In House With Marcus Canty: Singer Talks About Dad’s Absence, Rude Americans & ‘X Factor’ Fame
At 21, Marcus Canty isn’t chugging Hennessy from a bottle in the club like many of his liquor-loving peers. He’s there to make connections, promote his name and hit home to watch episodes of “Phineas and Ferb.” He’s a self-described homebody with a penchant for touching the souls of those he knows and those he doesn’t with his lyrics. Fresh off a fourth place finish on the second season of “The X Factor,” he’s scored an Epic Records deal and his single sits on the Think Like a Man soundtrack. Not bad for a Maryland native with former aspirations of being a ball player.
The crooner is no novice to the art of reality TV competition. Canty attempted to step into the spotlight on “American Idol” at the age of 16, but when he saw the judges, he was cut. Obviously the five years between then and now is what he needed to flex his vocal chops. He’s currently crafting his forthcoming debut LP and an EP, which will serve as a lyrical appetizer.
Check out the man who’s “in love” with music open up about his one-time absent father, the verbal lashings he received from America, his work alongside production wiz Tricky Stewart and his random encounter with Justin Bieber.
See Photos of Marcus Canty’s In House Visit With The BoomBox
Now that you’re off “The X Factor,” what’s your overall opinion of the experience?
“The X Factor” took me to heights that I never could imagine. It’s like you see people on TV and you say, “I know I can do it.” For so long as a kid, when I was in high school, I said I could do it. I could already sing but “The X Factor” took me to heights. Million and millions of people were watching me every day doing what I love to do. I didn’t want to always be a singer, but when it calls, it calls.
What did you want to do before?
I don’t want to be typical but you know I wanted to play basketball. Every young kid wanna be the next Michael Jordan. But me, I was a Kobe Bryant fan.
Did you ever play on a high school basketball team?
Yup. I played ball since I was about 8 years old. I played for my ninth grade year at my high school. After that I was like, you know, music is where I need to be.
So how did you make the transition to music?
I made the transition, I was playing basketball. I went from one school to the next and the competition got bigger and bigger. After I started doing music, I performed at The Apollo [Theater] when I was a kid. I was 15. That was huge. Even still when I did that, I knew it was good but it was still like, “This is fun.” I performed Trey Songz‘ “Gotta Go.”
You recently turned 21. For some people it’s a monumental moment. Are you a big party person or are you just focused on work?
I feel like right now I do need to be in some clubs because there’s a lot of networking. There’s a lot of people that come to the clubs and stuff. I get a lot of networking done. It’s just like a new scene. When I turned 21, my thing was I wanted to get the restriction off my license. I ‘m a homebody. When I’m in the house I watch cartoons. I’m watching “Phineas and Ferb.”
Your single, “Wont Make a Fool Out of You,” is on the Think Like a Man soundtrack. How’d that come about?
I just got signed to Epic Records by L.A. Reid, which was exciting in itself. It was about putting the stamp on Marcus Canty the artist not necessarily “The X Factor” contestant. I’m gonna always be stamped as “The X Factor” contestant. I want people to understand I’m Marcus Canty the Epic recording artist. Epic actually did the soundtrack. They got me in the studio immediately working with Tricky Stewart, Kuk Harrell, Claude Kelly, a lot of great people. Tricky was like, “I want to get you on the Think Like a Man soundtrack.’ He did a lot of the production. He’s my head A&R so he was hooking me up.
So he produced “Won’t Make a Fool Out of You”?
He produced it and Johnta Austin wrote it.
When you were in the studio recently can you describe a moment that was particularly memorable for you?
I’m in the studio with Kuk Harrell recording the single, “Won’t Make a Fool Out of You.” I’m in there recording, short amount of time, and Justin Bieber walks in. Justin Bieber with his girlfriend [Selena Gomez]. They’re looking all young [laughs]. They really kids. I’m like, “Wow, that’s crazy.” Justin works with Kuk a lot. [Kuk] tells me him and Justin work hand-in-hand a lot. He did [Justin's ] “Never Say Never,” a lot of different things. Literally it was just like hanging out. I’m like, “Wow, he’s just walking around in here. He ain’t got no security [laughs].”
Whose career path are you hoping to follow?
I wouldn’t be wrong for saying Usher, would I? [Laughs]. I still want to be Marcus. A lot of people labeled me like that on the show like, “You remind me of Usher,” “You remind me of Jason Derulo.”
Do you dance?
I do a little something. Don’t sleep. I’ll flip on you [laughs]. I’m an entertainer. I want to do movies. I’m already in the act of trying to get a sitcom role, movies, commercials. “The X Factor” just broadened up my mind. It made me feel like I could do anything.
Your mom seems to be a very important support system for you. Did you grow up in a single-parent household?
Yeah, it was me, my mom and my sister.
Do you mind speaking about your dad?
It’s cool. We’re cool now. We have a slight relationship. I hit him up when I hit him up. My dad is the type, if he could’ve been a star, he would’ve been. He wanted to be somebody. When I came out [on "The X Factor"] he was so excited. Even though he wasn’t always there like he should’ve been, if someone’s talkin’ about your child, you know, you get excited. He’s tellin’ everybody, “Watch him on ‘The X Factor.’” Even my grandmother. I talk about my grandmother all the time. She was kinda away a lot. I never really had a real relationship with my grandmother. Now she wants to call me and stuff. I think it was just the relationship her and my mom had. I try to stay positive always.
I want to ask you one thing about “The X Factor” that caused you to get some backlash. The moment when you and Rachel Crow went up against each other. How did you handle when people attacked you on Twitter because she was eliminated and you were saved?
That was crazy. The lashing I got, America, man they rude. Calling me all types of names like monkey and some more stuff. It got bad. It got real bad. Honestly, I’m always just a positive person. I try to stay away from the negative. Even with that situation, I was super shocked. I thought I was going home. When it’s your time, it’s your time. At that moment, I knew it was my time. I still keep in contact with Rachel. Melanie [Amaro] is signed to Epic. So is Chris Rene and Astro. We definitely try to keep it tight.
What is your goal with this album when it does drop?
God blessed me with a gift and a talent. I want to take people on a journey when they hear my music. If I’m singing a love song, I want you to feel like I’m singing to you. If I’m singing about a relationship, I want you to be like, “Man, I go through that.” That’s why I appreciate the Mary J. Blige‘s of the world, who sing about stuff that people can relate to. Women love feeling special. That’s why I don’t disrespect Trey Songz because that’s him [his lane of music]. He’s a great artist. He’s been putting out great music. A lady needs to be treated as a lady. I think chivalry is not dead, you better believe it.