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Q - 'Soul,PRESENT'

  • 2 min read

With a powerful falsetto and a knack for tender, soulful storytelling, Q Marsden is well on his way to capturing the hearts and minds of a generation. In perfect form, Q has released his debut album 'Soul,PRESENT' out now via Columbia Records and Sony Music Australia.

His first major release since his critically acclaimed EP 'The Shave Experiment', the new album finds Q in a different place now, and so naturally, the music is different. For 'Soul,PRESENT', Q has focused on his message: “Evolve, change and give hope, nothing more and nothing less,” he says.

The new album is an utter delight, offering ten vibrant tracks that expertly delve into the synthesizer-heavy sound of the '80s, with zaps of horns, keys and other elements floating in a warm stream of synth bass. It's the perfect foundation to buoy his slick falsetto, which he applies with care for the verse and chorus in each track, creating a sound that is enjoyable, and uniquely his own.

Q was five years old when he started recording music. Raised by musician parents, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Pembroke Pines, Florida fondly remembers laying his first tracks down in studios his father, who produced hits for reggae and dancehall legends Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder, brought him to Jamaica. His mother—a former keyboardist for bands associated with Jamaican acts like Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Dennis Brown, and the musical director of their church where Q sang in the choir—showed him the art of performance. At home, his parents introduced him to Michael Jackson, prompting Q to learn to appreciate pop artistry at the highest level.

Despite his early foundations in music, Q was never taught how to play the piano, guitar, and drums that grace his stirring, melodic songs. “I would listen to it and try to play it piece by piece,” Q explains about teaching himself to play the keys by ear and using classic Mozart as a guide. Soon enough he was programming beats into his mother’s Triton keyboard. When he heard Drake’s 2013 album 'Nothing Was The Same', Q was inspired to make production his focus, and even sold a guitar he had bought in order to get the computer equipment he needed to strengthen his sound.

Fast forward to 2018, the year Q released his first project, the self-produced 'Thoughts' - a heartfelt, acoustic-driven collection of folksy R&B ballads. “It was me practicing vulnerability, just practicing expressing how I feel in a certain way,” Q says about the raw, emotive album, adding “I used to suppress my emotions and wouldn’t talk to anybody but the microphone.” Not one to write lyrics, Q is most comfortable using the mic as his journal, giving his vocals an intuitive, impulsively expressive edge. “The song has to speak before I put the lyrics down, I have to feel what the beat is saying,” he explains. 2019’s 'Forest Green' finds Q experimenting with his sound, from expanding his production to include drums to singing in a lower register. A promising body of work from the young artist, 'Forest Green' is home to single ‘Lavender’, already at millions of streams, and NBA 2K20 soundtrack pick, ‘I Might Slip Away if I Don’t Feel Nothing’.

“My music now has no resemblance to 'Forest Green' or even Thoughts,” Q says about the evolution of his sound in the more recent critically acclaimed self-produced and written project 'The Shave Experiment'. 

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