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Kev Marcus and Wil B: Black Violin – Breaking Stereotypes | Talks at Google



Did you all like it? [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] OK, yes WIL B: Thank you MYYA JONES: So to open up, what I would like for you both to do is tell us a little bit about yourselves We know you're from Florida And from what I read online, how you all got started is you all teachers had a bet with the band teacher and the orchestra teacher

WIL B: Yeah, that's my story So yeah, I wanted to play the sax And they put me in the wrong class But I didn't find out till, like, 2012, it was actually a bet that the band teacher had with the string teacher And obviously, the band teacher lost

And I got switched to orchestra instead of band So yeah, I was real mad when I found out that It was just like, yeah, I really wanted to play that sax But it worked out, you know? "Black Saxophone" just don't got the same ring to it KEV MARCUS: Nope

WIL B: It just don't sound right So yeah, it was– I don't know what they– I don't know– for me, when I first wanted to play, I was really excited about playing And I went up to the band teacher I was like, yeah, I want to play And I guess the string teacher was in the same room

And I guess they saw my enthusiasm And they were just like, I want that kid So you know, they betted on me So it's all good It worked out

KEV MARCUS: Yeah, my story is different My momma made me do it Never wanted to play this instrument in my life I remember coming home with it And the boys in the hood were like, what's that? Oh, you playing violin now? I was like, oh man– so mad

But it ended up working out, you know? Especially, I went into a performing arts middle school and then got into a performing arts high school And then we met in high school in orchestra class about 23 years ago at this point And for me, it was just this class I was taking I never thought it was going to lead into this And it really wasn't until we got kind of nice on it– and obviously, we look like this

So you know, we're big, black dudes So no one expects us to play it And that was my favorite part about it is just that I go in a job interview and be like, hey, yeah– they were like, what you studying in college? Oh, I'm a violinist on scholarship You? Really? You're hired I'm like, for real? Because it's almost like if you're a violinist, then you're like a doctor or like an astronaut

It seems like something very hard And it is hard to do But it was really when we started noticing that people would change what they think of what we are that we really felt the power that the instrument had And then that's when it really just was like– we were like, how can we mess people's heads up with the idea that we look like this, we are classically trained, but we can come with it, come and bring something different to it, and change people's perceptions of what we could do, of what a violin could do, or anything, you know? And it makes people think that anything is possible So that was the thing that caught us that made us really stick with us and trying to do something different with it

MYYA JONES: And then what inspired you both to mix hip hop and classical music together? WIL B: I don't know if it was– it was definitely not something we woke up one day and said, man, it would be cool to combine these two genres We were hip hop before we were classical, you know? We're just the product of our environment, you know I mean? We grew up listening to hip hop, reggae, calypso So for us, hip hop is about expressing yourself And we just had these violins So it was natural for us to just do whatever that dancer was doing after he's playing, after she or he was doing ballet, then he starts breakdancing, whatever

That's just what they did As a violinist and as a violist, you're just not taught to do that, you know what I mean? But we're hip hop So we just gravitated to just being able to hear a beat on the radio, and pick up the violin and viola, and just start freestyling on top of it It just was natural for us to do, you know what I mean? So that's kind of how it came about It was nothing that we– I think, for anything– if anything– just, it was– hip hop had a lot to do with it, just because, naturally, if you're in that world, it's just about creativity, man

It's about expressing yourself, you know what I'm saying? And we just did it with this instrument that we knew We didn't think of it as like, man, it's never been done, because no one's– this is before Twitter, Instagram, YouTube Nothing exists, you know What I'm saying? So there's no– we didn't see this happening and then we thought about it It just kind of naturally, organically happened, you know? MYYA JONES: So Kev, you mentioned you love surprising people with, when they see you, you play the violin, right? So what challenges or setbacks did you all have when you first started out? KEV MARCUS: Well, I mean, at first, when you say– we're from Miami So imagine in 2001, and we're like, yeah, my manager goes to these clubs in South Beach, when we're started to figure out, if we put violin to, say, J-Kwon "Tipsy," or like Destiny's Child– because that's what was out back then– or anything Ja Rule was doing– all that kind of stuff, right? So if you put violin to all of that type of stuff, people would just go crazy

And we're like, man, we see this But how can we let everybody know what it is? So we would go to these clubs in South Beach And my manager would be like, yeah, we got two black kids They got violins They're going to kill this

