Why Hip-Hop and R&B Were Not Factors In My Musical Development

I consider assumptions that I, for whatever reason, am either a hip-hop or R&B artist insulting. Even some booking agents have simply labeled the genre on contracts "R&B," when on those particular occasions, set lists featured tunes by the Grateful Dead. What many people fail to understand is that I did not encounter these styles much, regarding my own personal background.

When I was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, my neighborhood was, for the majority of my time there, comprised of white Christian Evangelicals who would attend yearly retreats in the Dakotas. I studied at Catholic schools throughout my early life, as well, where the most commonly heard music was from Jesus Christ Superstar.

I was exposed to rap music in my teenage years, as the area's demographics began to shift. It failed to make an impression on me, and in the years since, it has only become less appealing, as almost all musicality has been stripped away from it.

Interestingly, my parents possessed a true disdain for what they considered, "Black Exploitation Music" - namely, anything marketed to African-American audiences between the late Sixties and early 1980s. I wish I had asked them more about this, as each stated it in separate conversations, but it was clear that only a rare moment would arouse their interests in these sounds.

In ways, I deviated from their path, as today, even though I do not consider hip-hop and R&B factors in my musical development, I always cite Norman Whitfield as my favorite producer. Whitfield was solely responsible for the "psychedelic soul" movement, which fused Motown's musical standards with contemporary rock stylings in that same era my parents loathed.

Gaming + Sports = Guitar?

Although I began tinkering around with an old, beat-up acoustic guitar that I found in the garage at the age of eight, I cannot say I was interested in pursuing music as a career for many years thereafter, as I did have a rather normal childhood, and was involved, like many, in playing sports and video games.

Starting with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, then branching out to Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda, I noticed the then-latest crop of games had become a never-ending maze of nothingness. Flight Simulator was instantaneously forgettable after take-off. Bulge, a game based on the famous war battle, was as boring as its title suggests. Moving on to Madden Football was more exciting. Becoming an avid fantasy baseballer could be considered more intellectual. Even then, I was increasingly finding inspiration in the more-diverse landscapes painted by music.

My parents possessed a vast music archive which, after awhile, I utilized at will. My mom preferred rock; my father was a fan of pop. When I began tuning into the radio, I originally gravitated toward classical music and jazz stations. These artists' names were inscribed on my bed sheets - much to my mother's chagrin. However, what truly turned me on were the older forms of rock and roll on the airwaves, and many of the artists they did not own in their collection - namely, The Animals, Hollies, and Buckinghams. Their musical sensibilities were different than those of Bach, Wagner, and Coltrane, but in my opinion, they and other groups including Steppenwolf and the Rolling Stones wrote timeless tunes containing great arrangements, hooks, melodies, and vocals.

As a result, my muse was the topic heavy music of the "classic rock" era of the 1960s and 1970s. In junior high, the kids also displayed a strong interest in that ethos; there, we would trade 45s by The Monkees, discuss Steve Miller Band's Number 5, and listen to rock music during lunch breaks. Across the street, Beverly Records carried all the out-of-print classics by legends like Arthur Lee and Love and Spooky Tooth that were rarely mentioned in magazines.

Early on, I owned a 1966 Harmony bass and a Sears model guitar with a battery-operated speaker attached to its front side. I received a red Fender Stratocaster as a holiday gift, and set out to play for real - although my true development began in college, playing alongside Northwestern music majors who were far more talented, at the time.

Those sessions were more essential to my development than my first formal piano lesson. A teacher named Burger showed up at my door and attempted to teach me the only piece he knew, "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Of course, this was not the Buddy Guy blues song, and I already knew how to play the toddler tune. I wanted to learn Dave Brubeck and Modern Jazz Quartet-style jazz comping, which was too advanced for his skill set. Following a litany of insults rendered upon a child, he left, and I was free to enter into worlds I would both desire and develop.

www.marcussingletary.com and Other Marcus Singletary Related Websites - Avoid the Kitty Litter!

Because the Internet is cluttered with kitty litter, this article lists and describes the various links where you can find the information most relevant to an online search for Marcus Singletary.

Marcus Singletary's Official Website, where you can read updates and press, and learn more about the music. The site covers all of Singletary's various projects, from his eclectic album releases and radio programs to his experimental short films.

Redirect of the official Marcus Singletary biography, located on Wikipedia at:

Marcus Singletary on Wikipedia. Read about Singletary's background, and follow the story as it develops.

Marcus Singletary on Soundcloud. Hear various podcast episodes, and check out Marcus Singletary's Guitar Lessons in audio form.


