Adrian Marcel is an R&B artist on the rise — don't be the last to know
September 23, 2015 at 6:00 am
Marcel is one of the most impressive R&B artists of today. He hails from Oakland, California, and is a protégé of the legendary Raphael Saadiq. Marcel caught fans’ ears with his single “2 AM,” but the song doesn’t reflect everything he has to offer. Over the past few years, he has built a following through a series of strong projects. Adrian has an EP and three mixtapes under his belt that are available for free, but they all boast music worthy of album placement.
His first mixtape was called 7 Days of Weak, a play on words that highlights the vulnerability Marcel chooses to express in his music regardless of it being flattering or not. He drives this point home with the song “My Life,” a heartfelt tune dedicated to a woman that supports him and helps him become a better person. On the song, he shows off his vocal range and delivers each lyric with feeling. Marcel continues the trend of honesty in his music on “I’m Still,” but does so with more attitude. The song describes how Marcel maintains his character as he gains success and deals with the changes it evokes from people in his life. He concludes the mixtape with the prime example of its title in “Waiting,” a song that conveys the difficulty in accepting a breakup you didn’t want to happen.
Marcel followed up his first effort with the mixtape Weak after Next. On the project, he maintained the impressive vocals and ballads that caught people’s attention in the first place. Yet, he expanded his sound with a few songs that embraced some of the current trends in R&B. The clearest example is “Runnin,” on which producer Vinylz backs Marcel up with a booming beat drop and 808 drums. Despite this shift in sound from some of his earlier work, he still delivers strong vocals and substance as he sings about a love that avoids commitment. He balances this expansion of his sound with songs like “I Get It,” a smooth track with Casey Veggies that’s fit for a nighttime drive.
Earlier this year, Marcel re-released the mixtape with a plethora of new material on it. With “5 Minutes,” he delivers a song for the bedroom over a mean bass line and little else, giving his take on the minimalism heard often in R&B nowadays. He picks up the energy with the instrumentation and vocals on “Bad Habit,” a clear standout track from the project that speaks of being with someone despite knowing that the relationship won’t last in the long run. Marcel also shines on “Pieces,” one of his trademark ballads that addresses infidelity and the confusion caused by it.
To add to his growing catalog, Marcel recently released an EP titled Fifty Shades of Adrian (Unplugged) that was named after the popular book and film from E. L. James. For the EP, he sings over live instrumentation on each song. The acoustic backdrop suits him well on songs like “Put You Out” when he does runs that give off a raspy sound. The song that stands out most from the project is “Coming Over,” on which Marcel sings over smooth guitar play about a certain type of late-night visit.
While putting all of this music out, he has made strides in recognition. Marcel has toured with artists such as Kelly Rowland and Keyshia Cole, and has collaborated with the likes of Pusha T and Wale. BET has even included him in their Music Matters campaign. Marcel also continues to impress fans with his live performances. However, it’s time for even more people to recognize what he’s contributing to R&B.
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