Del Osei-Owusu interviews Marc Jones…
Hello Marc, how are you?
I’m doing very well! 2022 was a year of ups and downs but I feel like I’m in a really good space.
Congratulations on the release of Juggling, how does it feel?
It’s nice to finally have it out there. It was a record that I was really excited about, so I’m happy that people are taking it in and enjoying it.
What’s the story behind it?
My producer RP9 sent me the instrumental and it gave me a real sense of the nostalgia of growing up. I knew I wanted to look back at my childhood and contrast that with the busyness of life and the responsibilities that come with the place I’m at now. From there everything fell into place quickly, and I recorded all of my parts in a few hours in the studio which isn’t always the case!
You recorded it with Guvna B, how did that collaboration come about?
I’ve known Guvna for a few years now. He’s always been willing to give me advice and that’s something that I’ve valued from him. Once I’d written the first verse and the hook, I thought he’d fit really well on the track, so I sent it to him and he liked it. When he sent me his verse back, I knew we had something special.
What were your favourite moments from that session?
It was actually recorded during COVID, so we didn’t physically get together! We have had sessions in the past and the vibe is always good. He’s someone who has an idea of how he wants to execute something before he steps in the booth, and it was good to learn that trait from him.
You are an artist from Croydon how did it all begin for you?
I’ve always loved music. I grew up in church, so hearing live music during worship on a Sunday was one of my earliest memories. My dad was always playing Reggae either on his sound system or in the car, so I grew up with lots of different sounds. I started rapping on the playground as a lot of kids do and it developed from there.
What did you listen to growing up?
With my dad being a big influence, Reggae has always been my favourite genre. I love the way the sound evolved over the years from Ska to Roots. I also like the themes discussed and how real they were, and that has informed the artist I want to be. Being a 90s kid, Hip-Hop and Grime were also massive for me and produced my love for rap. I grew up listening to Kano, Skepta and Giggs in particular.
Your lyrics are influenced by your faith, how easy do lyrics come to you?
I’ve gone through a real journey over the years. My faith informs everything I do, so it was always going to inform my lyrics. At the same time, I want to make music that people can relate to. That has been a real focus for me in recent times, which has led to some of my most honest music to date. It’s not always easy as it requires some vulnerability, but I’m starting to find it cathartic and enjoying the process of writing and creating a lot more.
You performed live this summer, what was it like being back on stage with all that has gone in the last two years?
It was crazy. You don’t realise what it’s like until you do it again. I was probably more nervous than I had been before because I hadn’t done it for quite a while, but once I was on stage it all came together.
COVID has had a big impact on the creative industry, what kept you motivated?
When COVID hit I had a lot of plans for an EP featuring a couple of upbeat singles. With all that we experienced at the time, my plan changed and I started writing music based on how I was feeling and coping at the time which became my debut mixtape Glass Half Empty. So in a way, life and how I was feeling motivated me to keep being creative.
The last two years have been a time to reflect, what did you learn about yourself?
I learned that it’s okay to not be okay. I’ve always thought of myself as being an optimist and someone who can find positivity in every situation. I still believe I am, but I’ve learned that I need to be honest with myself if I’m not 100%. We all go through things in life and it’s important to talk about it, so I feel, when necessary, my music can be a space for that.
Did you pick up any new skills?
Playing Playstation better? Haha, no I didn’t take up any new hobbies. I probably should have!
The lyrics of Juggling show you’re proud of your home town, what are your three favourite things about Croydon?
The diversity, Boxpark and the transport links. East Croydon to London Victoria in 19 minutes is very useful!
What are you listening to at the moment?
My Spotify Wrapped showed me how weird my music consumption is. I very much listen based on mood and moment which means I can listen to the same song ten times in a row and feel no way. Recently I’ve been listening to the reggae group Culture, the Sunday Service Choir and Kendrick Lamar – so quite diverse.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just released my debut mixtape Glass Half Empty, which Juggling features on, so just enjoying having it out in the world. My aim for 2023 is to work towards my debut headline show and get recording again.