Blast from the Past: Marc Marcel Oct.15,2010

Describe how you feel about your poetry?


Marc: Honest…thoughtful…and I only say thoughtful only because I know there
are at times hours and hours of thought behind certain poems that I have
written, sometimes months. It is you or the public’s own opinion whether
they think it is good or not, but can’t nobody tell me I didn’t put thought into
it…and they sure can‘t tell me that I’m not honest.
I mean, those are 2 things that I can control, when I first started I said no
matter what, I want to be honest. I never wanted to leave here, and have
someone read something of mine, that wasn’t the truth, at least from how I
see things. And the thoughtfulness that I put into my work, I’m not really
one to be satisfied so it just grows more and more with time…honestly I
can see why so many great artists have been called or went insane.

What’s the back story or history behind your CDs?


Marc: Well, when I first started, I remember thinking about an R&B singer,
‘D’Angelo,’ and how he had only put out like, 2 CDs in like 5 years, and I
just though, ‘That was such a waste of talent.’ I mean, I look at it like, if
you are an artist, then live it, be your art, give the public something, you
shouldn’t sit on your ass just after your put out a CD, especially not your
first one.
So, with that being said, I knew I was never going to be that type of
artist…the only thing that was going to be in my way, was finding who was
going to produce all these CDs. Well, on my first 2 projects, I was blessed
to have worked with, ‘Brian ‘Beano’ O’Neal,’ and on my second project, I
worked with a production team called ‘Beatsmith,’ then is when I started
producing. I produced 2 tracks for that CD, ‘Never Look Back,’ and funny
to say, I never did. Ever since then I have been producing my own
albums, 13 in all.
I never set out to become a producer, in fact, it’s not something that I am
very vocal about, but I surprisingly become good enough at it to put out
quality albums, as well as produce for others. But I knew it was going to
be a problem trying to get producing to do my albums at the rate that I
wouldn’t to produce them, so sometimes you got to do it yourself.
I would say that all of my CDs have a different theme, I’ve tried to give off a
different feeling with each of them. It only makes since, I’ve chanced so
much as a person within the past 10 years, so my work should change and
fit different moods as well

What city or state stands out to you when you think back on past
shows and why?


Marc:  Well, I guess the best way for me to do this, is for me to just close my
eyes, and say what cities would come to me immediately…
And those would be…Miami, Hawaii, Denver, the Bay, Austin…St.
Louis…in no particular order…Washington DC. All for different reasons.
Hawaii, probably the second most beautiful place I have ever been, it just
felt like heaven for a Spoken Word Artist. I actually went surfing, swam in
some of the clearest water, I had to remind myself not to drink it, on top of
that, I still manage to do poetry. But it felt different, at that stage in my life,
it was all about the hustle for me, ‘How many CDs could I sell,’ but at that
moment, I felt like a, ‘Real Artist.’ Like, all that other shit didn’t matter. On
one of my off nights, I was at a gathering, it just so happened that they had
a microphone there, and people had gotten word that there was a spoken
word artist there. Usually I wouldn’t do this, but they all just got together in
the room, came in from outside, sat on the floor, and waited for me, about
50 to 60 people or so. And I had so much fun, it felt…it felt right. Like
Socrates, and the tales of how he would just go around and share his
insight with people, not for profit, but for conversation, building and
knowledge. I do look at art in that manner, if I didn’t have to make a living I
would give all my material away for free.
If Hawaii is Heaven for a Spoken Word Artist, then Miami, is the Nightclub,
and I mean this in a good way, it is POPPING! I never believed it, until I
saw it for my own two yes, and it’s not what it use to be as far as several
years ago, but it’s still the most glamorous scene for Spoken Word Artist.
Austin, TX is a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons, mostly the people.
Denver, and the Bay, the same thing, the people, I’m always sad to leave.
St. Louis and Washington DC speak to me for a number of different
reasons. Strangely so, Atlanta doesn’t come to mind if I just instantly think
of my past. I don’t know why that is, especially because it was my
foundations as an artist.

