Folks are still buzzing about Kendrick Lamar and his powerful Grammy performance, professing their pride and empowerment all over social media. His “we gon’ be alright,” message may have you wanting more music that entertains as well as uplifts, and if that’s the case I’ve got just the ticket – “Bradd Marquis Sings Sam Cooke” at the Blue Note. I caught up with the soulful singer to talk about his upcoming show and why he chose to take on the “A Change Is Gonna Come” singer-songwriter.
What do you share in common with Sam Cooke besides your boyish good
Studying Sam there was just so much that drew me to him. From beginning
his singing career in the church, to his entrepreneurial spirit and need
for artistic control. His want and willingness to produce, uplift and
mentor other artists and eventually his social activism and desire to
empower the community in which he identified with culturally.
What’s your favorite Sam Cooke song and why?
“Having A Party” is my favorite Sam Cooke song, a close 2nd is “Ease My
Troubling Mind.” They both embody the different dynamics of Sam’s
personality and they just hit something in my spirit. The storytelling,
the emotion and the conviction in which he delivers these songs always move
me. It’s weird to say but “Having A Party” sometimes moves me to tears –
there’s something in that song that I’m trying to figure out. I wish I knew
what was going on in his life when he recorded that. I feel like he’s
saying let’s keep loving, let’s keep going as a people, as a community!
Don’t let the music (our progress) stop regardless of what’s trying to
What do you think music of Cooke’s day embodied that you’d like to see
more of in today’s music?
What I believe the music of Sam’s day embodied that I’d like to see return
is emotion, conviction, empowerment, respect and LOVE!!!
Do you do straight Sam Cooke covers in your show, or is it classic Sam
Cooke with a twist?
It’s a SHOW as Sam might have performed with a little twist. I tell his
story from his conception to his death and I use his songs to mark the
times and transitions of his life.
Why do you think Cooke had such a profound and lasting impact on music?
Sam Cooke’s lasting impact can be found as a pioneer! He and Ray Charles
were the originators of Soul Music & RnB. He was one of, if not the first
to own his whole musical catalog, publishing company and record label. He
was able to put other artists in a position to be successful and that’s not
even getting into his impact as an artist. His songwriting, production,
unique vocal tone and delivery transcend space, time, age, gender and
ethnicity. He set the foundation for what we do today…
What inspires you to make music?
Love inspires me to make music. The hope of using it, and the platform, and
resources it can bring to affect change.
What’s next for Bradd Marquis musically?
Touring with this Sam Cooke tribute and at some point finishing my next studio album!
For more on Bradd Marquis go to braddmarquis.com. For tickets to “Bradd Marquis Sings Sam Cooke” visit bluenote.net.