Marz… new school maverick making connections with heritage
Fast-rising Afrofusion artist, Marz, is among the new school of musicians exploring diversity in his sounds. Inspired by the passion of Fela’s afrobeats and the storytelling of contemporary hip-hop, he weaves his artistry from a myriad of influences – from artists like Drake, Skepta and Burna Boy, among others – to create a sound that is as heavy on the rhythm as it is on the ideals that Marz stands for.
After a stint at the University of Benin, Marz released his debut record dubbed, Favour – a boisterous Afrobeat record about opportunity – to positive reviews. Relentlessly, he closed out 2021 with the loosie, Iyawo, stepping into the halo of singers who are poised to dominate the African musicsphere in the coming moments.
He catches up with The Guardian, talking about his latest single, Connection, as well as the several nodes and circuits that provide a deeper connection into his life and artistry, among others.
Congrats on the new project. How does it feel for you?
I am happy to have a song like Connection drop; I feel great.
What inspired the record?
Connection is inspired by love, but in a deeper sense. When it’s beyond just living but something else that you can’t deny. It’s the realest confirmation of a feeling you can have with someone; a connection. That was where I was about my feelings about someone at the time. It’s me trying to show love without using the word “Love” in it. Diving deep it’s only true that a connection is like a picture, it says everything. If I want to lie then let the connection say everything.
I hear some Fela-style vocalising in that part in Connection where you sang, “I jam police / they snatch my key / I dash money”. It sounds similar to that bit in Fela’s “Army Arrangement” where he sang “padi padi/ wayo wayo”. Just how much of an influence is the late great Afrobeat legend to you?
Fela is the Solid of music, 100% experience put on display.
When did you dabble into music?
Professionally; 3yrs ago.
What has kept you going as an artiste?
The creation involved in art. It’s amazing.
Who are some of your major influences as an artiste?
It’s quite a blend; From Fela, tu-pac, wiz, ice prince, brymo, burna, and a whole bunch.
Are you working on any body of work? If yes, which? Tell us about it.
Yes, My forthcoming EP. It’s about my sound, my experience and my feelings. Not named yet but almost concluded. It will be released next year, in the first quarter.
Why the name Marz?
Marz, because I think I was always outside the space everyone was in, but I found a way to relate. It’s universal with a Z.
Who are some people you look forward to collaborating with?
Burna Boy, Kanye, Jorja, Dave, Jay, etc
What’s your typical creative process?
It’s an overthrought process that actually results in something with people, and a build up when I’m alone.
What would you say is your biggest strength as an artiste? And why?
I feel pictures are the strongest form of communication even before words. So I like to paint pictures of things, expressions and sorts. That’s what I like.
As an artiste, what are some of your core challenges in the industry?
Basically getting people to pause to listen. Because if they do, it’s gone.
What do you think are the solutions?
The solutions are right here, engagement, and relatively. So it’s not a problem that will last long.
What’s next for you in your career? What’s your vision?
Being where I’m supposed to be.