Andrew Marcus has been holding out on us, guys. The worship/contemporary singer/songwriter has been crafting scripturally sound songs for the Church for years, but under the surface has been an emcee waiting to break out.
With the emergence of Addition, Marcus shares his love of '90s hip-hop, as well as his personal methods for memorizing scripture. The recently ordained pastor shared how his accidental musical side-project, introduced in the album Lift My Eyes, has taken on a surprising life of its own.
OK, what is Addition? Who's part of it? How did you start it?
Addition really is an "add-on" to my musical journey. An addition. Everything was written/produced/recorded by myself in my little home studio. It was a surprise to me that these ideas were forming as I experimented with [the audio recording program] Logic.
Obviously, the music you make as solo artist Andrew Marcus is definitely on the more contemporary pop/worship end of things. Now you have a side rap project. Talk about this side of you we haven't heard/seen before.
Honestly, I was surprised when these songs started forming! Growing up in the '90s, I was obsessed with the rap/hip-hop scene. I would have never thought I'd produce, record and release a hip-hop album personally, but here we are! I am currently working on a 1961 Impala lowrider. I guess I've always loved the rap scene and it was only a matter of time that I would eventually step out in faith and experiment with this genre.
Nineties hip-hop is all I know in that genre, so naturally that is what my main inspiration was. I had friends from my local church, Coquitlam Alliance Church, who are worship leaders [Robyn Frers, Marika Witkamp, Diane Liesch] and a local worship leader who I went to bible college with [Theodora Bessem] sing on the album. The songs that inspired me the most in the '90s were songs with that strong female chorus. Since I am not a rapper, I desperately needed a strong female chorus! They were all surprised by the project but we had so much fun tracking these songs together!
What's the goal or mission of this music, as opposed to what you do with your solo stuff?
When I work on my solo contemporary/pop worship projects, I have two filters in mind: the Word of God and my local church. How do I accurately and simply teach my church family who God is and what He has done for us? The goal and mission with this hip-hop project was to help me memorize scripture and memorize certain definitions that I needed to know for my ordination interview. It surprisingly helped as I recently was ordained as a reverend through the Christian and Missionary Alliance!
My goal for these songs is to help every listener memorize Scripture and encourage them with the truths of who God is. My desire is for listeners to learn how to stand confidently in the promises of God. I was excited to work on a project that was not necessarily congregational. I have noticed many friends from high school, or friends in the lowrider community that I am a part of are into this project. They are interested now in what God is doing in my life when they would have never been interested before with my contemporary worship projects.
Memorizing scripture is a big part of this project, you said. Why do you think '90s-style hip-hop is a good vehicle to achieve this?
I am not sure if '90s hip-hop is better than any other style of hip-hop in regards to helping memorize Scripture, but I do think the simplicity of the '90s hip-hop era should make a comeback. The simple beats really do help create space for lyrical content, which in a sense does create a good vehicle to help listeners memorize the Gospel.
Who are some artists that inspired Addition?
I started learning instruments and having a passion for church and worship music during my first year of university. Before that I've never had a passion or interest in being involved in music or church ministry. At that time I was only listening to hip-hop (Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Nas, et cetera). God took ahold of my life and everything changed. I stopped listening to songs that were causing a negative influence on me and was sold out for local church ministry and writing songs for the local church. The musical style of those '90s hip-hop influences really are the main inspiration for Addition.
Is this ever something you'd tour or somehow work into your Andrew Marcus sets?
At first I thought I would just make this project for fun and not really entertain the thought of releasing it publicly or touring it. Now that I've released it publicly, the feedback has actually been quite overwhelming. Seeing it do better than Constant on the iTunes charts was an eye-opener for me. Because of the response, I've been brainstorming some ideas of how to incorporate it in my worship sets. I am also starting to entertain the idea of touring it as a separate artist all together and partnering with other artists in the same genre.
Do you have any other musical leanings or talents we don't know about that you'd like to share with the whole class?
This is so funny! I am not sure! I always love experimenting with different genres and just having fun in the studio. I've released folk albums before with accordions, banjos, harmonicas et cetera. I love contemporary/pop worship, I love rap/hip-hop... I think the only genre I might not tap into is country, although my wife is praying for that to happen.
Marcus Hathcock is the Executive Editor of NewReleaseToday.com, a husband to Savannah, father of three and a worship leader living in Boise. He has released an EP, Songs For Tomorrow, and occasionally blogs at mheternal.com.
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