And they would just laugh us out the door They'd be like, violins in South Beach– what you talking about, violin? So we had to show and prove constantly That was the only thing about it is that we knew we had something really special But it's one of those things that even you guys who are in the room, maybe you saw a video or whatever But then when you see it, it's like, oh, OK, I get it

So it's like, we know that if we get in front of you, then we're going to get you So it was all about, how many people can we get in front of to show them this passion and this new thing that we're doing? So we'll be in front of these clubs When they say no, we'll just pop open the trunk, and turn on the radio, and just start vibing And then we just get an audience around us And the promoter come out like, oh, this what you're talking about? Oh, come back tonight at 10:00

We'll see you there And then we just kind of slowly had to prove what this is every single time Especially, like you said, Myspace was just about to come out There was nothing to really blast to the world what we had But we felt in our heart that it was something that we were doing, and it's unique

And so that was probably the hardest part is about convincing people And still, to this day, it's hard to do it I mean, tomorrow night, we're in– WIL B: Dayton KEV MARCUS: –we're in Dayton, Ohio And there's going to be 20%, 30% of the crowd that has never seen us before

They're like, oh, I like violin I like hip hop I'm going to see it And then we have to convince you that this is something that was worth your money every single night, every single time So we're still doing it and still trying to kind of make people understand what we are

So that's always the hard part is, when you do something different, no one knows how to take it or sell it Or where do you even put our albums on iTunes? Where do you– like nothing We can't even quite– when you don't fit in a box, it's harder in some ways But you're unique, so then you create your own path But definitely, coming up, that was the tough part is trying to fit in these people's boxes

MYYA JONES: Anything you want to add to it? WIL B: Yeah, we just decided, break the box down, you know, just do what we do, and just be unapologetically who we are, you know what I mean? It was difficult But 16 years, 17 years later, we're still doing this And we're just going to continue to do it, man It is what it is MYYA JONES: So you said, every day, you had to show, and prove, and just create your own box

So throughout that, the journey as artists, how did you create your sound? What was that like? KEV MARCUS: Like Wil said, it's very organic We grew up listening– where we grew up in high school– and we went to kind of like "Fame," but it was a black "Fame" Everybody there was just from the hood But we all either danced, or it was a visual art, stagecraft, in the choir And a lot of amazing artists have come from our school

We went to Dillary High School of the Arts But Jason Derulo went there, just a bunch of people It was a bunch of singer-songwriters that are behind the scenes that went there So for us, it was always in us, I think We studied classical

We had these classes And the teacher made sure we went But then after class was over, I was listening to "36 Chambers" I was listening to that new Beatnuts or that new Missy I was like, what, she got a garbage bag on her? What's Timbaland doing? I was just always– we was just really ena mored by that

Wil was always playing Brian McKnight on the piano He was always into the soulful stuff And then me, I was always just like– I wanted Missy I just wanted beats I was just into beats

And I wanted to make beats and do everything with beats But we just happened to be studying this instrument at the same time So we are able to put it together in a way where we feel like we don't alienate either side And it's very, very natural Like the song we just played, it is the easiest song in the world for us to play

Because it's just us being us And I don't know So we just really grab onto the authenticity and try to be genuine And we just make what feels good And people seem to gravitate to it

So we don't really even put too much thought into how our sound comes It is us And it's just how we speak when we have these instruments and when we're making beats WIL B: Facts MYYA JONES: And have you had any issues with the industry trying to change your sound at all to fit into different audiences? WIL B: Yes

We had a label situation We were signed to Universal, the classical division of it And at first, this always happens where it's like, they see you, and they love you And they're like, yo, we want to get– we want to sign you and project your music, blah, blah, blah Then you get in a studio, and there's this producer that is trying to produce you in a way that it's not you

And you're just like, OK, I'll try this out, but it ain't really me, bro But then you go along with it Next thing you know, you got an album You're like, I don't even understand what this is Did I sing this? You know what I mean? So a little bit of that happened with that album

We fought a lot to get certain songs on the album that– this is "Stereotypes," by the way That's the album It's still a dope album Go get it But get "Take the Stairs" first, because– you know

