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Kerry “2 Smooth” Marshall Talks New Music, Post Military Life and the Future

Kerry Marshall is a professional guitarist, producer and US Army combat war veteran. He has been the lead guitarist (electric and acoustic) for Jason Derulo, Ledisi and Chrisette Michele and also toured and played with Ty Dolla $ign, The Roots, Tyrese, Sean Kingston, Chante Moore, Fantasia Barrino and many others. We had the opportunity to speak with Kerry Marshall and he spoke about his latest album, his experience in the military and being a guitarist.

What made you first want to pick up a guitar?

I loved the sound of the instrument, it resonated with me. It made me want to make music and I loved the expressions that were on the audience’s face when they would hear the sound of the guitar. When I would watch other guitarists growing up, they looked like stars to me and had presence and that is something I wanted to achieve for myself.

Tell us about your sophomore album “Modern Art”?

My album will take you on a musical journey. It is filled with really relatable music that you’ll feel. It’s like an abstract work of art, like a collage of many different pieces that come together to make this one masterpiece. The album will be like a mural you might come across in a big city and be amazed.

What was the inspiration for your single “Puppy Love”?

I love the sound that the band Snarky Puppy is known for, so this was an ode to them. I wanted to create my own version of music that’s influenced by them.

You have played for artists like Jason Derulo, Ty Dolla $ign and Chrisette Michelle to name a few. Can you tell us the best advice you received from them?

Be confident, have fun and enjoy the moment. Look the part. Know the music and be relatable. These moments are once in a lifetime opportunities, so relish the moment. Leave it all on the stage. Stay humble.

What guitarist has inspired you the most and why? 

Erik Walls, Jubu Smith, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn. Each guy has an amazing tone and the way they command the instrument is something I aspire to do. You always feel something from their playing. That is something I’m really conscious of when I play. I want to always make the music feel good.

Music is very much about emotion and feeling. Since you are US Army combat war veteran and have been in the combat zone in the Middle East, how has that experience affected your music?

Music was my outlet. Having a guitar allowed me to displace myself from the environment I was surrounded by. It gave me peace in the midst of war. It was my escape from the things I saw and had to deal with daily. I went to war in Iraq, and music gave me a healthy way of coping with the stress of that. Being in the army taught me discipline which has helped me in my musical career because I set goals and work hard to achieve them. I practice my craft daily and never take it for granted.

Being a frequent traveler, why do you suggest that people should travel the world?

People should travel the world because there is so much culture to experience. You can gain such a different perspective from other people and their societies. It makes you more open minded, and gives you something to talk about. It is a fulfilling feeling and gives a sense of accomplishment.

Your sound is so different and so refreshing to hear. How do you feel Jazz and the art of true musicians fit in in 2017? 

I believe it’s making a comeback. People have been longing for real authentic music and musicianship. People love seeing musicians and artists perform, the art can be encapsulating, and gives people an emotional connection that nothing else can really compare to.

When people listen to your music, what do you want them to do? What do you want them to feel? 

I want them to become one with the sound and lose themselves in the music and share it with others. I want them to feel every emotion I’ve put into the music and feel it in their souls. I want them to grow with the music.

What can we look forward to from Kerry Marshall?

I’m working on a new project that will teach beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons on how to play R&B on guitar. I have a growing fanbase of musicians who want to learn my style of playing, so I’m creating an exclusive site where people can sign up and get lessons and even do monthly google hangout sessions with me to ask questions or advice on anything related to playing R&B music on guitar. I have fans and students around the world, and the demand for this information sparked this amazing opportunity that I’m going to share with all levels of guitarists. Stay tuned to my website: for more information on this exciting venture! Also, I’m working on a new album with my band, #MiddleClassParty and doing more with the Recording Academy. I would love for my work to be considered for a Grammy Award. That would be an honor and a life goal met.


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