What advice would you give to a poet trying to get their work out?


Marc: Well, that depends on what they want to do with it, and what is accessible
to them. But there are many avenues, more than when I first started. The
first product I ever put out were 2 books, 1 book of poetry, Unchained,’ and
my first novel, ‘Saint Thomas.’ But I would go at it so differently now, the
cost would be much cheaper. It’s pretty easy to get your books in stores,

you just have to make the effort, make the call. But my focus has been
Spoken word CDs for the past 9 or so years, and that’s a whole different
market. But oddly enough, everything is changing, everything is done
online now, so quite frankly, to get your work out there, you have to get a
website, put your work up there for sell, and go out and market yourself. If
you’re a spoken word artist, or any kind of artist, go places and perform,
gather an emailing list. Basically, you have to pimp yourself, otherwise, it
just needs to be a hobby to you.

What is one question you wish people would ask you?


Marcel: Was that Mars, we just flew past?

Where do you want to see your poetry take you?


Marcel: Wow…well…honestly…my poetry has already given me all I ever wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I still want to do, as a man, as a
human being, as far as see Egypt, eat Sushi in Japan, but those aren’t
places my poetry takes me, unless im performing there. But, honestly, I
find myself trying to come up with new motives, and goals that I know deep
down aren’t important. My main objective when I first started, I feel I have
already attained, was that my work would live on. Now, I just feel like I’m
sitting back and watching the last part of the movie. …Let me explain.
When I first started, as I said my objective was that my words would live
on, I had something to compare this to, or should I say someone. Emily
Dickerson.
I can remember..
to where I wanted. My first goal, my first objective when I came cgdme to
where I first wanted, or thought.
I find that im now motivating myself a second time around, I have to come
up with a new goal, but xffdfd

Why do you think there is a stereo type that if a African American
(specially men) who are artist translate to so many as a person who
doesn’t want to work a day job?


Marcel: Well, I can’t really say I’ve heard that express too much, but I guess it’s a
valid stereotype, but not just with black men, I would say all artists. And I
say this, only if someone is going to make the stereotype, because while I
don’t necessarily think it is true, I do know many artist, like myself, that
would rather go homeless than work a day job.

Myself in sense, being that I have being doing this for the past 10 years,
not taking orders from anyone, basically calling my own shots, going where
I want to go, seeing who I want to see…it would be an extremely change,
and shock to me to just all of a sudden go get a day job. It would take
years to transition to a point of comfort. Maybe this is what some other
artist feel…so, being so…part of that stereotype would be true, but not 100
percent. That is the thing people say about stereotypes, it’s not 100
percent truthful, but there is some truth to it.

Who have you worked with within the past and would want to work
with in the future?


Well, in the past, I’ve worked with mostly poets, quite too many to start
naming. I’ve put out 13 Spoken Word CDs, and have had at least 1 guest
feature on 9 of them, some of them I have had 4 or 5, and 1 of them I
actually had 26 Spoken Word Artist on the album, it was a special project I
wanted to do, a double disc CD, devoted for collaborations with other
spoken word artist, called, ‘All Around the World.’ I can honestly say,
surprisingly so, they brought some really good writing out of me. 60
percent of that album is all their concept and idea for the poem, I had a few
solo tracks, but the pieces that they were on, I mostly vibed off of what
they had written.
I really can’t say I have a yearning to work with someone now, I’m very
open to the idea, but I don’t think about it. …I guess I would say, I think it
would be amazing to have, ‘Sigur Ros,’ produce one of my next albums,
that would be a gift. I am totally, and utterly in love with their sound. It
would be nice to have someone else produce my CDs for a change, I’ve
produced my last 11 albums, with the exception of my cousin, ‘Mike
Greggs,’ producing one of the 4 disc on my Greatest Hits album, ‘Time
Capsules.’
I guess the coolest person I have worked with, and person I’m most
thankful for, my Father, ‘Guy Bragg.’ He is the pianist in his own jazz
band, ‘Sterling Silver.’ When I started producing my CDs, he did some
background piano for me, but I just recently did a cut, ‘Jazz is for the Hip,’
for his CD, ‘Never Too Late,’ that just came out.

