Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Miss Radcliffe Meets......Marc Nelson

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Multi-Platinum Grammy nominated Marc Nelson refined his craft as a singer and musician at the Creative & Performing Arts High School. Marc co-founded the phenomenal group Boyz II Men with best friend Nate Morris. And under the guidance of his mentor Babyface, he went on to become a great songwriter using his gift writing for other popular artists like: Toni Braxton, Jon B, Babyface, Tyrees, Brandy and more! Let's not forget he was a member of the '90s R&B group AzYet and he was the first to ever duet with Beyoncé. He's achieved global success as a solo artist with his three CDs:
I Want You, Chocolate Mood and Marc: My Words.

And It doesn't end there...As an aspiring thespian, Marc studied at the Beverly Hills Play House Acting School and has taken to the stage appearing in several productions, the most recent being "In-Laws From Hell" by Andrionna L. Williams. The list of his talents are endless.
I was lucky enough to grab a quick chat with him.

Miss R: Firstly, I thank you for taking the time to talk me. Let's get straight to it.
Your mother, Phyllis Nelson was a very successful recording artist and songwriter. How much of a influence was she to your music career?

My mom was a big, huge influence to me. It’s funny because I didn’t realise just how much as a kid. I didn’t know music was something I wanted to do professionally. Music was always around me growing up and I just loved all the melodies. My mom definitely played a big part.

Miss R: Are there any other family member's with musical interests and abilities?

Yeah, My dad is a saxophonist and he can also play the piano. I’d say I got my passion for music from my dad.

Miss R: What music did you listen to growing up?

I listened to a lot of ‘80s Alternative I mean, the Europeans were huge. You got artist like Phil Collins, Sade, Duran Duran, Mr.Mr.
Then in America, we had Christopher Cross, Luther Vandross.. but New Edition were my biggest influence.

Miss R: What 3 songs would I see on your recently played list?

Novacane - Frank Ocean
Sweet Bird - Herbie Hancock
A Cause - Dominic Miller

Life She Chose by Marc Nelson

Miss R: You have written songs for a long list of artist, some of which I've already mentioned in the intro.
Is there a song you regard your ultimate favourite?

Yeah, I would have to say 'Seven Seas' which is the song I wrote with my mentor Babyface. It was such an honor to have the opportunity to work with him- priceless memories. 
Another song is 'Truthfully' I wrote that for Brandy, who is an incredible artist.

Miss R: And where do you draw inspiration from when you write?

I learned to get it from anywhere! I say learn, because I was used to one-dimensional thinking but I found it would limit my creativity. I knew that if I wanted to make it in this business I had to learn to write out of my comfort zone.

Miss R: What was the first lesson you learned about the music industry?

The first lesson I learned was only 20% is about talent. The rest is all about the business!

Miss R: Do you think maybe new artists rely purely on their talent?

It’s a catch-22 because when you have a fresh newbie come out, you don’t wanna shoot him down. I mean, your talent does carry you but you have to understand that this is also a business, and you will never make it if you don’t have the right team around you.

Miss R: If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice what would it be?

First advice I’d give?..I'd say “Marc, be quiet and go with what’s happening and try not to desire to shine. You’re already shining"

Miss R: I love that! I may use that as my new mantra.

Yeah, people can sometimes mistake confidence for cockiness.

Miss R: So, as we know- you're an original member of Boyz II Men, who you now perform with at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. What was it like the first time being back with the boyz?

It was surreal, a little unnerving and exciting at the same time.

Miss R: What do you think about before you go on stage?
When I'm on stage with Boyz II Men, I’m behind the curtain looking around and taking it all in. I say,“Thank you God for bringing me home”. Even though I’m not in the group, God brought me back to my foundation. I consider it a blessing.

Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris, Marc Nelson and Nathan Morris

Miss R: Last year we saw the build up and excitement over the return of Az Yet. When will the new album be out?

The new album is called 'She's Magic' and will be out this September.

Miss R: Brilliant!! And will there be another solo album from Marc Nelson in the near future?

Yes, absolutely. My new album is entitled ‘Black Diamond’ which I’ll drop in September (this year). I also have a Pre-single 'I'm Open' coming out in August.
Miss R: 'Black Diamond'..Very nice. That's something for the fans to look forward to. So looking back..What has been your biggest achievement in your career (thus far)?

Co-creating the biggest R&B Group of all time Boyz II Men. Staying in the game for 26 years, being nominated for a Grammy, writing a song with the greatest writer ever.. Babyface and being the first to sing duet with the very beautiful and talented Beyoncé…I think I’ve done a lot.

Miss R: When you aren’t writing/producing or performing? What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I go to the movies by myself…Yeah, I like to clean my home and wash my clothes. It’s so relaxing, therapeutic almost.
Miss R: What 3 words would your closest friends/family use to best describe you?

Three words my friends or family would use?….Focused, Free, No nonsense!

Miss R: I know you to be a very driven and focused person. What keeps you motivated?

My mother passed away with dreams. She achieved one of them and was very successful with it. I watched her pass away with Cancer wishing she had more time. I made a vow not to live that way. That's what motivates me.

Miss R: Name 3 books you think everyone should read?

Fully Raw by Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
How Not To Die by Michael Greger/Gene Stone

Miss R: Name 3 things you couldn't live without?

My freedom. Music and my daughters.

Miss R: Being in the public eye comes with it's pros and cons. What would you say they were for you?

That's a tough question. Let me see, the pros of being in the public eye?  I think because of what I do, I think it’s helpful for connecting with people. It can be very helpful in that sense. I think people are more open to you. That’s the one Pro.
The Con is that people will already have a preconceived notion of who you are.

Miss R: What motto do you live by?

"Life is not comparative nor competitive.”

Miss R: Let's talk about your latest project. You are about to launch your Open Mic night (Open Mic Thursdays) in Vegas, starting this Thursday (June 2nd) at Backstage Bar & Billards. (excited much!) How did this idea come about?

Well, because I live in New York, I travel back and forth to Vegas to perform with Boyz II Men on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday and sometimes I didn’t want to fly home..I wanted to stay in town. So I thought to myself, What would be hot? What could I do that would be fun and allow people to get on the stage with a 8-piece band and sing, eat great food and dance to ‘80s & ‘90s Hip-Hop and R&B till 4 in the morning?…Can you Imagine that?! It's dope right?..
It was just an idea that I had and I figured It'd be a cool thing to put together.

Miss R:Amazing!! I see the interaction on social media. The people are really excited about it.
I guess you live an extremely busy life with writing/producing, performing with Boyz II Men and now Open Mic Thursdays. When do you find time for yourself? and how do you ensure you have that work/life balance?

I am very busy, but I believe in balance. You have to learn to shut yourself down. You can’t rely on anyone to do it for you. You have to do it yourself. I shut my phone off when I got to sleep. I don’t want to be bombarded. Everyone wants a piece of you and you have to learn to say no and I’ve learned how to do that.

Miss R: Thank you Marc. It's been a pleasure talking to you. I look forward to the Open Mic event and your new music! 

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