Marck Angel is here to bless the genres of pop and R&B with his smooth and sultry voice. A true multihyphenate, the New York dancer is a singer, songwriter, producer, and dancer, even stepping into the acting realm as seen in a few web series. Beyond the music, he prides himself in being a Black queer activist, being a voice for the people any chance he can.

Most recently, Marck Angel unveiled his new, highly-anticipated album titled SERAPHIM. The 14-track project is labeled as a pop-conscious project, one that speaks volumes to what we all go through as humans on a daily basis. And luckily, fans who love the music are able to check out his high-octane music videos as well.

Sheen spoke with Narck Angel about his sound, his background, his biggest influences, the new project, the short film, his goals, and more!

How would you describe your sound? 

That question is always so difficult because my sound is very eclectic. I don’t put myself in a box, I kind of pull from everything. Everything from Pop to R&B to Rock to Soul to Hip-Hop to Classical. My favorites are Janet, Michael, New Edition, Prince, and Marvin. So if you think of those artists, that’s the kind of music I make, but in the now. It’s fun to take all of those different types of genres and sounds and put them together, even within the same song sometimes!

Where are you from? How does that play into your life and career? 

I’m originally from New York, born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, then we moved to Long Island. I commute back and forth between New York and D.C. and since I’ve been doing music I’ve been out in LA quite often so that might be thought to live out there as well. Being on the East Coast, there are quite a few major cities in relatively close proximity. You can get to D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Miami relatively quickly with a quick hour or two flight. Or even driving distance, which definitely helps when it comes to touring.

Biggest influences? 

My dad because he introduced me to music, so that’s one. My mom because she’s simply my hero. After them… definitely Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. Anything Jackson’s! And Prince is right on their heels. They’re the epitome of Black entertainment excellence. I love them because they’re completely involved in their craft, writing, producing, choreography, and playing instruments. They’re the bar, but I also love Tevin Campbell, The Debarges, and Ralph Tresvant. Especially Marvin Gaye, and a lot of the great high tenors and falsettos of our time. I’ve also been getting into more Maxwell and Smokey. I study and learn from those guys because their singing voices are like mine, so it’s a natural gravitation toward them, they’re the best of the best.

At what point did you realize this music thing was for real? 

I knew very, very, very young. I can remember singing and dancing to the beat on my parents’ coffee table at 2. But it wasn’t until 5th grade when I tried out for auditions for a school play entitled “Godspell” and I got the lead! I was so nervous for that first performance, but I did so well that the entire audience came up to my mom after and said “that boy got something special… you need to do something with it.” People were so shocked because I was always so quiet, but transformed into this ball of energy when I performed. It clicked for me. Besides being a gymnast at one time, a performer is the only thing I ever remember wanting to be. 

What was the inspiration behind your name? 

My name is Marck Anthony, but I couldn’t use that because of the amazing Latin vocalist Marc Anthony. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t use that! So, my aunt, Linette was the one who came up with it saying “Ant… your voice is so soft and light it reminds me of an angel or what an angel would sound like.” She said “Marck Angel”, it was literally a eureka moment and it’s been Marck Angel ever since.

SERAPHIM is out now, how are you feeling? 

Yes! My new project. I feel ready! I’m feeling really good about it! We worked so hard to make some really good records. The idea was to have every track a potential single. It took 4 years to make. Everything from writing to producing to playing the instruments and recording everything. Then we had to create the choreo for the videos and shoot the film. It was crazy sometimes, and then let’s not forget about the pandemic.

With all that process, it was a tremendous relief to finally get it out! I’m really proud of it cause it’s indie and the creatives that poured into it are serious upcoming talents. We’ve taken a guerilla warfare, grassroots approach to the grind behind it. I turned down a couple of record deals to make sure I do this the way I really want, I’m happy it’s doing well and reaching the fans and making new ones. The first single “Maybe” has 3 million YouTube views and “Justice” and “UP” have been doing really well, but I want them to do even better and reach more people! The message is important.

What’s the meaning behind the title? 

Seraphim is a derivative of the word “angel,” “angel of fire.” Figuratively, they represent “passion, ardor, fire, light.” With this project and really throughout all my music, that’s the energy that I want to give. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. We sing about taking action and not just theorizing about racism, bigotry, queer rights, women’s rights, global warming… all the big social topics. The “Movement,” but I didn’t want to approach it from a dark or dystopian space, or “from a pulpit.” I wanted to speak to the issues via empowerment, light, and inspiration, to enlighten and charge up the listeners. It’s like, how do we make listeners dance with the music and connect via emotion, but hold their attention long enough to set fire to their minds because that’s where change really happens?

What do you want fans to take from the project?

 It’s my love letter to the “movement”… the movement that supports Blackness, queerness, womanhood, effeminate, positive Black masculinity, equity, humanity… all the rest of the good shit. For example, somewhere along the line, I was fortunate enough to connect to albums like Rhythm Nation 1814, What’s Going On, and Michael’s Bad album, and I was inspired to take action to do this project. My hope is that Seraphim inspires others to do their part as well, in whatever way they know how. Actualize. Take action on whatever part of the “revolution” you feel is most effective. But I also want them to dance and shake their asses while they’re doing it! 

Is it hard making socially conscious pop? 

No, not at all. I literally took a mantra from the great and wise Quincy Jones. He speaks about getting out of the way of the music just enough to leave room for God. And hard or not, it’s what I feel He I called to do, and I accepted to do. I had no clue what this album was going to be about when we started it… and when we finished it, the album just felt “right”. Not to say, it probably would have been easier to do a relationship or romance-based album. But, with the unfortunate space our planet, and particularly America is in, I felt it provided a need to sing about something much more substantive, and less status quo. So in that, it came easy. 

What did it mean to shoot the short film? 

Fun and stressful! To give context, the film elaborates on the story from the album’s first music video “Maybe.” Donta Hensley plays my love interest in the video and the film. What we’ve done is taken a few songs from the album, created music videos, and woven the music videos together with an actual storyline that includes acting and dramatic scenes. If you think of musical dramas like “Purple Rain”, Janet’s “Rhythm Nation” or Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”, it gives that edge and feels. It was one of the biggest efforts that I’ve ever done outside of touring. It was a lot managing a cast and crew of 30 folks… and then adding in Covid! We shot most of the acting scenes just before Covid. And then we had to stop shooting for a year! However, I will say that it did give me time to just develop the project as a whole, as I hadn’t even finished recording the rest of the album yet!

Goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career? 

To be considered one of the best! To be considered one of the best new artists that are coming up through the ranks. The space is opening for us Black queer artists, through the likes of Lil Nas X, Frank Ocean, Saucy Santana, and Big Freedia, but I want to break into the mainstream spaces even more. I want to be right up there with the Chris Browns, Ushers, and Ne-Yos. The goal for me is to be considered Black entertainment excellence and to put in the work to get there!