What emotions were you feeling when you saw yourself on TV for
the first time?


Marc: The first time I saw myself on TV, it depends when, live or period.
Because the first time I saw myself on TV, was a video of the show I was on. I never saw the show air live. That was pretty cool, only because it
was an interview section in there, and it was a joint appearance with one of
my friends, ‘Femi ‘The Dri Fish’ Lawal.’ I think I watched it twice, and then
went back to it 2 years later and watched half of it, but once it got to my
performance part I turned it off. I haven’t watched it since. It’s hard to
watch my beginning stages, and that television performance caught the
last leg of my beginner stages.
The first time I saw myself live, I wasn’t too thrilled, mainly because BETJ
choose the poem I didn’t want them to air, instead of the one I was 99
percent expecting. I actually got up from the couch and threw the remote
control across the room
.

Describe your signature piece and why do you think that one
stands out?


Marc: Well, I can’t really do that, for a few reasons. One, I purposely have
stopped performing a poem, if I feel that it has run it’s course, just for the
sake of not having a signature poem. You see, I never want one poem, to
mean more than my portfolio of work. I know a lot of poets still living off of
poems from 10 years ago, and maybe they’ve written something new, but
they don’t perform it as much, so the only thing people remember them for,
is that 1 poem from 10 years ago. That’s not me, that’s not something I
ever wanted to be said about me, I think I’ve made sure of that.
And Two, with me, probably because I’ve constantly brought new work out
to the public, I would have to ask, ‘What make something a signature
poem?’ I mean, if I actually sat here and tried to think of it, I could think of
a particular poem for my own reasons, but just as soon as I think of one, I
can think of another for other reasons. And, what’s makes something, your
signature poem? Is it the response? Is it the writing? Is the praise, or the
ridicule? If that’s the case, than I have had many different poems that can
fit in that category and more. I have a poem now, where at the moment,
over 35,000 viewed on youtube, but the poem barely made my, ‘Greatest
Hits,’ album. Honestly the only reason it made it, was because of the
response. It just so happens, that you can’t please everybody, and that
poem gets a lot of negative feedback (Understatement), from rednecks
and racist, mostly too stupid to understand that I’m saying what most of
them are criticizing the poem for. But in a sense, that could also make
something your signature poem. So to get back to the question, I honestly
can’t answer that. …Truthfully, I’m glad I can’t answer that.

What in today’s society would you like to be acknowledge that
needs to be fixed for our future let alone for today?


Marcel: Religion…I think our faith in religion has been the biggest mass murderer
of anything else in history. I think it divides us more than race, more than
wealth, more than sexual preferences. I think we have it completely
upside down, using man made systems to protest our faith to something
no man here is even capable of understanding. I wish people would get up
off their small little island, and not only realize how big the world is, but
how big the Universe is, maybe then they will see how small some of their
problems are.

if we could as poets have our own network not just a show….what
would you want it to showcase? Where and why?


Marcel: Well, first, you would have to have a few reality shows, one that is uncut,
documentary style, and another that is some sort of contest (You have to
appease those that don’t like to think too much). Then you would have to
have the News, and then an Update News after the News, called
Undercover News, and this news just contradicts everything on the news
before it. And then you have to have a few drama shows, I can think of a
few right now that would be great leading men and women to fill those
parts, cause the scene is filled of drama. You have to have comedy
shows, cause our lives are nothing less than hysterical. Got to have a few
talk shows, poets love to gossip. And last but not least, you got to have a
few dating shows…poets love to date each other.


 
OPEN MIC!!!
(the stage is yours! say what you please)


Marc: I think I’ve said enough. I’ve enjoyed your questions, and truly wouldn’t
know anything more to add.

 Well, I don’t know if my advice to them would so much advance them in
their choosing to be a poet, as it would with anything they would decided to
do. Because there’s really no special formula to this, you either do it, or

you don’t, and how much you do it, depends on what you put into, just like
anything someone would decided to do.

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