An Interview With MARCO PAVE On His Music, Social Activism and How Memphis Has Influenced His Sound!
Posted On 26 Jan 2016
Tag: 9th Wonder, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Artspace, Books on Beale, CMJ, Crosstown Arts, Edge District, Erykah Badu, James Brown, Jay-Z, John Coltrane, Jordan Year, Just Blaze, Kanye West, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Marco Pave, Memphis, Perception, Project Pat, Purdue, Radio Rahim Music, Ray Charles, TED Talks, Timbaland, UCLA, Zandria Robinson
Memphis native Marco Pavé sits at the intersection of hip-hop, arts communities, technology, and local activism, harnessing the power of music to transform his city. From rapping in the third grade at his North Memphis elementary school to performing at SXSW 2014, Marco’s experiences coming of age as the youngest of four in a Muslim household with a single father render him a unique storyteller and observer of social reality. He reflects the bourgeoning energy of the New Memphis Movement, a loose collective of artists, activists, non-profit professionals, and cultural entrepreneurs working to improve the city with and through art. With a high-energy music and performance style that belies his laid-back demeanor, Marco appeals to a diversity of rap enthusiasts, from purists to radio lovers to hipsters.
Learn more about Marco in the following All Access interview:
ALL ACCESS: Thanks for your time! What’s on today’s schedule for you?
Marco Pavé: Thank you for having me! Today is just a regular business day for me, meetings on meetings with my attorney, meetings with local activists putting together a show, a bit of recording, all around typical day. (laughs)
ALL ACCESS: How do you think 2015 ended up for you? What are you most excited about in 2016? Did you make any new years resolutions?
Marco Pavé: Man, 2015 ended up being one of the greatest years of my career to date. It was a great foundation-building year for my brand and my business. I was able to successfully launch my own record label, Radio Rahim Music, LLC. I delivered lectures at 4 different major Universities including UCLA and Purdue. I was invited to deliver 2 TED talks, in my hometown of Memphis and in our state capitol of Nashville. My label released my EP “Perception” in November, and it debuted at #24 on the CMJ charts, it eventually made its way to #4 on the charts.
Beyond the music I have been involved in a lot of neighborhood change here in Memphis. I worked with the Downtown Memphis commission to help transform the Edge District through the eyes of artists. I am also working with Artspace projects on bringing a 58-unit live/work artist residency complex to Memphis.
For 2016, I am most excited about picking up where I left off in 2015! I am planning a tour from the success of my EP. I am excited about getting out on the road and connecting with all these wonderful people and potential fans. I am excited about all the new music that I am working on. I am doing a mixtape series called “Jordan Year” in celebration of my 23rd birthday!
ALL ACCESS: Can you talk about your work with music and your activism with important issues and how exactly they go hand and hand?
Marco Pavé: Music has always been a way for me to express myself, even as a third grader, when I first began rapping, I was telling stories about what I saw in and around my neighborhood. But at 8 years old, I didn’t understand the art of storytelling and how to be a character in the music and not take on the first person role. I had to learn how to tell stories without pretending that I was a gangsta or a killer. I knew them, but I wasn’t one. My music and activism go hand and hand because I am speaking on real life issues that affect others and myself. I want my music to tell a story about our current climate, when people listen back in 20 years I want them to have a clear understanding of the tensions in America.
ALL ACCESS: What is “Books on Beale” all about?
Marco Pavé: Books on Beale was a benefit concert that I put on in 2013 after I heard about very low literacy rates in Memphis. The concert featured over 12 local acts and over 15 sponsors who collectively pooled over $20,000 in resources. We collected over 500 books and donated them to Crosstown Arts in Memphis. They used those books to open a neighborhood library.
ALL ACCESS: How has being from Memphis influenced your music and really you as an artist?
Marco Pavé: Memphis has influenced my music in many many ways! Music lives in this city, its everywhere. Memphis has had a lot of problem with racism and segregation and even does to this day. But music is always that one thing can stop the racism for just a moment. That showed me power in Memphis music, I wanted to harness that.
ALL ACCESS: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before? Can you talk about your exact blend of music?
Marco Pavé: A hip-hop scholar by the name of Zandria Robinson dubbed my sound as KRS-ONE meets Project Pat! I will and have seconded to that. My blend of music is conciseness and some turn up. I just want to be a full human being in my music, not a preacher, not a fool, just a full person that contradicts, loves, thinks, hates, changes, all everything else us crazy people do.
ALL ACCESS: What musicians have been inspiring you since you started making music?
Marco Pavé: Ray Charles, James Brown, Jay-Z, Kanye West, John Coltrane, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, many more but these are my tops.
ALL ACCESS: Whom would you love to work with in the future?
Marco Pavé: I would love to work with Timbaland his productions are crazy, I would love to work with 9th wonder and Just Blaze as well, shit, honestly I am trying to get them on my album.
ALL ACCESS: What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Marco Pavé: I hope the message of my music is perseverance. The world is going to give you shit for dreaming. I want my listeners to hear my music and keep dreaming regardless of what others say. Hip-Hop and music has taken me to places unimaginable for a young guy from North Memphis, I want to share that triumph.
ALL ACCESS: Is there anything else that you would like share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Marco Pavé: Just be on the look out for a busy 2016. Please connect with me and personally follow the journey and movement @Kingofmarco on all social media. Visit my blog for stories via kingofmarco.com