ARTIST NAME: Aries Marquis
SONG TITLE: Daydream
RELEASE DATE: January 18, 2019
GENRE: Pop / R&B
Aries Marquis was born on April 20th, 1987 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Both of his parents come from musical backgrounds, so it is no surprise that Aries would have music coursing through his veins.
His father, Kenneth Johnson, sung in choirs, and with his brothers, later on becoming a music manager.
His mother, Jacki Johnson, was a choir director for several churches, a soloist, and a singer in a band.
By both parents, Aries received plenty of musical influence: from listening to Gospel legends such as Daryl Coley, the Hawkins Family, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, to the soulful melodies of Anita Baker, Barry White, Freddie Jackson, and many more.
Aries Marquis felt fortunate to be a 90s kid surrounded by so much music to the point that his musical diversity expanded so far as even dance and even video game soundtracks.
Aries started to sing in his mother’s choir at the First Presbyterian Church of Scotlandville when he was five years old. Although he sang in choirs for many years, including school choirs, he never stepped up to become a lead singer at all.
Aries didn’t know nor believe that he could actually stand alone and sing, therefore, he never attempted to. It wasn’t until his 12th-grade year of high school that he finally attempted to sing a solo at a talent show rehearsal. He chose to sing the traditional Gospel song, “Blessed Assurance”, and although he was extremely nervous to the point of forgetting some of the words, he still received a standing ovation from all of those that were present. From that day forward, he felt confirmation that he had a voice that he could use as a lead singer.
Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2006. Marquis would sing from time to time, and his fellow soldiers would hear him, and be astonished, but it wasn’t until he decided to write a small song for his voice mail, at the end of that same year, that he received confirmation that music was his destiny.
Many people heard the voice mail song, and he started getting so much attention for it, that even people who called his number, by mistake, would call back to hear it again. His dad was one of those who heard the song and foresaw the talent of what Aries could become, and discussed managing his son.
Being groomed and managed by his dad, Aries started writing music in 2007 and linked up with another singer named Renaldo Pryce, in 2008, forming the duo group, J2.
For the next year and a half, managed by Aries’ dad, Kenneth Johnson, J2 would wreak havoc in the local music scene, putting on soulful performances everywhere they went. They performed in malls, clubs, and even on local television, where they had garnered some of the highest ratings on those local stations when they performed.
Aries and Renaldo were a force to be reckoned with until tension started to rise between management and Renaldo, and impatience for success along with talks and thoughts of solo projects started to rise.
In 2010, this forced Aries Marquis to go solo. As a solo artist, Aries Marquis was and is determined to create a sound that is ageless, soulful, and diverse. One thing Marquis is against is music that sounds the same and can be forgotten within a month. Therefore, becoming a student of music, he follows behind his musical influences of the past, and present. Starting from scratch, Aries would go on to perform in many places from Hollywood, California, Lufkin, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to name a few places, even opening up for legendary R&B singer, Keith Sweat in 2014.
Aries Marquis’ music would also go on to play on many indie radio stations across the country, even appearing on the CMJ Hip-Hop charts with a collaboration titled, “Ole Scotlandville” with hip-hop artist HeEro, also, in 2014, playing on over 150 college stations across America, and Canada.
His performances would rack up three 1st places, one 2nd, and one 3rd place awards in talent showcases, and becoming the 2013 Breakout Artist of the Year for the 2013 Independent Entertainment Summit in North Hollywood, California.
His journey still continues as his fan base continues to grow, and his music still continues to improve and impact the masses in ways that not even he could dream of.
Tell us what your fans are saying about your music.
So far, I have had fan interactions vary from me being told that my music being good, to my music leaving them speechless. My main thing is to deliver a song with everything I have within me if I do nothing else. I want the listener to experience what I am writing and singing – So far, so good.
Tell us the factors you consider in choosing a song as your favorite.
When it comes to me choosing a song as a favorite, my first factor is the soulfulness of a song. I don’t care what the genre is; I want to feel what is being delivered from the artist or musician. I want to hear the song being delivered with passion and feeling, and not just sung.
Next, I listen to the chorus of a song. It all comes down to how much the chorus makes me want to stand up in awe! I am a sucker for harmonies, so choruses with harmonies are everything.
Next is lyricism – I know this is coming in late, but the reason is that if a song has good lyrics, but none of the previous things I have listed, I will be disappointed. Reason being that an artist should deliver their lyrics just as the mood is described within the lyrics. If the lyrics are about love, then I would expect the delivery of the song to be as such. If it is about being joyful, I wouldn’t expect it to be boring, and bland.
Tell us the names of producers you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
Well, if I had to choose a few producers to collaborate with, I would choose Greg Kurstin, who helped Adele produce songs on her ’25’ album, and Timbaland, whom I have always admired.
Timbaland’s work with one of my favorite artists, Justin Timberlake, is enough for me. Greg Kurstin, I believe, would help bring out some pretty soulful hits, so I’d definitely love to work with him. I definitely liked what he did with Adele.
