Hello and welcome to One on One in 10, where we pick the brains of some of the most talented Indie artists in the Tri state area with 10 questions. It’s your girl Mai Mazzi reporting live on the scene, bringing you the real with todays’ movers and shakers and allowing you to meet them, one on one.

I hope the summer has been treating you well thus far! I haven’t been able to travel as much as I had planned to, but there is still time! The weather in NJ hasn’t been to swell; many rainy, humid days. Hopefully the ending will be better than the beginning!

This month, we went across the country to Oxnard, California to kick it with a Filipino rapper by the name of Marlon D. His sound is unique and refreshing  with the different flavors he serves us with his varying, and bicoastal, flow.


Mazzi: Thank you so much for taking the time out to sit and speak with me.

Marlon D: Thank you for having me!

Mazzi: So for our first question, what made you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Marlon D: As far as being a 10 year old kid listening to hip hop in Southern Cali, Im from a city called Oxnard.  To pursue it as a hobby, I began at 15 in high school. I didn’t drop my first album until I was 21.  Prior to that I did all the open mics, the battles, performing at high school rallies.  Every year I am increasingly pursuing it as a business. It has always been my love, passion, and hobby first.

Mazzi: How would you describe your music for the public audience if they have never seen or heard you before?

Marlon D: I am influenced by the mid-90s, late 90s hip hop. East coast and West coast is engrained in my style. Being a Filipino artist, I feel like I have something genuine and distinct. I don’t only just make music for my Filipino people; I want to make it as worldwide as possible. Give it a universal appeal.

Mazzi: If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?

Marlon D: I was really influenced by underground hip hop. East and West coast flavor to it to. Growing up I was a big fan of Snoop, Dog Pound and Tupac, as well as Wu Tang, Biggie, Jay Z, and Nas. I don’t know what box to put me in, but I would say underground hip hop.  I started in the underground realm with my last album I experimented with Reggae and trap music. My foundation is underground and I am not shy from expanding to other genres.

Mazzi: How does your style differ from other artists in the same genre?

Marlon D:  With my last album, “The Deductible”, I would like to believe that every beat is different from the next one. I try to adapt my flow to the beat. My rhymes depend on the beat. I like to be a chameleon, like be a part of the beat.

Mazzi: Are you familiar with the term “starving artist”?

Marlon D: Yes

Mazzi: How do you cope with major obstacles as they relate to the term?

Marlon D: I am still a starving artist right now so I can totally relate to it.  As of recently, I finally have my publishing and licensing caught up. I have the digital distribution on lock as far as the last three or four releases. That doesn’t make me rich or a millionaire; I am trying to progress out of the starving artist stage of my career. I feel like I still have a lot of work ahead of me in regards to branding myself. Lately, I have been getting paid for the shows and compilations and guest features. I still work two jobs; I still haven’t left the corporate world yet. Until I get to pay my bills from my music, I still consider myself to be a starving artist.

Mazzi: What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career?

Marlon D: As of this year, coming from Oxnard, I am from the same home town as Stones Throw records. I finally got a chance to open for them in my home town. We had a show called 805 Kings and I was a part of the bill. That was one of my biggest accomplishments this year. Also finally getting my business right, publishing and digital distribution, shooting videos, I feel like my staff is finally coming together for my independent label. The biggest accomplishment I have had within the last 10 years, because my first album came out 10 years ago, is staying in love with the music and still loving to write, record, and perform music. I surprised myself that I am still inspired to make music at this point. I will be 31 years old and I guess time will tell how far your legacy will stretch.

Mazzi: What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music?

Marlon D: The image that I convey in my music is strictly me. People ask me why I don’t have a Marlon D Facebook page; I don’t want to because there is no separation between myself and the artist. For the last album I definitely spoke to my people in my age bracket that are trying to figure out life right now. A lot of us that don’t have kids and family yet are getting older and still kind of like kids because we don’t have those responsibilities yet. I speak to those who do not have it all figured it out. A lot of rappers are so sure of who and where they are, but in reality many of us don’t. I try to connect with the people in a different way.

Mazzi: Art and music has an impact on both the young and the old; sometimes the older generation loses respect for the music we listen to today because they cannot comprehend the value of it. What advice can you give to the youth of today looking to enter the industry in regards to being able to stay relevant for every generation and for any audience?

Marlon D:  I thought about the word branding a lot since attending a music conference in San Diego recently. Branding is everything that you attach yourself to. I would suggest for all the younger artists coming up, don’t be in the music business if you really don’t like music, or if you really don’t like writing or making music. If your intentions are to make money and fame, right off the bat you starting off on the wrong path and you are not going to last. You really need to develop the love for the art. To keep yourself relevant, you need to collaborate with other artists and keep your business relationships good with everyone, from promoters to producers to artists. You have to develop and maintain those crucial relationships. The industry seems big, but it’s relatively small, so don’t want to burn any bridges. I have made a few mistakes coming up in this industry and I have learned from them.

Mazzi: What are your immediate music career goals (1 to 3 years)?

Marlon D: Right now I just dropped my last album on my website.  I have been getting good press from Europe and I am steady getting booked for shows.  My goal now is to finish up my mixtape called, “The last good Paycheck”, by December 2015.  After that I probably will be releasing my next album called, “Shadows 3”, which is the third sequel to my first album; if I finish it by 2016 it will be right in time for the 10 year anniversary of the first sequels release.  After I get all the promo and hitting the world with those projects, I really want to focus on building my label called MD Entertainment. I want to slowly transition and put other artists out; I have learned so much and I feel obligated to look out for the artist coming up so they don’t get jerked.  I want to be a music mentor.

Mazzi: Do you have other interests or talents that you would like to share with us? How do you like to enjoy your relaxation time away from the music?

Marlon D: I work with kids with autism. I have been in that field for about five years. That would be my fall back to the music. I like hanging out with my friends and family and I love to party!

Marlon D has been nominated for Best Hip Hop Artist for Ventura County Music Awards on September 5, 2015. You can go to check out his music catalog at mcmarland.bandcamp.com  and then go vote on venturacountymusicawards.com!

And to you, the readers thank you for tuning in. Make sure you stay tuned for more NMNJ One on One in 10!

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