That Grape Juice Interviews Marcus Canty

Published: Thursday 20th Sep 2012 by Sam

The premiere season of The X Factor USA brought with it many a twist and turn, as well as a wealth of new talent – one of the most notable being Marcus Canty.

After finishing fourth on the show, the 21 year old was swiftly signed up by mentor LA Reid to join his revitalised Epic Records roster.

The fruit of that union has been R&B bliss, with both of Canty’s singles ‘Won’t Make A Fool Out Of You’ and ‘In & Out’ drumming up ample buzz.

With the Washington DC native hard at work on his debut EP ‘This Is..Marcus Canty’ (due October 30th), we quizzed him on his background, ditching basketball for music, whether  he has any fears coming from a talent show, and much more.

Our interview with the young talent awaits after the jump…

Hey Marcus how are you?

I’m good, man, I’m good! Thanks for hollerin’ at me for a second, man.

Our pleasure!

Most of us discovered you at point of the X factor, tell us a bit about your journey up until that point?

It’s been a long and interesting journey. My life has taken courses that I dreamed about but never thought seein’ or bein’ this was coming. It all started obviously from the X Factor, and it started through my mom. I always talk about my mom. People really don’t understand how much of an impact she had on my life. She was the reason that I did the X Factor in the first place. At first I didn’t want to do the show, and when that all came about she would just say, “I think it would be a good opportunity.” But then when I found out LA Reid was gonna be there I thought you know maybe I should just try out.

I sent in my YouTube audition, they called me back maybe like two, three weeks later, and then the rest is history, man. I went there, auditioned in front of the judges, and I just kept going through and through, man. It was a long journey. I got all the way to the top four, which was a blessing. Then I got signed to Epic Records, and now Epic accepted my gifts and my talents. It’s like LeBron James (laughs); I took my talents to a new level.

I’ve been blessed to be on the ‘Think Like a Man’ soundtrack. The number one movie, two weeks in a row! Now I have a single out on iTunes called “In and Out” featuring Wale. The video was just released and its crazy. My EP, ‘This Is…Marcus Canty’, is coming out on October 30th, so a lot of stuff is happening so fast, man. But when I get a chance to chill I’ll tell you about it.

Fans of Marcus Canty know of your love for basketball.  What happened that made you decide to pursue music solely?

I guess because a single mom raised me, she tried to do everything for us. So growing up, she set me up so that I could just do whatever I wanted to do, she supported me in everything I did. When I played basketball she was there everyday cheering me on real loud- loudest mom in there! There was sometimes I didn’t even get in the game and she still was cheering me on.

I kept playing basketball, I got good, and then all of the sudden- I don’t even tell this story but I’m gonna tell you this story. The way I started singing was, my mom was a singer, she sang at church. I used to hear her sing a lot growing up. So at one point, she doesn’t remember this but, we were in a McDonald’s line and she was singing some Yolanda Adams song and I said “Na, mom, it goes like THIS.” So after she sang it, I sang it. And she said, “wait a minute…sing that again?” And when I sang it again she said, “wait a minute.” So ever since then she kept putting me in different things. Singing was kind of a hobby, basketball was what I wanted to do. After a while, I came to a point in my life where I had to make a decision about basketball or singing and which one I was gonna do for life. Singing just kinda pulled me away from basketball, and that’s okay. I love music now. Everything about me is music. I just had to make that separation, I think I was about 15 when that happened.

A lot of people are excited about this EP. Could you tell us a little bit more about it in the way of perhaps sound? Because first two singles are kinda different. You had the slow jam on the ‘Think Like a Man’ soundtrack, and then you’ve got this new single which has got a clubbier, edgier, more up-tempo feel. So in terms of the EP, what can we expect?

What I want people to understand about me is that I’m not trying to be like anything out there. I have a lot of elements, a lot of different things, but I just want this EP to be classic cause it’s the setup for my album, which I’m still working on. I put a lot of work into this EP, so I just want it to be classic and memorable, and good at the same time but fun. I like making records for ladies, but I want the ladies’ love and the fellas’ respect. I make a lot of different kinds of records, but most of my records I would definitely give to the ladies. A lot of feel good music.

How many tracks can we expect?

It’ll probably be around seven or eight tracks on the EP. We want to make it memorable so the album will be memorable.

What’s it like working under the tutelage of LA Reid? I know you said that was a big factor as to why you actually went on the show. But now you’re actually signed to Epic, how “epic” has the experience been?

My experience here has been great. Right after I got voted off the show, LA Reid pretty much invited me to Epic Records, and you know I couldn’t say no! ‘Cause that was my dad, you know. It was a genuine connection between us, musically though, as well as me being a young man and him having a little experience on me. He didn’t really look at me any different. Even a couple times on the show I remember wanting to do a certain song but then he made me look at it differently. Not necessarily changing my mind, just making me look at music in a way I never looked at it before. LA Reid definitely was a plus on that.

