Marques Houston has been in the music industry for over two decades. The California native made his solo debut in 2003 with his critically-acclaimed album “MH.”
The album spawned hit singles such as “Clubbin” and “Pop That Booty.”Over the years, Houston consistently delivered solid R&B songs including “Naked,” “All Because Of You,” and “Circle,” to name a few.
Houston released his fifth album “Mattress Music” in 2010. Since then, the crooner took time off to focus on acting and producing films. During his hiatus, his fans kept demanding that he return to music. Fortunately, Houston listened to his fans and is now preparing to release his sixth studio album “Famous” on August 27.
In an effort to provide his fans with another classic album, the 31-year-old singer experimented with a new sound on “Famous,” which could be described as a “Marvin Gaye meets D’Angelo feel.”
Our Editor-in-Chief Keithan recently caught up with the “Naked” singer for an exclusive interview. During the interview, Houston talks about his longevity, reminisces about his first album, explains the concept behind his “Famous” album, speaks on upcoming projects, and even offers some relationship tips.
Check out the full interview below.
You have been making music for over 20 years now, what do you believe has kept you relevant in this industry?
I would have to give all praise to God first of all. I think he’s definitely blessed me with a long-lasting career to be able to do what I love for so long. A lot of people don’t get that privilege and I thank God every day for that…I feel like as long as I continue to make music for my fans and cater to the people and really love it, I think that’s another aspect that keeps you in the game for a long time.
It has been nearly ten years since you released your debut solo album, what’s your fondest memory during that era?
I think being in the studio doing a solo album…coming from a group is a lot different…I think the whole recording process was the biggest memory because it taught me a lot about myself as an artist, as a person, and everything like that…being a solo artist is a lot compared to being in a group…the whole growth process was my fondest memory of my first album.
You’re getting ready to drop your new album “Famous” next month. Tell us the meaning behind the title.
(Laughs) I felt like “Famous” was an appropriate title because I’ve been known to do so many different things in my career…I’m known for so many different things that I am famous for. If I go out of the country, I’m famous for “You Got Served” or certain people will know Roger from “Sister, Sister” but won’t know that I sing…certain people may know that I have solo albums but not know that I was in a group…just so many different things that I have been blessed with…
Since we’re on the topic of fame, what would you say is the biggest misconception about being famous?
I would say the biggest misconception is it’s all glitz, glamour, spotlights and all fun. It’s a lot of hard work. And there’s so much backlash that comes with [fame], especially nowadays with how big social media is. Back in the day, you could walk to the store in some bum sweats and a t-shirt and it’s nothing. But nowadays it’s so crazy and it’s really hard on us as entertainers because people don’t understand that we are people too. They see us as different but we’re just like everybody else except this is our job and this is what we love to do. We have hearts. We have feelings. We have everything just like everybody else.
Now let’s get back to your album. Are there any features?
The only feature I have is with Problem on the single “Give Your Love A Try.” I really didn’t want to make an album [with] too many features. The industry is so about ‘who’s who’ and who knows who and who’s with who and who has who on their record…I wanted to make an album that’s strictly about the music. I wanted to make music that people love and you don’t need a feature. It’s not about who’s on the record, but it’s about the record…the actual music…and that’s what this album is about. It’s a musical experience and I pray that everyone likes it because it’s a little bit different for me, you know. It’s a step up as far as maturity. I haven’t done an album in three years so it’s a lot different. I pray that people love it.
I noticed “Famous” was delayed a couple of times. Why was this the case?
It wasn’t right. I haven’t made an album in so long. I didn’t want to just put out an album. When I got in the studio and I started working. I recorded about 45 songs for this album. We just had a lot of music and it wasn’t right for me yet, so I didn’t want to release it until it was finally right.
What made you decide to release “Give Your Love A Try” as the lead single?
I feel like it was a good song to kind of get people warmed up and used to the new style because it is kind of a new style…
Over the past few years, R&B sales have declined. Why do you believe this is the case?
I feel like things can be a little over-saturated, so when it’s over-saturated it takes a decline. But then people realize that they miss real music because they have all this dance music and you have all of this techno and everything like that — sometimes you just want to put on music that you want to listen to, you want sing along to..and I think that’s why R&B is making such a comeback because people are missing [it]…It’s like when hip-hop was a little over-saturated and everybody was like “hip-hop is done.” As soon as they said that, hip-hop just for some reason came back bigger and better than ever..I think that’s exactly what’s happening to R&B.
When I was on Instagram last month, I saw you post a photo of you, Romeo and Keshia Knight Pulliam. It appeared like you guys were on the set of “The Love Letter.” Tell us more about your role.
My character is kind of suave. He’s a millionaire, really intelligent and just a cool guy. He happens to fall in love with Keshia Knight’s character. I can’t give away the end of the movie but it’s kind of like a love triangle going on between myself, Romeo and her. So we’ll see who wins at the end (laughs). It’s a great film. It’s funny. It’s a very good romantic comedy. I think people are going to like it. It premieres on the UP Network in August.
When you’re not in the studio, filming a movie or doing shows, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy watching movies. I love to go to the movies. I like to watch movies in my house and chill and relax because I don’t get a lot of time to relax.
Name an R&B album that you can listen to from start to finish.
I would have to give that one to Usher’s “Confessions” album. That’s one of few albums that I can listen to without skipping a track (laughs). Definitely.
You’ve been in a relationship for over five years. What do you believe is the key to long-lasting relationships?
I think the key is communication, trust and being honest with each other. Everything else kind of falls in place. You should be able to talk about anything — and don’t cheat, stay faithful (laughs). That’s a very big important part of it too (laughs).
Are there any other projects that you are working on?
I have two films that I’m executive producing, two films that I’m up for and a television series that I’m up for. What I’m really focused on though is my album.
Support Marques Houston and buy his new album “Forever” on August 27. Until then, listen to snippets from “Forever” here.
Connect with Marques Houston
Twitter – @MarquesHouston
Instagram – @MarquesHouston1