not for reward and certainly not for fame. Set out to make something wonderful. Follow intuition, take risks, and commit to serving your artistic integrity. Keep your focus on making great art.
Exposed Vocals: Any last-minute shout outs?
Marc: Congratulations to my fellow SNJ Millennials 30 Under 30 Award winners this year. I look forward to celebrating with you all in November!
Also, all my love to anyone who listens to my music – you’ll never know how much that means to me. I hope you all find a special place in heart for my songs.