The ability to multi-task and achieve great success while remaining true to your inner being at its core is difficult. If you multiply that often hard to achieve task with at least fifteen years of experience in entertainment you might just come across the name Marques Houston â a man that holds the titles CEO, singer, songwriter, producer, actor and constantly evolving entertainer. While we’ve seen him in everything from “Sister, Sister” to “Cuts” and “You Got Served” and picked up on his struggles with love (“All Because of You”), heartbreak (“Circle”) and simply going out to have a good time on “Clubbin’,” Marques Houston admits it hasn’t been easy holding onto his spot all these years or remaining true to himself. By the end of this feature however, Houston defines just what it means to be humble and focused.
Speaking with Singersroom prior to the release of his fourth solo studio album, “Mr. Houston,” and the forthcoming film “Boogie Town,” Houston speaks candidly on everything from a forthcoming video anthology to heeding advice from Academy and Golden Globe Award nominated actor Will Smith (among others).
Singersroom: The new album “Mr. Houston” is coming outâ¦ What has changed since (the last album) “Veteran?”
Marques Houston: A lot has changed as far as my life and responsibilities. Being the CEO of a company, I’m just more involved with my career and running my own label. First of all, I’m a businessman so I think in life, you just grow. You learn; you mature; and the more and more you stay in the business, the more you learn. This album reflects all of that growth. Everytime you do an album you don’t want it to be too different from your last but, you just have that natural growth and natural progress as an artist.
Singersroom: “Veteran” sort of reminded people of not just your talent but ability to remain in the industry after so many years. What should fans expect on “Mr. Houston?”
Marques Houston: I would say this album has a lot more live music. It is the first album I actually wrote and produced the entire thing. Detail executive produced with me as well but, it’s just more adult. You’ll see the maturity in the music and everything. I just try to make good music every time I come out and music that satisfies my fans and also satisfies me. I like to make music that I like to listen to. Hopefully when it comes out everybody enjoys it.
Singersroom: Now there are videos for each song, is that right?
Marques Houston: I did a video for each song. I wanted to make history. In this industry (today) I’m starting to see a lot of things the same. I wanted to do something different as an artist because no artist has ever done that before. I wanted to do something different that I’ve never seen beforeâ¦making a video for every song. Eventually people will be able to have a visual of every song that they hear.
Singersroom: You’re being honored in Singersroom’ s Top 30 Under 30 artists to watch, so I have to ask, what bit of advice, received over the years, has stuck with you and from whom ?
Marques Houston: Starting so young in this industry, you’re around a lot of adults. From me being on ‘Sister Sister’ to different movies and people I’ve been around, I’ve gotten so much advice. I feel like I took all of that advice and applied it to myself and my career. I’m not the kind of person that doesn’t like to listen. I’m very open minded and I feel like if someone has a good idea or good piece of advice for me then I’m always going to look to follow that advice, especially from people that have been here before me.
I think the best advice I could have ever gotten was just “remain humble and remain yourself. Try not to focus on the star element of it, focus more on your craft” â Will Smith told me that a couple years back and I think that’s one that has stuck with me the most.
Singersroom: When it comes to your look, what article of clothing or accessory makes you feel most powerful?
Marques Houston: I think I feel most powerful when I’m in a suit. There’s something about a suit.
When you dress up in a suit you feel James Bond-ishâ¦and you just feel like you’re in control. When I was younger I really didn’t like wearing suits as much as I do now. I think when you’re younger you want to be hip, wear saggy pants and all that. The older you get that kind of goes away. You want to be more grown up and look how you feel. I feel like the way you dress, mirrors your personality. I dress how I feel.
Some days I might feel like being a bum and I’ll thrown on some sweats, flip flops and a v-neck t-shirt and walk out the house and go to the grocery store. Then sometimes I feel like I have to be dressed for a certain occasion. Sometimes I feel like being casual. So everything I put on just kind of reflects my mood and how I’m feeling at the time.
Singersroom: Is there anything you can’t live without, like a certain pair of sneakers, a chain or something of significance?
Marques Houston: I have a chain, actually with two rings, that is really close to me. I think that’s one thing that I can’t live without.
Singersroom: When it comes to events and attire, what is your stylist’s worst nightmare? What’s the worst thing you’ve done or said related to an outfit brought to youâ¦
Marques Houston: You know I’m not a mean person at all. I’ve never really been the person that is mean to anybody that works with me. I feel like no one works for me. It’s like we all work together as a unit. If you didn’t have stylists and you didn’t have recording engineers and you didn’t have people to mix your songs â it’s all a collective effort to be successful and I don’t feel like one job is less important than the other. I’ve never put myself above anybody and so, if somebody is trying to help me out, I appreciate the help. I’m honest though. I’ll say, you know, I don’t like that or let’s try something else. You don’t have to be mean about it though (laughter).
Singersroom: When it comes to world events, both the good and unfortunate, what particular event has changed your life?
Marques Houston: September 11th (9/11) was a very big deal that affected the world and of course that effected me. Michael Jackson’s death, you know he was the main reason why I became an artist. So, that alone was the most shocking news that I ever heard. Even though it’s not a world thing, it kind of was in its own right because Michael Jackson is the best and the greatest entertainer to ever do it. I think that was one of the things that have affected me the most.
Singersroom: What about music makes you want to get up each morning and record, write or even collaborate with other artists?
Marques Houston: I think I’m a very driven individual. I love to sing. I love to perform and I love to entertain whether it’s through singing or acting. As long as that fire burns inside of me I’m always going to wake up and want to do something. Sometimes I get lazy and sometimes I don’t feel like going to the studio and working but, at the end of the day I’m still a driven individual. When I look around and other artists come out, I see television and music videos that I like; it inspires me and keeps me going.
Singersroom: With you being considered a veteran in the game, what three things should guys coming up, that could be looking up to you, have to get through this industry?
Marques Houston: One thing that you must have is talent. One thing I don’t like to see is people that I feel are not talented and maybe caught a break. I feel like you have to hustle and you have to be talented. I don’t like seeing people who just get it for no reason and get lucky. You know. I feel like you really have to work hard in anything that you do and that would be my advice to anybody coming up in this business. Really, really work hard, focus, stay humble and never forget who you are.
Be sure to follow Marques Houston on Twitter at twitter.com/marqueshouston and also Marques-Houston.com. —— By: Interview By Njai Joszor