But anyway, so it's still a great album We had to fight to get our lot of the stuff that– because literally, we had a session in New York for like two weeks, just banging out songs, right? And we hyped, you know saying I'm saying? We come back home, we listen to the stuff, and we're just like, what is this, you know what I'm saying? So we literally got real upset at it And we went to the studio in Miami and just banged out two songs that we were like, listen, I don't care what you guys do These two records got to be on this album And the first record we did was "Stereotypes," because it's a self-titled album

That was the first track we did back home Because that's who we are It was just– it was really easy for us to do it too It took literally 30 to 45 minutes to put that record up, you know what I'm saying? And it was just very cool And other stuff on there, a lot of it is us, but it's just– it's like this, right– we have a brand, we have a vibe, and we have a sound

And a lot of stuff that I love to listen to isn't necessarily what we are, you know what I mean? And that happens, man, where people try to change you They try to put you in his little box, man And just, it's frustrating Because it's like you know who you are You know what you– you know your value, you know what I mean? And they're just like, but no, do it this way

Because they're going to– no I don't care if people really vibe us Listen, we've been doing this for a while And granted, people love what we do And we're thankful for that

But we're not going to change who we are, man, just to sell records and whatever, you know what I mean? Because at the end of the day, this is bigger than us It's a movement And we come across that And honestly, that's why we're independent, 100% And we've always been independent, except for that one album

But yeah, we come across that And it is what it is, man You got to just know who you are as an artist Because if you don't, you know what I'm saying, you're going to be walking to different situations And that the end of it, you're like, I don't even know who this person is

And that goes for anything Doesn't even matter if it's art It could be anything, man You just gotta know who you are, represent who you are And not be afraid of losing, or not be afraid of not winning

What is that anyway? Winning? So you know, I mean, so it's just a struggle It's a battle, especially dealing with the music industry, because the music industry will– man, you just gotta know who you are Because it could– they'll eat you up And may not spit you out It all depends on what your value is, if they can use you, you know

So we come across that a lot But this is who we are We're going to stick to it, no matter what And this is– how we've always been, you know what mean So know, it is what it is

Don't tell me I can't do What's wrong with you [LAUGHTER] MYYA JONES: Thank you for sharing that So with that, you're on album number three now So how has– four? Sheesh, I missed one

I was listening to them for a whole– so it was 2017 when I seen you all in concert at MSU So how has the transition been from being signed to becoming fully independent and producing these other albums? KEV MARCUS: Well, we started off completely independent at the beginning And then we were, like, you know, independent is cool But we want to depend on somebody for a little bit So we went and signed

And then, like Wil said, you know, the story is kind of– We kind of– it changed us a little Tried to change our art a little bit It's on us too though We allowed it to happen, I guess But we were trying to feel it out and see how this worked

But it's great being back to independent You know, the new album we have out is called Take the Stairs Just came out November 1 And that album is just like, kind of a breath of fresh air after just working with Universal and doing stuff So now we're back to we do what we like, what feels good

And that's it And nobody else can't tell us nothing It's not about, oh, if we put this album out, or put this song out, then it can chart on this chart We don't care We just trying to make dope music

And we want to be 100% true to us And we know this album is that, because now we getting on stage And we have 13 songs on the album And we playing 11 of them on the show And that's what it's supposed to be, compared to other albums in the past

It wasn't like that But we just love it You know, love being independent Obviously we're businessmen too, so we love owning all of our music That's always great

So if anybody ever wants to use it, they got to come to Wil and I, and we have to say yes And we get the check, and all of that But then at the same time, there's nobody to depend on when you need a little bit of money to go to Europe to build the buzz or whatever But we'll take it Man, we'd rather be independent and do our own thing and let the chips fall where they may, you know

MYYA JONES: And then for those who haven't listened to any of the albums, like, what's different from Take the Stairs and the other three? WIL B: Growth You know, saying like as artists, as people, as men I think we poured a lot of our experiences to this album, which we have in the past but not to this level And also, another difference is the records, the songs on there is just kind of like different, in a sense that they can live in a lot of different places Like I could see a lot of these records being on the radio

Because we never really did that before We literally just kind of– and we didn't necessarily focus on that for this album It just happened to be, like, man, we've got some records that can really like do some really– that can really hit on Billboard Not necessarily caring about that, but that's a difference And like I said, as men, we grew a lot

And we both– between us got six kids That's a lot of kids There's two of us, so– he got three, I got three But, yeah, so we grew as men, as artists And I think this album really shows that

