I recently had the pleasure of interviewing soon to be renowned artist Marcylis Cunningham. He is preparing for the release of his debut album, 820, by releasing a new single, “Problems”. Hailing from Cincinnati, he is currently working with FYB Tevin and Bandit Gang Marco. He proudly exclaims that his freshman album is a “513 come up,” conferring the amazing talent he observed in the local hip-hop scene. With all of the new faces, and sounds coming from Cincinnati it was innate for Marcylis to venture out and find his own voice, and make music that defines his own experiences. While heavily influenced by his musical upbringing, his musical process is organic and free-from expressive, by improvising on the themes of his personal life. These experiences have allowed him to no longer look outwards but inwards and abound his personal experiences in his creative process for 820. By translating his own life experiences in a relevant way, Marcylis aims to reach his audience and give the nourishment and encouragement that will carry them through their life circumstances, from break-up, to make-up, “I just want to help [the listener], understand their situations, so I definitely want to put the inspiration back out there.” In talking with him further, I soon learned his voice has always been with him.
Ever since he was three years old, he would run around his house with a microphone singing to his heart’s content, of course growing up with a built-in studio in your basement would lead to much practical experience, as he watched his father in their home studio work on his own musical projects. Marcylis chatted with me about his parent’s impact on his artistry and the significance of their musical preference had on his perception of music-making, “My dad was a singer, my mom as well, but [my dad] would always play Jagged Edge, Ginuwine, Jodeci, New Edition, and Lauryn Hill.” He goes on to discuss how his father would envelop him into this R&B music regularly. However, Marcylis live experiences have allowed him to develop his own voice of creativity and freedom. When asked about his creative process he has this to say, “…I’ve always been good at singing and rapping. I knew how to create melodies and put words on top of them.” Coming from a family so diverse in the artistic expression allowed his natural abilities to flourish in his parental nourishment of their own creative process.
However, his inspiration and musical motives can be traced back beyond his father, to great artists such as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and some more contemporary artist like Drake and Chris Brown. His wide-range of musical preference, and genres is pliable to his own sound, which he defines as “My music is just different. It’s a new soundscape, new melodies, a new flow, and a fresh face.” In his own words, he expresses the transcendental properties of 820, where r&b meets trap meets hip-hop, soul, pop, country, “just an arsenal of entertainment.” Even while working hard in Atlanta, he is focused on making relevant music behind the Southern sphere of sound. “The grit of Atlanta’s music scene pushes me to go 10x harder because while I’m sleep someone else might be up working.” But mostly, “I’m in my on lane, on my own wave, setting a trend…once you hear what’s on my freshman album 820, then you get exactly what I am saying.” As he so proudly puts it, “I am going to make a career off reminiscing.”
Substantially, the global market, via the Internet, allows for meditation around the world, and what is unique about Marcylis is his online presence. From his Soundcloud to his YouTube page, he takes pride in utilizing the Internet, “to reach a broader audience and allows me to build a bigger platform.” What I found particularly engaging is his YouTube page, where we get to see the daily life experiences of the artist’s development. “…My YouTube channel is fairly new, but what… I am giving [you] is every day in the life of Marcylis … raw and uncut, whether it is stepping through challenges…acting, or creating scenes…I am giving you a glimpse of who is Marcylis.” He is documenting everything for you to view, with aims to, “expand [his] brand and reach higher endeavors beyond music.” Whether it is his new vlogging or his live performances you should be prepared to, “…anticipate how I am going to make you feel some way, whether you want to turnt up… go get back with your ex, start a new relationship, I am going to make you feel something when you leave my performance. So you are going to be anticipating my new show, concert, or movie… anticipating what is the next move for Marcylis.” When asked about the audience perception he had this to say, “The audience is going to be lit, we are going to turnt up not the wrong way but the strong way and the right way, you dig me!”
Nevertheless, dreams can be deferred, and when asked what should those searching for their outlet do, Marcylis had this to say, “I would say to follow your dream, stay persistent and never give up. Know yourself, because once you know yourself, you can handle everything that comes your way. You have to believe in yourself, know yourself, once you know yourself you know everything around you. Just stay on your mission and trust your process.”
Make sure you follow Marcylis on Instagram and be on the look out for his debut album 820!