Marques Houston Interview
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On his last album, Naked, Marques Houston was straight to the point. His sophomore venture was eleven tracks deep and didn’t offer cutesy anecdotes about what relationships might be like, similar to the material of many of his fellow R&B running mates. Now, two years later and older he returns with his third solo album, “Veteran.” For a former member of the teenage singing group, Immature (also known as IMX) Marques is anything but at this stage of his life. During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Marques touches on his own personal ‘Circle,’ and how his current hit single came to be. In addition, M.H. reveals two key components of how to impress a girl and when we can expect to see collaboration with his brother Omarion.
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Marques Houston Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What Up? It’s Yo boy “Z” doin’ it real big, as always, on DJBooth.net and on the phone with me is an R&B superhero. Please welcome, the only Batman I could get on the phone this morning… my man Marques Houston. How are you?
Marques Houston: What’s up man, how you doing?
DJ Booth: I’m great, thanks and you?
Marques Houston: I’m good. I gotta get ready to go to rehearsal. Just trying to start out my morning right.
DJ Booth: Did you have breakfast this morning?
Marques Houston: Actually, yes I did. I had a bacon, cheese and egg sandwich.
DJ Booth: That doesn’t sound too healthy.
Marques Houston: Well it’s healthy the way I fix it!
DJ Booth: Okay, so you cooked it yourself. That’s acceptable.
Marques Houston: I always try to eat healthy.
DJ Booth: Now MH, you’ve been doing music on a large scale scene since ’92… six albums as apart of Immature slash IMX and now you are readying the release of your third solo album, aptly titled, Veteran. Other than the typical changes in your material over the years, how have you grown musically?
Marques Houston: I think I grow everyday musically as far as my ear, and what I like to listen to. I’ve grown even since I’ve recorded this album, about a year ago. If I were to make an album today it would sound different. My ear for music is everywhere, and you kind of get with it. You don’t want to be left behind. It’s like R&B, Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, and Alternative. I love all kinds of music. This albumis what I’ve always wanted to do, it has a lot of love songs. It’s got a lot of my stories. But, everyday I record music it definitely grows.
DJ Booth: That’s what M.H. is all about and it’s a good formula because the ladies love it and the guys… although they might not want to say it out loud, they can relate to everything you talk about…
Marques Houston: Yeah, and that’s what I like to do. I appreciate my guy fans, so I definitely like to have a couple of songs out there for them. I’m a guy and I know what it’s like to be loved, be in relationships, and then have to break up. It’s definitely for the ladies as well because a lot of my fans are woman who listen to my music, too. You got to cater to both sides, you know?
DJ Booth: Exactly. Your current single “Circle” I find eerily comforting… knowing that your ideal behind eventually being meant for one another, or not, is the same line I have used with my last three girlfriends. Honestly though, it has never seemed to work. Have you had any success in this arena, using that line?
Marques Houston: [Laughing] No, and that is the most personal song on the album. There’s always that one that keeps haunting you. If it was meant to be… you will be back together, no matter how long you’ve been a part. It could be up to a year, and still you’ll end up together. It’s just like when you’ve been with someone you just can’t break that relationship. There’s always that one that you think about.
DJ Booth: I agree, because when it’s said it’s meant. A lot of ladies just think you’re just saying it to say it, but it’s true.
Marques Houston: A lot of women do feel like that, but from a guy’s standpoint it really is the truth. You really mean it. It’s just that relationship. You never know what’s going to happen with it.
DJ Booth: You wrote almost every song on your new album, “Veteran.” Would you say you have developed more as a writer than a singer over your career?
Marques Houston: I think as a writer, that I have developed a lot more, because with writing it takes a lot of personal experiences. Back in the day I was young, and didn’t really have a lot to right about. Now as I have grown, I’ve had more to draw from, and you really want to get those songs that people can relate to, and they’ll say ‘wow’, that’s what I’ve just been through’. I take that personal experience with that creativity. Like Usher’s single called “Burn.” I was going through that exact situation. I told the girl I was breaking up with, that she needed to listen to that song, and she got really upset. A lot of times as writers [and artists], we have to be mindful of writing material that everyone can relate to.
DJ Booth: Exactly. You’ve sighted Michael Jackson as the major influence in your career, and as your idle. I noticed a growing amount of Michael-like falsetto-chorus’ or bridges in your newer music. Is there any similarity you can comment on?
Marques Houston: Michael Jackson is definitely an influence in my music. He was the first artist that caught my attention, since I was about 2 or 3 years old. I definitely think I was influenced by Michael Jackson, in the way I write and sing. I also like a good Marvin Gaye falsetto. That’s what the girls… the falsetto, without the falsetto, you’re nothing. It’s deadly. You have to be able to play a little piano and sing falsetto [laughing] …
DJ Booth: M. H. as a listener, I will tell you—you got it. You got it. So if anyone else says you don’t—they’re lying. You don’t need to worry about that.
Marques Houston: [Laughing] Okay, thank you man!
DJ Booth: The future for R&B looks bright. So I’d like your expert forecast here for 2007. With new albums from yourself, your friend and writing collaborator Ne-Yo, Bobby Valentino, Chris Brown. What does the R&B music scene need for continued success?
Marques Houston: R&B has to be creative and innovative, and not get caught up in trends. It is really going back to being real R&B. R&B never really went away, it just moved away from its classic sound, and became a part of Hip-Hop. Now, there is that separation again.
DJ Booth: Now you’re familiar with collaboration, being apart of a group for many years and on tour with many artists; So if you could re-form a group, who would you like to work with that you’d enjoy and that would also be successful?
Marques Houston: Wow, I never even really thought about that. I don’t know. Let me tell you, once you become a solo artist you don’t miss the group…
DJ Booth: Yeah, or the lack of money having to split 6 checks.
Marques Houston: One day, I would like to see me Usher, and Justin [Timberlake.] Like the LSG.
DJ Booth: Okay—let’s make it happen—bringing it back! You mentioned ‘Circle’ was a favorite of yours. What other song do have on this new album that you thoroughly enjoyed to create; writing and recording it.
Marques Houston: I would say ‘Missing Your Man,’ because when I got out of a relationship, you try to play tough and say No—I don’t care and then after sometime you miss being with that person. When you listen to the song, which is exactly what happened in my life. Anytime I work with the “Underdogs,” good things happen; they’re very fun as a production group.
DJ Booth: You never limit yourself to only doing one thing, which is good. You’re diversified and that allows the checks to keep rolling in. Besides this new album, Veteran, what else do you have planned for 2007? TV? Movie?
Marques Houston: I have a new movie project with my brother, Omarion, called ‘Somebody Help Me’ [written and directed by Chris Stokes.] It’s a real straight up horror flick. It’s not a comedy or parody, just horror.
DJ Booth: Okay, so who’s the chick that gets killed in the first five minutes of the movie?
Marques Houston: [Laughing]… Ah ha, can’t tell you.
DJ Booth: Who’s the better actor out of the R&B dudes, you, Usher, or Tyrese?
Marques Houston: I think we all have our different abilities musically and in acting so…uh…to take the politically correct route, I would have to say…me.
DJ Booth: Okay good— I was hoping you would take that route and be more modest. Where can your fans find you on the world wide wide to read more about your upcoming album release?
Marques Houston: www.myspace.com/marqueshouston, you can find out all the info there!
DJBooth: Simple, I like it. Best of luck to you.
Marques Houston: Again, thank you so much.