You know what I mean And as artists, all you can do is just grow and just project your growth and who you are into your art And that's what this album does For me as a vocalist, and playing a viola, I've grown quite a bit And I had to really stretch myself out as a vocalist

I'm a vocalist now, I guess, because I'm such a violist at heart So I had to come to terms of this whole vocal part of it, which I've always had But you know what I'm saying, when I lost my voice real bad eight months ago, I was just like, OK, I got to really take lessons and stuff Goodness [LAUGHTER] So, yeah, so it's definitely a growth man

We've grown quite a bit, MAN, as artists, as people And it's all over this album And it's a beautiful album I mean, there's songs on there I think that can really– this album is really meant for people that– because when we first started working on this record, we took the word hope, and we put it on the board And we wanted to kind of like portray this idea of hope in a way that wasn't necessarily preaching, right? It was just like, we want this song to really be something that you can go to and feel like you can just run through this wall and do anything, you know what I'm saying? And that's what this album is about

And it definitely did that We had to pull stuff out of ourselves because– being an artist, sometimes, it can be a bit– you know, you want to kind of be in your own little world Because it's like, you know, you put yourself out there It's kind of like, just think about you guys coming up on stage and telling people about your lives and your experiences, right? It can be kind of nerve wracking, right? You know what I'm saying And as artists, that's kind of what that is

And that's what that album is A lot of it is just us really, just– there's this one song, One Step to the Future When I perform that particular song, I think about the struggles Just all the things that I've gone through in the last couple of years And I just want to break something, you know

But in a good way Not like, you know, damage Just like, sometimes you just want to vent a little bit And there's records on that album that really does it for you Don't go breaking stuff

But if you want to, it's your stuff Go ahead, break it But yeah– MYYA JONES: Really quickly, what are your favorite tracks? If you had to pick one KEV MARCUS: That's like asking which one of my children is my favorite You know, the "One Step" is definitely a great song

There's a really powerful video coming for it It's tackling a bunch of stuff Where we're tackling police brutality We're tackling, you know, school shootings And we also talk about immigration

All in one video, but the song is super hopeful But the video, honestly, kind of displays sort of like maybe a more realistic, you know, view of it Just kind of, where is the hope in some of this stuff? So "One Step" is definitely a song that stands out to me There's a song we have called Serenade We'd love to try to play it for you, but it's hard to do it without the full band, so can't play it

But Serenade is– it's Dvorak "Serenade for Strings" So it was written, probably, I don't know, about 170 years ago And we took it, and we took a really classical version of it And so it feels like someone's conducting it It'll feel like, you know, New York Philharmonic's playing it

Except there's a trap beat underneath it the whole time, but it can actually live in a classical setting because of the way it moves and flows And to me, it's one of my favorite songs we've ever done It just– I feel like we should have been doing this a long time ago We've always tried to take classical and perform it and make it hip hop So we'll make it just stick to the beat, and we'll just chop it and make it live in it

This time we put the beat, and we let the beat kind flow with the music, however it was going And it's like, oh, we should have been doing this So it's the only thing, but that song stands out to me And then you want to throw in another one that you think? WIL B: Yeah, that's definitely up there, man I mean, when we first– when I heard that final mix, I listened to that song like 100 times straight

It's just amazing There's another song that's dope They're all dope, by the way A Way Home There's a song called A Way Home

MYYA JONES: Yeah It belongs on a Disney Pixar movie WIL B: Yeah, it does KEV MARCUS: It sounds like the end of Black Panther 2 WIL B: Right, right

KEV MARCUS: I'm just saying Make it happen WIL B: It's one of those songs, man, that I feel can connect with anybody and everybody It's like such a global song, man And it just really– it resonates to me

And just drowns– everything about is, man, this is a beautiful song Go check it out A Way Home That's my favorite on the album Yeah, that's my favorite

Yeah [LAUGHTER] MYYA JONES: And then right before we go to Q&A, could you all just tell us a little bit about the foundation? KEV MARCUS: Awesome, yes I'm glad you asked that We just started a foundation So basically, we play hundreds of shows a year

Yesterday was, I think, 114 or 15 for the year And there's still a bunch of cities coming So we live on stage truly And when we perform, we normally either play a kid's show in the morning Like tomorrow we're in, where are we? Dayton, Ohio

