New York busker and self-made man of soul, Marques Toliver is a talented musician, singer, songwriter and producer. Originally from Daytona Beach, Florida, Toliver is currently based in London, where he works as an editor of his own magazine, Love is the Law, with regular guest editor, English model Daisy Lowe.
As well as writing, editing and performing, Toliver is actively working on his (yet-to-be-named) debut soul album. A promising single from this expected album, “Magic Look” is available now at his web site, www.MarquesToliver.com. On the track, he performs considerable vocal gymnastics, while at the same time playing classically tinged accompaniments on his violin. He is wildly imaginative, and an extraordinary talent.
On the BBC show, Toliver played his song “White Sails,” which has a fluctuating and slightly rasping violin accompaniment. His performance of the song showcased his jagged voice, interwoven with surprisingly high vocalizations and unrestrained trills. But his soulful voice, when it attacked the melody, had a plummy richness to it. The maturity and quality was able to shine through.
Toliver’s work combines romantic orchestrations, jaunty R&B numbers, and classic soul songs that are often reinterpreted by him–before being infused with surprising spices. THE BOMBER JACKET was lucky enough to witness the artist when he performed last summer in the U.K. He appeared at the End of The Road Music Festival held at Larmer Tree Gardens (Salisbury, Wiltshire U.K.), alongside Beach House, Patti Smith, Grandaddy, and Grizzly Bear.
At the End of the Road, he played “Magic Look,” which began with Toliver painstakingly plucking (pizzicato) some fiddle sounds, and recording them on to a taped loop. He entertained the crowd, chatting along, as he went through this intricate process. When he had established a sufficient number of complex sounds, he began to perform the song. His beautiful voice was alarming, sometimes beaten, and very tense. It had an unwavering tautness to it.
Toliver also provided his own decanted harmonies to each of his songs. During “Magic Look” for example, these were wispy, smoky and subtle. The shrewd tapestry of eloquent violin sound, when it arrived at the end of the number, glided like butter sliding into a hot pan.
The musician has a number of older songs available for listening and downloading on his SoundCloud page. As he says on SoundCloud, “These compositions are preparing me for the ALBUM. I figure I want to be behind the reins when it comes to what sound I’m going for. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the chaos you can’t find in order and neatness.” The feedback he is gaining from the comments on his work is helping Toliver prepare for his official full-length record.
His experimental sounds range from chaotic, sun and sea-gull squawking infusions (like in “The Chaos”), to bumptious and bouncing soul numbers (like “The Answer”). These are abundant with luxurious chimes and many fluid textures. His new sounds are very melancholic, maintaining solid foundations of vintage soul.