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Listen up: Tommy Marquez
Tommy Marquez left home when he was 15. He wasn't homeless, really. He lived couch-to-couch mostly, staying with friends and other family, until he got a car. There were a few night he didn't sleep, just walked around or napped on the FAX bus.
He got by playing music.
"I left home ... without any plan on how I would survive. So, I figured I'd try to make money with what I kinda knew how to do," say Marquez, now 25.
"It taught me that kid with a piece of wood with strings on it could bring a smile to a person's face. And that the music I was making mattered."
And, that it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
After stints in various bands, Marquez settled in as a solo artist. He first Ep titled “Mazes of the Motive,” is available at Reverbnation. You can hear him at 7 p.m. tomorrow night at Kuppajoe with Lezayr and SirenSinging and others.
We caught up with him (via email) to talk about his past projects, his earliest musical memories and why it's nice to be a solo artist.
You've dabbled around in a lot of genres/etc. before settling into you own groove (so to speak). Tell us a bit about all that and how it ultimately influences what you do now.
I had a electronica project I was doing and I was featured on local artist OptimusTrons song called Zombspark, and it actually sounded pretty cool, but just didn’t feel right. I got into the whole screamo thing and that just hurt my throat . I even tried singing Rnb/hip hop and, yeah, some of these things sounded alright but it just wasn’t me. I learned that I just needed to do what I loved doing and should have just kept doing in the first place. That was just to be a singer/songwriter and leave that other stuff alone. But now I do have an open mind about my music and know that I don’t have keep my music in one specific genre.
What are your influences (musical or otherwise)?
My influences musically grow on a daily basis, just by hearing other musicians at shows or online, tv, radio. etc. I'm influenced by experiences of mine or of people I know or have met. I'm also influenced by my family, my fiance and my 5-year-old son, who support me as a musician 100 percent and give me the motivation to follow my dream. But there are a few famous artist such as Conner Oberst of Bright Eyes, Dallas Green of City and Colour and Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional that also influenced me a ton.
What are you trying to accomplish with your music?
I have goals and accomplishments for my music and, yeah, being rich and famous would be nice, but for me, I just wanna play. I love to perform and I love to share my music. It’s a hard thing to make time for since I also have to work and support my family. If anything it would be nice to make a living off of performing my music and do it full time.
You've had some pretty good gigs opening for the likes of Taproot and Filter. What's been your favorite show to play and why?
My favorite show was with a band called Bumtech from Los Angeles. It was my first solo performance since my open mic days. It was my favorite show because it was a reconnection with the journey to be the musician I always wanted to be.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Thinking back, and it sounds kinda funny, I remember that I wanted to be the next Michael Jackson when I was 6 years old. I would try to dance like him while singing "Remember the Time."
Is it tough being a solo artist in town? Obviously, it seems like there are benefits (like not having to pay anyone).
To be honest it seems to be easier since I'm in control of everything and don’t have to worry about anyone elses schedules, opinions or personalities. It is kinda hard to get on shows as a solo artist, but only because it's all new to me. When I was in a band, I could book us a show every week, but now its just my name that I'm promoting/selling, and with out a snazzy band name sometimes people wont give you the time of day. Luckily, there are some people/promoters in Fresno that care about the music in town and are willing to give a solo act the chance to perform. I am thinking of John from Love the Captive, Jesse From Kuppajoes, Art Silva and Tony Martin from Fulton 55. I've never been paid as a solo musician and never ask for pay unless its offered. But when I do then, yeah, it's gonna be nice not having to split it five ways.
You can learn more about Tommy Marquez over at Reverbnation.