Chris Marquis said that his genre is a crossover between Gospel and R&B, bursting with contemporary inspiration.
The 25-year-old crooner didn’t get serious about his music on a professional level until about 2010, when he was 19-years-old.
“I played basketball at Kennedy Charter, and that’s what I was doing before the music. I really found my voice when I was in 6th grade. I used to do all the talent shows in school as well as the ceremonies, but finding what I wanted to sing about, that happened almost 2 years ago.”
Marquis’s vocals are soulful, but with a soprano timbre that’s often identified as smooth and melodic. So, with that southern flair, you’d think he’d be singing heartbreak music or something more provocative. Hardly. He confirmed that when it was time to get into the studio, he couldn’t sing mainstream compositions.
“I got in the studio, and the only thing that could come out is life situations and stuff that I had been through. I couldn’t sing about girls and stuff like that. It wasn’t my lane, so I just kept going. I didn’t change my style for anyone.”
Because of his strong convictions, Marquis is actually the voice of requiem. He’s performed at many candlelight vigils for the slain young people in the area, thanks to his partnership with “Mothers of Murded Offspring.” Starkly, he crooned at over 250 funerals and memorials of the slain from Charlotte, NC dating back to 2015.
Although Marquis feels heartbroken each time that he’s called out, it’s important that he offers comfort to the family and friends of the young person who passed away.
Since Marquis started singing at the vigils, No Limit Larry from Power 98 WPEG FM supports the movement as well as DJ Mario the Mic Man.
“Everybody died in my family so I already knew how to adapt to it [death]. It doesn’t bother me in a way that I would be broken. I handle it. When I saw that the families were happy and they got something out of it, that made me happy."
If he couldn’t sing, Marquis would like to become a community activist for the youth that need a representative, to help guide them through good times and bad, through all the tough decision making as well as the lesser events that shape a young persons life.
“It was hard for us because we didn’t have nobody,” he said. “We were different from the other kids. Christmas was different, Thanksgiving, birthdays, donuts for dad-- We did stuff like that on our own. My mom passed away from Cancer, but she was on drugs, too. I was 14 when she died."
His mom’s addiction is the reason that Chris and his 4 siblings, lived with their grandparents. Their grandparents took care of their cousins as well. When their loving guardians died, they only had each other. It was them against the world.
“My grandma and granddad did what they needed to do. They did their thing,” declares the young vocalist, when asked about the values of traditional grandparents versus the new-age grandparents.
Living the life that many urban kids identify with, Marquis adapted. Instead of turning to the vengeful streets, he turned to the music.
“We lost everything. Now, we are taking that and turning it into something better. That’s the reason we are making this music.”
When Marquis says, “we,” he’s talking about his oldest brother “Ncredible [Baxter Beckham].” Ncerdible manages, and supports Marquis’s aspirations as a singer, so that he isn’t going through the motions alone. Ncredible focuses on the business while Marquis does the music. Branding, album placement, getting into the right market, those are other important points that the brothers are concentrating on.
“Our goal in the next 5 years is to keep dropping. I want to be a household name, so when other artist come here, they know Marquis.”
Marquis has two mix-tapes and several singles. Pain In My Soul is one of his favorites, a profound missive that talks about his personal journeys through harmonic currency.
“It describes our whole life and what we went through. When I made that song, our grandma had just died. That’s when I wrote that song. It’s been 13 months. That’s my number one song that I like to perform. "Been Through" hits hard, too. It speaks about pain. All the music is pain related, and it talks about going from something negative, and getting to something positive."
The singer wants to be known for his realness, authenticity to his sound, in addition to his motivation to press on in spite of.
His favorite cover to perform is “I Wish" by R. Kelly, which is the track that inspired him.
“I’m not trying to make it just to fit in. I really love what I do. I can express myself through this music. People gravitate to my music. There are a lot of people that don’t even believe that it’s me singing. A lot of people don’t embrace R&B here. Charlotte is more of a rap scene."
If Chris could share the stage with another artist, it would be Raphael Ratliff. “He’s a singer, but he’s kind of like trap-soul. I want to share the stage with anyone that wants to share the stage with me. As for the industry, I want to share the stage with Chris Brown, R-Kelly, and Anthony Hamilton."
His favorite artists would be Chris Brown and Boosie BadAzz and Kevin Gates. They talk about real life situations.
The governance over the music representation is flat when talking about growing brands and networking in the Queen City, but Marquis is very hopeful that something will change.
"The music scene in Charlotte is growing, but I feel like the big names from here, should embrace it [the music] a little more. When you think about Charlotte, there isn’t a big person here. In Atlanta, there’s Usher, QC the label and every label there. If Anthony Hamilton started a label for R&B singers, that would be cool, and people would look at that. Right, now, we don’t have a big label pushing us.”
If his life were a verse, it would be, “I been through some pain, but I got through it. I done walked up in the rain, but I got through it. They throwing dirt up on my name, but I got through it. I done almost went insane, but I got through it, Yeah…”
The humanitarian said that he wants people to remember him as the person that made it out of despair, especially to the youth, who’s looking for a way in this new world that’s unkind to blacks, and even less sympathetic to the minority.
“There is someone that went through something similar to the stories I talk about in my songs. I think that they’d come out of their shell after listening to my music.”
Pain in My Soul
His views on politics... "I believe you need to fight with fire with fire. I believe that my voice would be impactful. It’s messed up right now, and you can’t really say what you want to say. Everything is politically correct. I don’t fool with Donald Trump. Although I’m not into politics, if given the platform, I’d step up and say something. I think people would follow me because I’m a leader..."
Been Through Featuring Incredible
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