21 year old, Virginia based singer Marco McKinnis is wise beyond his years. With clear influences stemming back to soulful R&B of the 90s and 00s, Marco uses intimate narratives and sultry rhythms to transport us to a golden era we’re all nostalgic for.
Relatively new to the scene, Marco first captured attention uploading original compositions to Soundcloud in 2016 and in subsequent years gained notoriety with a string of creative projects including debut EP ‘Underground’ and a credit as the only featured artist on Rex Orange County’s acclaimed 2017 album ‘Apricot Princess’.
More recently, we’ve been transfixed by Marco’s alluring performance for ColorsxStudios and this summer he released the highly anticipated EP E’Merse. Short and sweet at just 6 tracks, E’Merse touches upon topics of closeness, romance and love lost.
Can you tell us about your musical background? What did you grow up listening to?
Of course! I grew up listening to a lot a gospel music in the house, I was raised Christian so that was a given. I also got my hands on a lot of Chris Brown, Neyo, Missy Elliot, Puff Daddy, Anthony Hamilton, D’Angelo, Michael Jackson, and many others.
Do you play any instruments or would you like to?
I used to play this trumpet, Euphonium, and some percussion instruments in school. Now I experiment with Piano, Guitar, and the Drum set here there. I definitely want to get into mostly all orchestra instruments. Strings included
E’merse deals with a lot of intimate issues on love and relationships, are you influenced by personal events or relationships?
A huge part of my project was definitely influenced by my current partner, but also some of the project was influenced by past events. A mixture of all to be honest.
There’s definitely been an amazing re-emergence of soulful R&B within the past few years, a lot of great artists are coming out, is there anyone that you’d really like to collaborate with?
Right! I think collaborating with Daniel Caesar, Ari Lennox, Mosses Sumney, and Mereba would be fire. Outside of R&B, Collaborating with Childish Gambino, & Kendrick Lamar would be fire as well.
Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process? Do you prefer to lock yourself in the studio and create music or does it come to you out and about?
For my song writing process, I first have to connect with the music on a spiritual level. If it doesn’t spark anything, it’s hard for me to write. But if it does, I freestyle a great deal of melodies and mumbled words for as long as 8-12 minutes depending on how great the production is. Once I get the freestyle, I structure it if I didn’t structure it in my head while freestyling (most of the time I do) then I tap in and fill in the words. I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what to say.
Outside of music, what inspires you? What’s important to you?
I love art, fashion, interior, architecture and film making. I think everything that dealS with being creative helps my music because it allows my creative energy to be charged up.
It looks like you’re a big fan of visuals, your photography account @emergesbyem is beautiful, do you have any plans for any E’merse visuals?
Wow thank you so so so so much. That means a lot to me. And yes I have some plans in the works 😉 when my headline stadium tour experiences come about, they will be crazy. Even before then actually!
Will you be touring this year? What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
I will be touring this year with Lucky Daye starting September 20th! One of my favourite things about performing is allowing myself to rub off on others as I present a Gift that God has blessed me with, as well as meeting people!
Genea Bailey | WRITER