Consistently bombarded with claims of greatness, a singular genius is sometimes hard to hear through the noise. Marques Toliver is one such genius, a protagonist whose backstory seems inconsequential, as any personal encounter will give the impression that he fell fully formed from some distant and magical land.
Yet the backstory remains compelling. Born in Florida, the young Toliver was clearly a prodigious talent that escaped his family business of grave-digging by entering into Stetson University’s Music School to train as a Classical Violinist. Frustrated in the institution, and keen to throw himself into the real world of music making, Marques travelled to New York City to seek his fortune.
Through busking and working in a vintage store in Brooklyn, he found his first introduction to that fantastical city and was soon a part of the Williamsburg set, playing live and on record with the likes of TV on The Radio and Grizzly Bear, before travelling to the UK as part of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson’s band, where he met a warm response from musicians such as Adele – who blogged enthusiastically – leading to deals with Universal Publishing and Transgressive Management.
Marques is not a conventional “career-path” type of person; in fact, he’s one of those auteurs that doesn’t think of music as a job at all, and to that end found himself performing as one of the first ever unsigned artists on ‘Later With Jools Holland’ in the winter of 2010, opening the door to the next chapter of his story.
Musically, he cut his teeth supporting himself through busking with his violin and his unique Classical meets R+B songwriting, which have formed the basis of his live set today. Thematically intrigued with the concepts of escape, persecution and the realm of the unknown, in a reflection of mankind’s past and present.
His new set, demonstrated on his game-changing debut ‘Butterflies Are Not Free’ EP, sees his ambition bring forth a suite of songs influenced by Bach and Beyonce, Gospel and the visual movements of Maya Deren.
The capabilities of Marques are immense, as the production and arrangement give us a glimpse into Marques’ fascinating and compelling world. Truly, a star is born.