Marques Houston Takes On Usher, Trey Songz for R&B Reign
The R&B game is full of would be opponents itching for their chance to play, but with 20 years of experience under his belt, singer Marques Houston welcomes the competition. As the former frontman of teen R&B group Immature, Houston has transitioned his success into new ventures that include solo albums and his own label/entertainment company. For his fifth solo release, 'Mattress Music,' which hits stores July 27, the 29-year-old revealed that he's not afraid to take on singers like Usher and Trey Songz when it comes to reign on the charts.
"You know, making mention to those guys, those are guys that I really respect," he told The BoomBox. "I have a lot of respect for Usher and Trey Songz, they're doing their thing. They have been putting in a lot of work for many years and so have I. In the song ['He Ain't Me'], I made mention to those guys because those are the guys that I take my hat off to and give a lot of credit to for doing their thing and running the R&B game right now. That's what that was all about."
The double decade worth of experience has allowed Houston to observe the shift in the genre, one which he believes has taken the focus off the quality of music. "I think it's changed a lot over the years. It's more so about who you are as opposed to what kind of music that you make nowadays. It's gotten to be a little more political than I'd like it to be, because I'm one of those old fashioned guys that's all about the passion and putting your heart and soul in the project.
"[With my music] I have a fan base that I speak to. At the end of the day you're either gonna' love my music or you're gonna' hate it. It doesn't matter to me because I make music because I'm very passionate about music and I love to perform. I love to entertain. I love to make songs. I'm a fan of music as well. I like to buy music. I don't download. I'm really a fan of what I do. I'm still gonna' make the kind of music that I love and that I feel like people out there love."
After taking a two-year break from music following the release of his highest charting album, 'Veteran,' in 2007, Houston went back into the studio to record his fourth album. Released in 2009, 'Mr. Houston' received a lukewarm reception. One year later comes 'Mattress Music,' which he revealed took less time than usual by putting together a three-man writing/producing crew comprised of himself, longtime friend and producer Chris Stokes, and Eric Cire. Motivated by the success of his sophomore album 'Naked,' which spawned the sultry hit of the same name, Houston opted to fill his latest release with a plethora of "grown folks" music, and the Los Angeles native isn't being coy about his message.
With names like 'Pullin' On Ya Hair,' 'High Note' and 'Kickin' and Screaming,' the sexual premise of each track projects loud and clear. "I wanted to do another album like 'Naked' because 'Naked' was my most successful album and people's favorite. So I really wanted to do another album that was kinda' sexy and intimate and all those things that 'Naked' was, but I also wanted to do it on a much heavier scale," Houston admits. "With this one I wanted to do an album strictly for the bedroom, but I couldn't be that out front and say the name of the album is 'baby making music,' so we had to come up with a different title. I put 'Mattress Music' on the top of one of the songs, and I was like 'wait a minute, that sounds like a good album title,' so there it was."
This latest album also marks the first release off his new label Musicworks Entertainment, which was challenging for the reclusive star.
"Being a CEO is different. To be an artist and then transition yourself into doing the business aspect of it ... it's a lot of hard work. You have to be more aggressive. If you meet an artist they're always nice. They're humble. That's the kind of attitude I was taught growing up. The major celebrities that I always met, they were humble. When you're doing business all that stuff goes away. You have to be shrewd. You have to be aggressive. You have to be bold. You have to deal with people in a totally different fashion. All of that I think has helped me grow as a person. That's the difference between this album and the last album. The last album I was just starting to get into it, this album, I kinda' already know where I am as far as being what I wanna' be as a business man and so I feel like the more you grow personally the more you grow musically."
'Mattress Music' hits stores July 27.