We were so lucky to catch up with musician AUSTIN MARQUEZ following the release of the superb single ‘(Closer To) Clear’. Enjoy the full interview now!
Hi Austin, how did you first get into music?
Well, I’ve been involved with music my whole life. My mom was a director of a children’s performing group, so I grew up performing, but the first time I remember writing or making music was when I was in kindergarten.
My mom got me a karaoke machine and showed me I could record myself on tapes. So for months, I’d lock myself in my room and record myself on tapes, nothing is written down—just singing and making it up as I go, and I made like 30 ‘albums’ like that.
Eventually, I started to learn the structure of songs and crafting verses, choruses etc., but for as long as I can remember, I wanted to make my own music.
What is the first song that captured your attention as a youngster?
Anything from the Spice Girls… that’s just the truth. They changed my life.
Who influenced your latest release, ‘(Closer To) Clear’?
Sonically, I have been really influenced by other queer pop artists like Troye Sivan and Isaac Dunbar. In addition, artists like Conan Gray and Lorde have been big influences for this specific release.
Lyrically, I was influenced by my personal relationship with the toxic aspects of social media and exploring what is authentic and what is artificial.
You are a choreographer and a musician; how do you balance the two art forms?
The two feed into each other, and at different times one will fuel me more than the other. But for the most part, my choreography influences my music, and my music influences my choreography.
I like making music I can move to, and I hope to make music choreographers want to create too. Really, when I am creating something, whether it be dance or music, I am happy.
What motivates you to make music?
I don’t think I am the best with words all of the time but making music and writing lyrics helps me process my emotions in a more cohesive and authentic way compared to when I am just speaking. I hope that by doing that, I can connect with others as well, and they will hear my words and sounds and feel something.
If you could open for any artist/band, who would it be?
Troye Sivan…or the Spice Girls, of course 🙂
As we begin to live with covid, what is the arts scene like in New York in comparison to before the pandemic?
That’s a haunting question. Covid personally gave me the time to focus and get involved more in the music scene and find the confidence (and time) to finally put music out there.
I think the time at home has created some opportunity for creation and introspection for many artists, so some exciting art is now coming out as NYC is opening more up.
Although it hasn’t gotten back to what it was like pre-pandemic, I think artists and venues have gotten really creative and found new ways to create and share art, so it’s exciting to see spaces opening up and again and noticing how they’ve changed. I think this summer will be wonderful for the arts!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
That it would be driven more by the art instead of by money. I wish artists had more freedom to just be artists and not be seen as products.
What is the best music advice you have ever been given?
I feel like it was indirect, but in working with my producer, SixFoot5, on this track, he really encouraged me to allow myself to feel what I created.
To live the truth of my creation instead of focusing on following a certain sound or genre. He encouraged me to allow my music and my voice to speak for itself rather than trying to fit into something.
What new music are you listening to at the moment?
I haven’t been listening to a lot of new music recently as I have been so busy. But Kali Uchis’ 2020 album Sin Miedo has been a big one for me recently. I’m learning Spanish at the moment, so I’ve been listening to a lot of Latinx artists more frequently.
What musical plans do you have for the next two years?
Honestly, I am excited to just get past this first single. I feel like it has been an uphill battle to get to this milestone, but I am ready to keep going. I have a lot more stories to tell.
FVMusicBlog March 2022