And then we have a kids show at 10:00 am So we load in, play a full show for them And it's like we mix like Cardi B and Mozart together We do all kinds of stuff to get a group full of, like, assembly kids at a big theater just going

And it's a light show, all that type of stuff, right? So we like to perform for kids That's one thing Then in the middle of the day, we're going to have a youth orchestra come And we're going to work with them and do a workshop with them on our stage And then we're going to teach them a song, and they're going to end the show that night with us too

So in a day, we've performed for 2,000 kids And then we've also worked with 20 kids or so, shrink players, hands on Then they get to perform a show with us So that's one way that we work with kids The second way is we are part of the Turnaround Arts

It's a Kennedy Center kind of endowed charity And there's a bunch of people, like Usher is one There's a bunch– Misty Copeland Yo-yo Ma Just all kinds of crazy actors

So everyone that's a turnaround artist gets awarded a school And then that's our school So we go there a bunch of times a year And our school happens to be in South Florida So we get to– we live in South Florida

So we get to go over there all the time Get to build with the kids We know them by name, everything And not only are we working in a school to make sure that arts education is first and foremost But we also go to, like, meetings with the superintendent when they trying to cut money

We also, like, there's just more of a– it's not just like artists at a school It's deeper than that, because of the Turnaround Art So we're part of that And we actually have the opportunity to bring our young kids to the Kennedy Center to open up the Reach, which is this new building at the Kennedy Center So we flew 2 of our kids from our school up there

It was crazy So That's a second way we do it And then a third way is the Black Violin Foundation, which is really trying to connect dots between them all So when we meet these kids– like there was a kid yesterday in Columbus, that one of the ladies was telling me about And she's was like, this brother is so talented

And I hear him He needs a nicer violin though, because he's about to go to college And he needs to figure out which– where's he'd going to audition, or whatever And we're like, boom That's where Black Violin Foundation comes in

We can help, you know, maybe get him a grant for something Or we know this violin maker that can lend him one for five years Whatever And then we come in, and we try to connect those dots And you know– because there was a lot of things

Like we worked hard and all of that, but there were a couple of little things at high school that made us get to a place where we can even consider this And for one, like Wil didn't have a viola, and our teacher bought him a viola I remember It was like yesterday And in this world, you need a nice instrument like to sound like anything, you know

And then also, we was broke So we didn't have no private lessons or nothing And we had never had private lessons the whole time we were playing But when you're trying to audition for college, you got to get certain things right So got private lessons

And he made that happen, or whatever So it was like, those couple of things that allowed us to get the full scholarship that allowed us to figure this out, you know? And we want to be able to continue to do that with our foundation and be able to help kids, help connect the dots with these kids And so we're looking for anybody that's from 12 to 20 that wants to apply, go to BlackViolinFoundationorg And we're hoping to give out 25 to 30 grants next year for whatever

You know, whether you need a computer to make some beats Whether you're a painter, and you need canvases You ain't got no money for it Whatever– whatever it is that you need, we're trying to be able to be kind of a place that you can connect some dots and make some things happen [APPLAUSE] MYYA JONES: So with that, actually, the reason why we were able to bring them here is because Wil's wife is my mentor

So we onboarded the Black Violin foundation in to Go Give, so you all can go on there, donate to the foundation She's going to be coming in February for a program we're going to do with a bunch of nonprofits So Black Violin Foundation is going to be there So now we're going to move into a few questions before they go and perform AUDIENCE: Thank you so much for being here today

Really inspiring to hear music So my question here is, you've had opportunities to– I've done a little research You've had opportunities to play at inaugural balls, play a Billboard Music Awards and things like that Play alongside Alicia Keys I'm wondering, how do you stay grounded as you continue to have all of these successes and achievements? What keeps you connected to where you come from? WIL B: The stairs

We took the stairs That's literally what it is Because you know, we've been offered so many opportunities to play on America's Got Talent, right? And I mean, they've been calling us for years and years And they haven't called us in five years, you know Good

KEV MARCUS: They actually called last month [INTERPOSING VOICES] They still call WIL B: Because to me, that show doesn't represent us You feel me, doesn't like, that's not a show that we do We did Apollo, right? Apollo is a legendary stage

You know, Michael Jackson performed on that stage You know, legends James Brown So we did that back in 2005 We won

That's cool But that show just didn't represent us We felt like that's kind of like trying to take the elevator, you know what I mean? And we want to be able to control what we do and control our likeness, and everything So we took that journey, man We're still taking that journey, man

