The young gentlemen of Hamilton Park may rehearse as hard as the Jackson 5, but there’s certainly no fighting over who gets to be Michael. “It’s like that show, ‘Captain Planet,'” Mr. Marcus tells Rap-Up.com. “We each have different powers but with our powers combined…”
Inside a lounge at Atlantic Records in New York City, the R&B quartet (Mr. Marcus Lee, Royce P., Chris Voice, and Anthony)—who is the first act signed to Andre Harrell’s label Harrell Records—sits at attention, eyes gleaming with an amalgamation of excitement, innocence, and anticipation. They’re newbies to the music game, clad in matching plaid button-downs and ready to answer anything—even things they probably shouldn’t.
The Atlanta group’s single, “Thing Called Us,” brings velvety harmonies and a youthful charm that provides their female admirers something new to fan themselves about outside of the overrated teen pop phenoms. They’ll do it all for the love of music—just don’t expect to see them on “Jersey Shore.”
1. You were influenced by Jodeci, 112, and Jagged Edge. What aspect of ’90s R&B groups do you try to emulate?
Mr. Marcus: It’s the conviction. The reason why we feel familiar or we feel like those groups is because it’s the conviction we have. A lot of new artists will give you eargasms and they don’t continue to sing from the heart.
Chris: It’s the way we dress too. We’re not trying to focus on our individuality; we want people to remember us for our music. When you’re in uniform, it’s easier to see the art. When other groups dress differently, there’s no unity. Basketball players don’t dress differently.
2. What is your greatest fear as an artist?
Mr. Marcus: Too many girls in the room, like I’d walk in and wouldn’t know what to do.
3. When you’re on stage or in rehearsals, who are you singing to?
Anthony: All of the women in the world. It’s a lot but if I aim for all of them, I’m bound to reach at least a few.
Royce: I’m singing to all the women as well, but I’m motivated by all the haters.
4. What would you do for a Grammy?
Mr. Marcus: Sing. If it’s for any other reason, I’d pass on it. I’m very hardheaded. We wouldn’t have to do anything else.
5. What do you sing in the shower?
Chris: Commercial ads.
Anthony: And Gospel music. I also sing “Striped Sweater” by SpongeBob [SquarePants].
Royce: I might become an orator in the shower and start speaking to the masses.
6. Who in the group grew up with the strictest parents?
Mr. Marcus: My parents. They’re both pastors.
7. What do you like to read?
Mr. Marcus: Royce and Anthony are the thinkers in the group.
Anthony: My favorite book would have to be W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk.
Royce: I really fell in love with The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. That was a pretty good book.
8. Which reality show star irritates you the most?
Mr. Marcus: I don’t wanna say.
Mr. Marcus: She’s not even fly!
9. Are you guys into other types of art besides music?
Royce: I’ve done some sculpture myself. [The guys] haven’t seen my pieces but I have a bunch—just different thoughts and certain things we had to learn how to do. Sculpture and ceramics in high school.
10. Have you guys taken the New York subway yet?
Mr. Marcus: No thanks. We want to live. I’ll walk by the subway. I mean I’ve seen it in the movies, like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. That’s enough for me.
Words by Rajul Punjabi | Photo by Sydney George