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Tuesday Tunes Hosts MarlonB!

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School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media student Marlon Britton performs at a recent Tuesday Tunes. Photo by Nina Tabios.

For the month of November’s first edition of Tuesday Tunes, UrbanKnightsRadio.com (UKR) turned to one of Academy of Art University’s own to headline the weekly showcase.  

Singer/songwriter Marlon Britton, who goes by “MarlonB!” on stage, is a student from the School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media and runs track and field for the Academy. Originally from Chicago, Britton has been writing songs since he was 10 years old but only started recording music at the age of 16. Now with 12 years of experience of making music, he said he’s ready to start sharing it with a greater audience.

Up until this point, Britton’s mantra is quality over quantity. His set is short – 10-minutes tops, maybe – but Britton understands the importance of delivering a well-polished product.

“I really haven’t been putting out music until this semester,” he said. “I expect every song I put out to hit, I don’t want to put out something people can’t listen to over and over again.”

Backed by Kenivah Bockari, better known as UKR host DJ Kenzo, Britton’s set covers his two current songs out now – “More to You” and “Good Time” – while also offering a snippet of an unreleased song. He did deliver one extra treat though: A live performance of his new song debuting on KMEL later that week.

“Shout out to Matty [Staudt] for getting me on KMEL,” he says during his post-show interview. “He listened to it, got [KMEL radio host] Big Von to listen to it and he said it’s dope and wanted to play it on Friday on the [all Bay Area music] Home Turf section.”

His sounds fall in line with the trends of modern R&B and soul. His song “Good Time,” produced by Young Taylor, has a foundation of deep bass and skittish hi-hats, but is driven by a subtle synth chord melody and vocal effect. Britton’s voice is raspy and sings with an almost rapper-like cadence. The second track he performed, “More to You,” produced by Wonder, has a little more life to it thanks to a guitar riff that Britton floats easily over and given more depth with additional vocals from an artist named RY.

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Photo by Nina Tabios.

When asked about his musical beginnings, he remembers watching singer Chris Brown on Black Entertainment Television (BET) live show 106 & Park hitting a backflip while performing his breakthrough single “Run It!’” and thinking, “I want that.”

“The girls went crazy,” he laughed.

Along with Brown, Michael Jackson inspired his artistry, (“More so dancing, not really music-wise though,” he said) but lately Britton said his newfound love of Prince has inspired his sound and identity as a recording artist.

“Whenever you hear a Prince song, you just enjoy it – you don’t know if you’re going to get a dance-y song or a relationship-type song,” he said. “It’s just when you listen to Prince, you know you’re getting all of him.”

Britton, along with Bockari, fellow track teammates Mobolade Ajomale (School of Communications & Media Technologies) and Michael Houston (School of Acting) is part of a collective called Black Epiphany, which he said, is “a group of heavy hitters.” Each member has their own respective talent and focus, but work together to give each other a platform to showcase their gifts.

“We decided if we’re going to be together all the time, we might as well turn it into a thing,” Britton said. “I enjoy being around my friends, I enjoy making music, but most importantly, I enjoy getting the job done.”