“When you are trying to be successful, you have to sacrifice a lot, and there is no guarantee you’ll get it back tomorrow. So it’s strenuous, but if you can’t think of doing anything else I think it’s worth it.”
Check out the interview with Marcus Christ exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
Honestly, this all began in stages. As a child in the 80’s, I was influenced by the big names like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, Anita Baker, Sade, Prince, Eddie Murphy. So when I got older, I wanted to showcase my own talent. In 5th grade about 11 years of age, I began playing trombone and singing in the choir. My music teacher liked me enough to get me to audition for honor choirs, and I was picked by a coordinator nicknamed “Mickey Mouse”. After the 6th grade, I was tired of making music so I just listened mostly to hip-hop and R&B like Mariah Carey, R. Kelly or Bone Thugs and Harmony. In high school, I joined a rap group of 15-20 students called “46th Lane”. After high school, some friends and I from that group and other ex-students would hang out every night for like 10 years smoking, drinking, and freestyling. So my freestyle game is so strong right now I’m not even scared of Em. I mastered rap, so now I want to master singing and songwriting.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
The first thing an artist should do is develop their social media following. I would even buy print materials like posters and flyers and go to my neighboring cities for tickets sales, but you gotta invest money into it. Radio and TV are excellent ways to promote yourself, but it can be hard to get offered or find a TV/radio deal, so do local shows like open mics and stuff. You always want to build a strong local following before you grow into a national or international brand. Finally, use those newsletters. Newsletters or “email correspondence” is the way I do 90% of my business when I’m not on stage. Everybody who’s anybody has an email.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
Ultimately I want to sign and work with newer or younger acts as I get older. I don’t see myself on stage for long, but I do want to continue my career by producing and writing songs for other artists. I want MtB Entertainment to have a world-class roster of talents. I may even want to keep the company in the family for as long as possible. I want to be able to leave something to my kids. The music didn’t keep me away from my family, but the shows, contracts, and chasing money for a better life did.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
The hardest thing about being in the music industry is competition. They say you’re only as good as your last hit song. It’s January and they ask “So what do you have to bring to the table now?” All the big names like Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston didn’t have only one big hit record. They had like 20. So whenever I see someone get excited about their new songs, I want to ask them “Now what? You got one hit song. Call me when you got 15!” You feel me? Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. That movie Solo with Jamie Foxx is really how it is sometimes. Some of the most brilliant artists are here in L.A. So the stakes and level of competition is higher here, but they also say “Higher risk, higher reward” So no offense but Bowie, Maryland is not at the same level of artistry as Los Angeles, California. I’m sorry.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
Well, I was in Compton until I got arrested in September for something I didn’t do. So when I got out in December I stayed at a hotel in Carson, California until I found a place in Orange County. Orange County is connected to L.A. so it’s not too far, but I’m loving my new city. I’m located in Buena Park, but I go to Compton every month for family and court. Compton is known for the whole gangsta rap genre, but there is a rich music history in all of southern California. The Beach Boys went to Hawthorne High School which are rivals with my high school Leuzinger in Lawndale. I almost performed (and I still might) at the famous Viper Room on Sunset Blvd. I had a show on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles at the Airliner. So there is a lot of musical venues and music history everywhere I go here.
What are some of the advice you can give and share with other artists who are still trying to come up?
If you are still trying to make it, establish your end goal or you’re gonna be like that energizer bunny, “and keep going and going and going”. I gotta set time aside for me to lay down, eat, sleep, and work. I don’t have an off time. At this level, I’m “on-call”. If a new gig or something comes up I want to know because that can help pay rent. I barely see my family even though I’m doing this for them. When you are trying to be successful, you have to sacrifice a lot, and there is no guarantee you’ll get it back tomorrow. So it’s strenuous, but if you can’t think of doing anything else I think it’s worth it. What if you don’t or can’t make it? Do you have a contingency? A backup plan? Anybody can make music, but this is the entertainment industry so we are trying to make money.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
The best thing that happened to me in my music career was when I was released from jail, and I heard my music for the first time in a year. I’d forgotten lyrics, the beat and hearing it again for the first time made me feel like a first time listener in a way. It was rewarding to be able to hear and see the tangible work I have put into this hobby turned career. I had guards and other staff looking up songs. They would come to my cell humming them. It was a “unique” experience.
What is your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is God. It’s in my name Marcus (God if War) Christ (Anointed one) or “Anointed God of War”. My Christian background allows me to see the suffering that Christ had to face as a forewarning to the suffering we must face ourselves 2,000 years or whenever later. Jesus did so many great things and good things for his people, but his people still turned on him for money and killed him. So doing this music for myself or another human or for fame and money won’t benefit me if I’m only entertaining my future killers. I do this for my Father in Heaven who is able to make one being crucified on a cross out of 100,000’s of other people; talked about and revered for 2,000 years. So after seeing, hearing, and believing the gospel of Christ along with other examples from the bible the thought of me jumping on stage shouldn’t be the “Challenge of the Day” for me. It’s just business as usual.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Not anyone. You got to have a message. Or you have to be entertaining to look at yourself. Look at Bizarre from D12. He was the gimmick guy. His weight and his hair color was/is his prop. I tried to take him seriously as a rapper, but he a glorified attention seeking man. That hair color and expressive facial gesture may entice children to become curious and get their attention, but a hip-hop head like me is quickly turned off to money schemes. If I was a Bizarre fan in 98′ and told my friends in high school, they would’ve laughed. These mumble rappers are trying to get the easy money while they still can, cause mumble rap is gonna fall off like everything else. Any and everything that gets big in hip-hop eventually gets old.
Where can we find you on social media?
On social media, you can find me mostly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as Marcus Christ. My label website operates my blog, and my artist website promotes new music for sale.
Artist Website: http://www.marcuschrist.com
Label Website: http://www.mtbentertainment.org