Ever since I’ve been signed I’ve been gettin’ a lot of love from everyone, everyone has been inviting, everyone is excited about my project, everything feels so right about where I’m at right now and where I wanna be. LA Reid played a big role in that, putting me with the right people. Obviously he’s a busy man so he can’t always be here but I talk to him, I text him, I call him sometimes. We definitely keep the connection there, that’s a blessing in itself.

Ok, so if ‘This Is…Marcus Canty’ could serve as the soundtrack to any movie what would it be and why?

I would have to say the Eddie Murphy movie “Boomerang”. And I would say that because Eddie Murphy has his moments where he’s in and out of love, and different girls attract his attention. You see different girls and you’re trying to find the right girl. That’s kind of how this EP goes. When he finds Halle Berry, you know, he loved Robin Givens so much, but when he found that true love you saw that. I think my EP kind of shows that. The ‘In and Out’ song definitely has the vibe of being in and out of love, you know, I see a girl I can’t keep my eye on one. But my EP goes into the love Marcus as well, let you know that love is still out there.  And it’s good that the guy’s name is Marcus in the movie as well! {laughs}


Do you have any fear of coming from a talent show background?

You know, I never really thought about it honestly. I never had a fear of coming from a television show. I feel like that was a big platform and I think those are big shoes to fill. But I feel like naturally I’ve been groomed to accept where I came from and what happens afterwards. You know I’m a worker, when I stepped into the X Factor I didn’t know what to expect but I knew that no matter what happened I was gonna make something out of myself.

Coming from where I came from, you know from the D.C. area, there’s not that many artists that came out of there. You have Marvin Gaye, you have Wale, but there’s not many artists that came out of the area. Going on that platform, I know exactly what to expect, but I knew that music is what I wanted to do and music is something that I wanted to continue for the rest of my life. So regardless if I would have won 7th place or 10th place, I was gonna be performing until I’m old and grey. I’ll go to any stage, any show, any concert and put it down. That’s what it was about for me- making something of myself, doing what I love to do. I’m still on that page, man!

What are your thoughts on Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears being judges?  How do you think Britney is doing?

First of all, Christina, I love Christina Aguilera, Man. She’s probably one of my favorite singers, one of my top 10 favorite singers. Mariah Carey as well, she’s right there. And Britney Spears, you know I had an interview on MTV and I told them I feel like if the X Factor is branching away from typical singing shows I believe that Britney Spears can bring them that “umph” that the show needs. She knows what it takes. You know obviously Paula Abdul does too and Nicole Scherzinger does too, but Britney Spears is just like…I grew up on Britney Spears, honestly I remember her as a kid.

Who are your musical influences?

You know it’s funny because I had a different background in music. I was more of an R&B/Soul kinda guy. My Grandma had me listening to so much Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, you know I could be here all day, Teddy Pendergrass…really that ‘70s sound, that ‘80s sound. Then when I got older I started studying more of the ‘90s sound…Johnny Gill, New Edition, Bobby Brown. I love Bobby Brown. I love the energy that he had on stage. I was also a huge Usher fan too. Those were a lot of my influences. I try to take a little bit of what I learned from each and every one of those individuals and try to bring it to my performance.

So there is a horde of R&B males out, what separates you from other R&B male acts? 

I let my music speak for itself. I think I’m the type where I don’t want to put a stamp on what I do, I want people to put it. I wanna take people back to bring them to that classic thing where music felt good to them. In today’s industry some things are a little over-produced sometimes, sometimes people go to concerts and artists don’t sound like themselves or the record that people remember. I think that’s one thing that I bring to the table as an R&B artist in this industry today. When you go to my concert, you know, I could start singing now and I would sound just like a number on the record. Ne-Yo’s really good at it too. A lot of times the soul of R&B is taken out of the music. I’m gonna bring my soul back to the music, but it’s still fun at the same time.


Interview: Sam / Transcription: J.Wexler. 


Click here to buy Marcus Canty’s latest efforts on iTunes! 


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  1. Butter Face September 20, 2012

    he’s cute but i didn’t even bother to read your novel samantha., da f*** outta here with that s*** lol

    • Ugh September 20, 2012

      lol…i couldn’t read that s*** either

      • Britbutnotproud September 20, 2012

        I had to sign in just to reiterate what you said nor could I.

  2. Ugh September 20, 2012

    I love his single!

  3. cali September 20, 2012

    Love me some Marcus, this article on this though…NEXT!!! NOBODY TAKES U THAT SERIOUSLY TAKE SEVERAL SEATS AT THE SOCCER FIELD

  4. trizzy trainwreck September 20, 2012

    this guys needs more promo! in and out could take him into the top 10!

  5. Nina September 20, 2012

    I love Marcus and was always rooting for him on X Factor. He’s put out some good songs and I really hope things pick up for him.

  6. Stephanie September 20, 2012

    Excellent interview! Side eye to the people who’s intellectual capacity wouldn’t allow them to read past three sentences but felt a need to comment. I would’ve kept that to myself! I’m just sayin….

    • Butter Face September 20, 2012

      GuRL BYE

  7. MISHKA September 20, 2012

    I love this young man.

    He just need the right image to match those money notes he got. He can do this.

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