Marcus Allen, The Leonardo da Vinci of Rhythm & Blues.
Both songs appeal sensually and intensely, with rhythmic synergies bending to the yearning whims of harmonic vocals.
Marcus Allen, affectionately known as "The Prince of Charleston (SC)," is a native of the area.
He was about 15 years old when he found his sound. Ironically, he was beatboxing, while his peers rapped. Allen sang out a tune and stunned students that were in earshot, who couldn't believe what they had just heard. “People took me to the music teacher," says Allen. "She took me to a principal after she heard me singing. She told me that I gotta change my schedule in the middle of the school year [to include music]. When she changed my schedule, she changed my life,” Allen cast back to the early days.
Allen became a singing phenom while in middle school. He performed at every talent show that Charleston had to offer.
“It was scary. I was sweating, my underarms were sweating. It still happens from time-to-time, because if it doesn’t happen, I’m wondering, ‘Why am I not having good jitters?’ I don’t want to get too comfortable.
“It took a lot of [me] falling on my face, and getting back up. It took a whole lot of losses to get the wins. I just realized [that] if it [music] was something I wanted to do, I needed to go full force with it. That turned into me getting an independent record deal when I was in high school, and my first album came out then.”
Allen signed with UDown Records at the age of 16, and released novice CD, Never Again. Following that, while still a newbie in the business, he released another thumper called, Get To Know Me. By this time he was distributing music from his own label, MA Productions.
Technically, Allen has been in the entertainment business for 15 years. That’s almost two decades of crooning. At this point in the game, he’s pretty committed. However, Allen shared that if he couldn't do music, he would teach or do promotional marketing. In case you didn't know, the vocalist attended college, pursuing a degree in education.
“I have a love for these things. I have a genuine love for the music. I have a genuine love to teach. I have a genuine love for promotional marketing.
'I’m not going to lie. I believe in sticking hard to the passion so you don’t get complacent, confused or derailed but, this is life. We’re talking about life. Sometimes, you’re going to need to pick up something else until you get to that place where you’re making money or you can take care of your household. I will definitely encourage that if you’re going to do something, do something that’s going to impact someone else’s life in a positive way or do something that you you’ll absolutely love, that’s not going to drive you crazy because you’re not doing what you really want to do.”
Allen is part of the non-profit organization Kidz 4 Kidz 843.
“We’re about to do a back to school giveback in Hollywood, SC on August 18th. This is officially the first year that I’ve been really involved with it, and putting my best foot forward.
I’m still in my city. I dip in and dip out. It’s imperative for me that I help the people where I come from, because where I came from, we came from nothing. We came from the hood, so it’s important for me that I go back to the same schools that I went to and talk to the kids. It’s important to me that I go back to the same neighborhood and try to inspire and influence. It’s imperative that I stay and prove to the naysayers that I can still make it. These are my people and they are the reason I’m here,” says Allen. “Some people aren’t for you and they really don’t even want to see you make it.”
Allen is just stating big facts, and looking impeccably dapper at the same time.
“I wore this just for you,“ he joked while talking about the variations of style & music.
“Fashion is a major impact for me. That’s not the same story for everyone, but it’s major for me. I feel like when people see you, they want to see the whole package. They want to see you dressed to the nines and they want to see you with a positive attitude. They want to see that you really got some talent. I just like doing this. Putting the outfits together helps with the energy.”
The serenader isn’t clout chasing, he’s ensuing, while pulling others up with him. It’s another thing to broadcast what you want to do, it’s a whole other thing to do it, which Allen is showing and proving once again.
“There are so many people around me that’s helping me get to where I’m going, and where I’ve gotten thus far. I have to make sure they’re good. I don’t see it any other way. Without my team, I am nothing.
It’s important for me to help the people where I come from. In order for me to do that, I have to get into a certain plateau. I’m going to fight, we’re going to fight [me and my team], to get where we’re going to go. There will be more albums other than the arenas and stadiums, more tours, and anything that I can get my hands on that’s positive, that I can turn it around and use it as an influence for the kids. That’s what I’m going to do. That what’s next—Everything. Whatever I can get my hands on that’s possible.”
Allen is touring with R&B crooner Tank. He’s shared the stage with other affluent artist like Raheem Devaughn, Lyfe Jennings, Trey Songz, Fantasia, Eric Bennet, Ryan Leslie, Bobby Valentino, Calvin Richardson and Angie Stone. He’s done voice-over work, in addition to national sports commercials.
Allen pictured with R&B Vocalist Tank
Although difficult, Allen says he's cemented to his style regardless of what’s trending at the moment.
“You must stick to your guns in what you believe, as well as what you know, and you must be willing to work harder than everybody else. They will have to pay attention to you. That’s where patience comes into play, and that’s what people don’t understand. If you stick to your guns, do what you believe, and you’re patient—I promise you, in time, something good is going to come your way. Nobody said when…
Extras from our interview when Allen visited Charlotte, NC, as a presenter for the Carolina Video Music Awards.
If he could sum up his career in two words it would be blessed and humbled.
“To explain every situation and every opportunity, it’s a blessing. I’ve learned to be thankful for that. It’s the small things. We look at the big things so much, we forget about the small things that make a big difference. I would definitely say humbled and blessed. I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing. Every day that I can wake up and do this, and inspire somebody, it’s good.”
Allen said that his Mona Lisa project, his most beautiful piece of work hasn’t happened yet.
“I feel like I’m in my best place in life right now. Every day I wake up feeling so happy, so blessed and so grateful—I haven’t gotten there yet. I feel like I’m there now to create that masterpiece. I thought it was "All For You", the album that’s out now. It pinpoints certain things. If you stroll through that album, you’re going to feel something, in love, out of love, what love is all about, the whole nine, and life itself; but, I think I got something better in me. I know I do. I can’t wait to share that with the world.”
Allen believes that romance is missing from the Rhythm & Blues of this era.
“I know this sounds cliché, but this is coming from a romantic soul, a southern boy at heart and a real country boy. Yeah, it’s missing. It’s no opening a car door, and taking your time getting to the business. We can hold hands. Why not? Can we just cuddle, you know what I’m saying? I don’t even think it’s safe for a grown man to cuddle. That might come back to haunt me,” laughed Allen.
He's clearly a starry-eyed gentleman at heart. Aside from chivalry, Allen is blessed to hit the stage with many artist, but if he could get that one wish, that one shot, he’d love to perform with “Baby Face” Edmonds.
From someone who’s from the belly of the South, it was interesting to see which meats he’d prefer between chicken and chitterlings.
“That depends if you got hot sauce, I’ll take the chitterlings,” Allen said in amusement. “If you don’t have hot sauce, I’ll take chicken.”
Closing remarks: Be inspired. Stay inspired. Don’t be afraid to be a dreamer, and have patience with whatever it is that you want to do, because anything can happen if you put your mind to it. Live, laugh, love, and be great. Have positive energy no matter what. Don’t let anyone influence you to do anything else. Just be positive, because we lack that in the world today.
Check out his latest album All For You .
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