Tell us the names of the songwriters you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
Songwriters would be more difficult to choose because the way I write requires only my songwriting skills. What I write is based on my own true experiences, so I never really thought of who I would like to write with.
Nevertheless, if I were to write with others, I would want to duet on a song, or collaborate on an entire project, so with that being said, I would get someone like Gavin Degraw, Justin Timberlake, or Dua Lipa.
Tell us your favorite TV show and state your reason.
Honestly, I barely watch TV. I do sometimes, but that’s mainly sports.
Nevertheless, there are only two shows that I actually watch from time to time, and the shows are ‘Star’ and ‘Power.’
I love ‘Star’ for several reasons, of course, one being that it is about the music industry, and the other is because one of my favorite singers, Luke James, is in the show as a character named Noah.
I love the show ‘Power’ because it is full of suspense in every single episode. It has enough actions and suspense to make you just forget about watching anything else.
Tell us your best mood to create a song.
The mood that I have to be in is a relaxed and focused mood. Like, when I begin to write, I have to repeat a certain part in my mind in order to get in the zone, and then the rest of the world is gone, and it is just me, my ideas, and the pen, or digital notepad. I can write through distractions, but I don’t recommend it.
Tell us your interpretation of fame or success.
My interpretation of success is to doing what you love to do without having other things that you don’t want to do interfere with it.
In other words, I love to do music, and I want to make a living off of my music. The issue is that I still have to clock in and out of a 9 to 5 until I am able to live off of what I am doing with my music. The day I am able to live only from my music is when I will be successful.
Tell us the names of artists you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
There are quite a few artists I would love to collaborate with if I had the chance: Justin Timberlake, Adele, Jamar Rogers, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Smith, Luke James, and quite a few more.
Tell us about your experience performing on stage for the first time or recording in the studio for the first time.
Back in 07, I got in the studio for the first time, and I just felt like I had been in there before. It wasn’t too unfamiliar with me, for some reason. I just got in the booth, and started to record this song I wrote, titled, “I’ll Always Be Here”. It was really fun. At that time, I was in a duo group called “J2”.
Tell us how you approach songwriting.
When it comes to approaching writing music, there are two ways I begin the writing process: do I write about what I’ve experienced, or do I write about what I’ve witnessed…
There are no made-up subjects, no matter how “fun” a song may sound. I want all of my music to be based on something true and real so that the listener can relate to what I create.
Tell us your opinion on blending genres or experimenting with sound.
I think that blending genres and experimenting with sound is excellent because I do the same.
The main reason I classify myself as a pop artist is that I don’t have one particular sound.
Take my album, “Salvation: The Arrival” for an example: I wrote an up-tempo pop love song titled, “For Life”, and went completely soul and inspirational with another song named “Better Days”, with a slight mixture of rock, hip-hop, and pop on another song titled, “Ready to Fly”.
I feel that music should be diverse, because if you write what you truly believe, moods and experiences differ, and so should your sound.
Tell us how you deal with rejection.
Rejection motivates me. I always think back to how many people rejected artists such as The Beatles, or Tech N9ne.
I know for a fact that rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, it just means that you are too good for certain people. That is how I look at rejection.
Elaborate on what compels you to sing.
The thing that compels me to sing is touching the deepest part of those who are listening. I love to see the reactions and hear the responses of those who are touched by my vocals. I love it.
Tell us the comparison between digital recording and analog recording.
Honestly, I haven’t really recorded using any analog equipment. I have heard, according to certain people and opinions that the quality of analog is better than digital, but I will have to test it out, one day, to hear it for myself.
Tell us how you record your vocals.
When I record my vocals, I am looking to, as stated before, deliver the soulfulness, or mood of the song that I am singing.
Delivery is everything to me. If no one can feel what you are singing, then what is the point of singing it?
I also love using a lot of harmonies, so I tend to use that a lot, although, in my future projects, I will be mixing it up a bit.
Tell us the software you used mostly for recording.
I am a Pro Tools man. I love it and don’t think I will switch away from Pro Tools being my main DAW, although many have tried to persuade me to go to other systems. I am stubborn and loyal.
Discuss the selling of CDs and the selling of digital files through digital stores.
In my opinion, it is easier to sell digital files compared to CDs, because you have to be more active, on foot, to sell CDs compared to simply promoting your music online, from the comfort of your home, and people going to get your music.
Moreover, many don’t purchase CDs like they used to, so that becomes another hurdle to climb over.
Elaborate on the song.
So my latest song, Daydream, is a follow-up to my up-tempo summer song, Crush.
Daydream is about me thinking of the many things I can do with this woman that I am falling in love with, although we just met. I think about her so often, that as we are getting closer, I tell her the things that I think about when I think of her.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
My name ‘Aries Marquis’ is simply my first and middle names.
Many told me that it was commercial and unique before I even became a solo artist, so I stuck with it.