Marcus at his mixing console doing what he loves, creating new music!
It feels like your path to success is coming pretty quickly. From what I’ve seen, a lot of that can be attributed to your networking skills, a trip to the Road Rally in your first year as a member, and being talented enough that other members are eager to collaborate with you. What other factors do you think have contributed?
Probably my obsession. I never stop. I do song after song after song, and rinse and repeat. It was very easy for me to accept the TAXI mantra of “Write, Submit, Forget, Repeat.” I am a student first. I try to learn from you, other members, YouTube, or anything, anyone I can get my hands on. I continue to try to get better and sharpen, and find new innovative ways to work smarter and faster, instead of longer and harder. I also love what I do so much. I have a ton of faith in my gift, and trust my music will always find the right hands and the right home.
"I should’ve been with TAXI since the very beginning."
Even though you came into TAXI with a strong skill set already in place, have there been any eye-openers that made you say to yourself, “Wow, I can’t believe I never thought of that on my own after all these years?”
Joining TAXI and taking it seriously is one of them. In my opinion, I should’ve been with TAXI since the very beginning. I also trust things happen when they are supposed to, and TAXI came to me when I asked for something more. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering.
Your client list and the list of artists you’ve worked with are incredibly impressive. Why did you even feel like you needed to join TAXI?
Two different sides of the musical coin. For years I was writing, producing, and mixing for other artists. I enjoyed it immensely, and I got to work for some of the music industry’s very best. There came a time when I felt like I was spread too thin, and a little trapped. I wanted another way to do what I loved. TAXI answered the phone that day (metaphorically speaking). I saw a way to work on my own music again, unencumbered and without bounds. There was also the Industry Listing aspect of TAXI. I loved being asked for something specific. It kept me from the land of too many options. I could focus my obsession and possibly offset the need to have so much foot traffic in the studio. I also knew from past experience that TAXI and its connections work if your music is industry ready. Luckily I had a bit of an inside track on what the industry was looking for, and how to create at that level.
"A farmer doesn’t plant his crops and then wake up the next day and ask, ‘Why hasn’t everything grown so I can get paid?’ While you wait for the money, you get to write more songs! Isn’t that lucky?"
So many people have the dream of earning their living by making music, yet decades later, they’re still thinking and talking about it. Do you have any advice that could motivate them to get started?
Go! Do it! Things really started turning around when I stopped doing ten things at once, and made the commitment to do one thing really well. I also gave myself no other options from the start, so maybe I cheated a little. I left a full college scholarship behind, while working as a valet parking supervisor, to pursue music and only music. When being an artist started to fizzle out, I started producing for other artists. At that point I had absolutely nothing to fall back on. So it had to work. I think when you have that, you are always expecting something amazing to happen that’ll keep you working on music in one way or another. If I had another career to fall back on, I may not have ever made that full jump off the edge. And if you don’t jump, you won’t ever realize that stuff shows up to catch you. If at any down point in your journey you can say, “Oh well I guess I’ll go back to XYZ,” then you don’t give yourself a chance to say, “This has to work. I’ll find a way.” For my mother, it was allowing her gift of songwriting to morph into a career in marketing, by realizing that condensing a song into a 30- or 60-second compartment was how she could become a jingle writer. For me, it was allowing my passion for creating music expand in several different directions, when the only way I saw at the time seemed to hit a dead end. A man’s gift makes room for him.
What advice do you have for people who say, “I belonged to TAXI for a year and I didn’t make any money?”
I’d say, “Neither did I!” [laughter] I’d also say a farmer doesn’t plant his crops and then wake up the next day and ask, “Why hasn’t everything grown so I can get paid?”
This is certainly a process. Fill the pipeline, as TAXI members say. Or plant more seeds. Because if you have the patience, or something else to do, by the time the crops grow there’s a heck of a lot of harvest coming your way. I knew money was on the way. My idea was by the time it did, I wanted hundreds of songs out there working for me. Also, while you wait for the money, you get to write more songs! Isn’t that lucky?
Imagine if you had to write all the songs you were gonna write for the season in ONE DAY, then had to wait until they were ready to be used. That would be torture. Just keep writing. The “Write, Submit, Forget, Repeat” mantra works. By the time the money arrives, you will be on such a roll, it will be impossible to stop the snowball effect. And at the end of it, you have a collection you can be proud of.
"TAXI’s Forums are the best. Nothing but love and selfless individuals willing to share any and everything they’ve learned along their paths. Anyone not using the Forums to get better is simply cheating themselves."
So many people think TAXI is sort of one-dimensional... all about the opportunities, and only about the opportunities. Can you shed a little light on the community and educational aspects?
To really get the most out of TAXI you have to immerse yourself in everything TAXI has to offer. TAXI has something for everyone at every stage of his or her musical journey. TAXI TV has the insider tips from the pros, and acts as free weekly classes where you can absorb all you can eat from a variety of topics related to the music business. And no matter where you are in your career, there will always be a TAXI TV that has something you can learn, with the bonus of being able to access all the archives. Plus you can get questions answered live, which is so cool. The TAXI Forums are like the community center. This is where everybody hangs out. The Forums actually surprised me the most about TAXI. I am a member of a few other audio-related forums and TAXI’s Forums are the best. Nothing but love and selfless individuals willing to share any and everything they’ve learned along their paths. I have made lifelong friends in the Forums, not just collaborators and co-writers. I’ve never met a group of people more dedicated to the successes of those around them. You get to read success stories from other members (Forwards and placements), so now you get a good inside listen to what’s working in real life, for real members. With this, you can really compare your music with those having success and help your growth exponentially. You can also use the Forums to have members review your music before you submit to listings. This ensures that by the time the TAXI screeners hear your music, it’s at its absolute best. This is priceless!
"What happens at the Rally is nothing short of magic, and in my case, life-changing."
These members know what works, as a lot of them make a living doing what you’d like to be doing. Anyone not using the Forums to get better is simply cheating themselves. It’d be like going into a huge prizefight and not using your training camp, that happen to be the best in the world at what they do.
So don’t expect to put your music up against the best and come out on top without using priceless tools like the ones found at the TAXI Forums. The Industry Listings end up being like the tests or quizzes. You get a chance to use what you’ve learned, whether through TAXI or just your musical journey, and try to apply it in a real situation. It’s game time. You either go back with more work to do, or move on to the next step and keep ’em coming.
TAXI isn’t one-dimensional. It’s multi-dimensional. And it’s not hidden. You guys tell people all the time.
And then there’s the Road Rally. Sheesh. There aren’t words! What happens at the Rally is nothing short of magic, and in my case, life-changing. If you’ve frequented the Forums and TAXI TV, you now get to put real faces to the names of the people you’ve chatted with. And if you were using the Peer-to-Peer section of the Forums, now a lot of these people have even heard your music. When you get to the Rally, if you’ve used all the tools TAXI offers, it’s the Super Bowl. I’ll leave it at that.
Don’t miss Part 3 in next month’s TAXI Transmitter!
Music from Marcus and collaborators: https://soundcloud.com/wewillwriteuasong