Adrian Marcel is something of a purist when it comes to R&B. "What I feel that I’m bringing back to R&B is more of a blues side," he tells Fuse. "I think we’ve gotten so caught up in trying to be hard and gangster and invincible, and that’s not true. We feel the same way as women do. We hurt just as bad. I’ve had great love and it was the best, and I’ve had heartbreak and it was horrible. I’ve grown from it. Every experience is still a new experience and a learning experience. I want to bring back that blues. It’s okay to be vulnerable."
This comes across in his biggest hit, "2AM." "Me and Sage [the Gemini] connected for the song '2AM' because we’re both from the Bay [Area] and I felt that it was the best representation for a West Coast, Bay Area sound. That’s pretty much what I stand for," Marcel explains. "I rep my city to the fullest—Oakland, California. It just made total sense and I thought it was the best visual representation for my come out record."
More than his city, Marcel is inspired by a lot of non-R&B vocalists. "One would have to be Maroon 5," he told Fuse, name-checking some favorite performers. "Sarah Vaughan is so dope. I’m so into jazz and all of that. I studied her a lot and her performance and how she carries herself on stage. Last I’d have to say Frank Sinatra. He’s all time. I’d definitely try to prep if I was trying to do some Frank Sinatra. His fans are diehard."
Marcel has been lucky enough to receive some pretty spectacular advice, specifically from Raphael Saadiq. "One of the things he’s always said is that the greatest don’t celebrate their work. I’ve always incorporated that since that day into my work ethic and how I carry myself with my work. The biggest thing he said to me was ‘never fall in love with yourself. Stay in love with the music.' ... People start to drink the Kool-Aid. For me, I just keep that in the back of my mind. It’s not me, it’s the music. That’s where it started and that’s how it has to end." So true!
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