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Q Sound is optimistic about soul music made in Malaysia

Marques Young, better known as Q Sound, first came to Malaysia from New York in 2009 as a trombonist as part of an orchestra. Since then he fell in love with the country and decided to stay, trying his hand at songwriting, composing and now producing. He debuted his EP ‘Duel Citizenship’ back in 2016 which showcased his talents as a vocalist, bandleader, and composer. The EP was nominated for Malaysia’s Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) 2016 in the “Best Produced Album” category with fellow artist nominees Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Yuna just to name a few. Young has also performed alongside local greats such as Sheila Majid, Joe Flizzow, Atilia, Zainal Abidin among many others.

Young has just dropped his latest new single – ‘You Got It’ featuring Canadian rapper, Vandal. It will be featured as part of his new album that he is currently working on, due to be released this year. It will explore his roots and passion for jazz, R&B, funk, soul, electro and hip-hop. We caught up with Young to find out what drives his passion for music and what it is like to produce in Malaysia.

When did your love of music truly arise and who are your inspirations?
So I used to listen to the radio a lot! I would even sleep with the radio on every night. As I was going through my childhood, random songs would become the soundtrack to my life. I still to this day associate songs with memories of things I was experiencing when I was younger. I guess I started to love music once I became aware that this was happening.
My biggest inspiration in music is my mother. I constantly remember that way she could sing a song in church and make people cry. She had a way of speaking the soul. She taught me that music can do that. I’ve grown up from a line of preachers and was even expected to take on the mantle myself. However, I find that music is the best way I can share my message with people. I’m influenced by jazz music, classical music, hip hop, and RnB.
What was it like the first time you arrived in Malaysia? 
The first time I arrived in Malaysia was pretty incredible. I enjoy discovering new cultures and meeting new people. The food was amazing and the place was very colourful. I think the moments that stood out for me were listening to ‘manglish’ being spoken and thinking “why do I understand yet don’t understand what the hell they’re talking about?” Nowadays, I have adopted many of those words and phrases into my own vocabulary.
What was it like making it into an alternative music scene in Malaysia? 
It was pretty cool but only because the music scene here is still open. The commercial music scene was a little less experimental before with the exception of a few major artists, but I feel it has been making lots of steps forward in the last decade or so. I truly believe this a special time in Malaysia. There are tons of talented artists, producers, DJs and everyone has the same agenda — making great music. I was fortunate to have a really great band I worked with called Bassment Syndicate. We didn’t really have a specific scene because we played between so many subgenres. We got our biggest boost in the hip-hop arena, thanks to events like ‘TYGS’ by Vandal and ‘Raising The Bar.’ From there we started to become more involved in the alternative scene.
Has the market developed enough and how far does it still have to go?
The market is actually pretty good in general. If anything, the English music could probably use more local support. But that’s also tricky because a large percentage of the country doesn’t speak English as a first language. So I can understand why the English scene hasn’t quite reached the level of other genres. I do believe it’s possible to go further as more and more great local acts are emerging. Once again, it’s a really special time in KL. There are so much talent and motivated individuals, and I feel like every year, things get better. The biggest hurdle for jazz musicians, specifically, in my opinion, is to continue evolving. But it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.
How has Malaysian culture or music influenced you as a musician?
Malaysia has definitely made me more open-minded. Not everything has to be what you think it should be in order for it to be great.
What can we expect from the upcoming album?
The upcoming album will have a different sound compared to ‘Duel Citizenship.’ There will be a stronger R&B element to the album as well as more collaborations with a few of my favourite artists.
Q Sound is optimistic about soul music made in Malaysia

Tengku Muzhaffar Petra

Watches and Culture Editor

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