Watch Marcus Singletary videos, follow, and be a part of the Singletary family.

Marcus Singletary on Daily Motion. Watch Marcus Singletary's directorial debut, The Sebhedris Experience - an experimental short film combining kaleidoscopic video images with ambient music.

Please follow everywhere. #follow #online

Check Out My Short Film, "The Sebhedris Experience"

Marcus Singletary's LINKS:

Website: www.marcussingletary.com
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Singletary
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcussingletarymusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/singletarymusic

Please check out my MOVIE, "The Sebhedris Experience."

Marcus Singletary on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm11467554/
The Sebhedris Experience (FILM) on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12072238/

Sleepless Nights and Long-Term Motivation

As much as I enjoy the company of women, sex was not the reason I became interested in playing music. Music lasts forever, whereas sex and relationships generally do not. In fact, I've always disputed the supposed "carnality" of music, as I cannot say I've ever reached an orgasmic state by simply listening to a song, or watching a live performance.

Most of my musical joys have occurred above the belt, as I would equate great musical experiences with the inducement of meditation and psychological levitation more than anything physically oriented - hence the notion that an audience can "see through" a performer's intent.

The concept of "work" is often viewed as a laboriously negative process left unseen and under-appreciated. The general inclination is to only exert so much energy, but what has kept me going since the beginning, however, is the pursuit of excellence through full dedication to attempts at musical innovation.

This is the entire mode of practice for actors, who must assume the role of magician to convince an audience into belief. Give credit to those effective, here, as they are able to profit. But, of course, true creativity is a struggle to expand ideas, and not just a journey toward revenue generation (yet another physical pleasure.)

Surviving in music is tough. The difficulty of the individual tasks, alone, has led to many sleepless nights and even non-stop work periods that have lasted over 50 hours at a time. This is why, in order to accomplish the creative goals many have set out to achieve for themselves, extreme personal loyalty is essential.

It Takes Superhuman Effort to Shape a Narrative

Even though I hold mostly centrist political viewpoints, my upbringing was quite conservative, and early experiences definitely impacted my professional life by leading me to careful, constant analysis of all actions I've ever taken.

In elementary school, I noticed that most of the students were unable to focus on anything at all, making it difficult for them to learn, as they had not yet developed patience. It was easy for me. I developed this trait in childhood, when I would adhere to my own self-imposed scheduling. My parents were horrified by this, as they felt I was regimenting my life far too much, too early. But it was their own rigid discipline that ultimately influenced it, as my life did not include social activities but was heavily geared toward academic achievement.

This became important when recording in a pro studio environment for the first time. On paper, I pre-organized the sessions that would occur at North Hollywood, CA studio Clear Lake Audio, although I naturally adhered to it without looking. The one time I did, I realized I had been working parallel to it, all along. The engineer was not thrilled, as he was used to musicians slacking off during frequent periods of down time.

It was a revelation to me, however, as I realized I preferred less spontaneous work environments, even as my music frequently included improvisation. It takes superhuman effort to be a perfectionist. I am accustomed to spending long hours not just in musical creation, but in continually shaping a narrative.

Contact Marcus Singletary through his website, www.marcussingletary.com, and follow him on Twitter - @SingletaryMusic.

Character in the Age of Fear

I do not take vacations, nor do I deviate from the path I have set out for myself. Such a lifestyle may not appeal to some, but it is perfect for me. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans claimed they were "bored" and "lonely" due to a temporary loss of social outlets. They cried over beach closures, and loaded up on liquor in a pain-relief panic. But instead of concentrating on misery, committing to a particular path in life is a better option, regarding the development of a human's character.

Some claim "isolation" when, so often, they have willingly separated themselves from different segments of society. A network news story on right-wing protesters at Michigan's Capitol contained symbols of the Confederacy juxtaposed with images of people at proverbial "breaking points" caused by the role of law and order in their lives. It is tough to envision this particular group comprising a diverse set of individuals, as it has become standard for pandemic reactions to mix with partisan responses.

Significant focus, though, is necessary for forward motion both in times of peace and during crises. Barring outside distractions from gaining influence over the Work is crucial, as energy and time - both amongst the most important factors in the pursuit of creativity - are wasted within over-emotional responses to unexpected events. However, a positive outlook and an expanded network are essential for a sincere stride toward self-improvement and unwavering personal motivation.

Contact Marcus Singletary through his website, www.marcussingletary.com, and follow him on Twitter - @SingletaryMusic.