And that's what keeps us grounded, man Like when you climb up that 17 flight of stairs, and you get up top, man, you like, oh, my knees, my leg, my thighs You feel it, right? By the end of the day, you're stronger You can appreciate all those stairs that got you to that level And then, can't nobody tell you nothing

And it's hard not to be grounded after that You feel me? And that's why this album was called Take the Stairs And that's literally what it is, man That's what keeps us grounded That's why, to me, if I'm talking to you guys, I mean, it is– I'm going to talk to you guys

But this is Wil Baptise here talking I'm not trying to be like anybody I'm not going to wake up in the morning, and try to put a face on This is me I may pronounce things wrong

I do not care Like, you know what I'm saying? I think, ultimately, man, for you to be free in this world, bro, you got to just be you, and just don't care Because think about it You sitting around, thinking about what other people thinking Like that's just– that's a lot of weight on your shoulders

Just stressful Man, I don't like that I don't like that kind of stress And for me, that's how we were able to get to this level, man Because, yeah, we came a lot– there's a lot of challenges

People say stuff to us Listen, we don't know about– we don't know if this music– if it's going to work I don't know It's– we– Whatever We're going to do it

It is what it is You know what I'm saying? We're going to make it happen And that's just what– we took that attitude And we still taking that attitude And it's kept us grounded, kept it moving

Kept us, give us strength, and made us stronger KEV MARCUS: Yeah, and if nothing– let me go back to your where you said– because we played Billboard Awards with Alicia in 2004 And that was like the first time we had ever met anybody like that, or performed for anyone or anything like that And I remember, as far as keeping us grounded, Alicia was really key in that Because that was the first person we ever met that was, like, at that level

And she had just had– you know, had won 10 Grammys or something She was at that level at that point And we were playing on the tour Karma, with that wicked violin lick in it And I remember when she met us and when we met her, and she was like, she just looked at us, and she was so humble It was, like, really– i took me aback, like, how humble she was

She was just like, hey, nice to meet you And the way she asked, like how are we doing? How was everything? She saw us on Apollo La, la, la And I was like, man, she really is so humble And I'll never forget it

Every time I see her, I tell her about it, because it kind of taught us humility and how to be And We've worked with a lot of other artists too since then But it was great to have Alicia first And the other thing about staying grounded is that I remember how amazing that was We played Billboard Awards, and that was the first time we did anything like that, like Beyonce was like right there

We like, What? This is crazy First time ever doing anything like that And then we finished a show My mom was calling me I just saw you on TV

Like, I literally just got off the stage She was like, you know And then I was like, man, we met Quincy Jones All this stuff happened And it was like, man, we was on a high

And then we went home to the house, and the lights was off And it was like, right back to reality Like you know, I mean, we ain't– we think we got it But we ain't nothing We still got to pay these bills

WIL B: Got to keep it grounded, man KEV MARCUS: Got to pay these bills So, yeah, so I think that's how we stay grounded, is because, it took us a long time to get to this level So we appreciate every part of it And even if tomorrow Black Violin is a household name, I think we're really equipped to handle whatever comes with it

Because we've been doing this for a long time, but that was an awesome question AUDIENCE: I'm not sure if this is OK or not to ask musicians But what does it look like when you want to create a new song? You know, what's that process? How do you get inspired in starting something? WIL B: Yeah, it happens so many different ways, man And we worked a lot different producers Sometimes they'll bring just music

And they'll play a beat And there's a beat we connect with, we're like, oh, that's hot We literally will hop in a booth and just boom, the song is done You know, sometimes it happens that way And sometimes we start out with the violin, like, for instance, like virtuoso is a song on our second album

And it started out with this like that he's always playing And I was just– and we're just, like, just play that lick, or whatever Then it just started from there I mean, so it all depends We try not to limit ourselves when it comes to being creative, man

However it flows, whatever the feeling goes, we go with it You know what I mean? Like Serenade, for instance You know that Dvorak song or whatever He's always talking about that song We played it one time in the studio with Salaam Remi And he played it, and we're listening to it

And I'm just, like, man, that sound dope [INAUDIBLE] And we get in the studio the next day, and I pull up out my NPC, and I started playing a beat to it, you know what I mean? And next thing you know, that song happened So it all depends on how it happens And sometimes we get a song, like a full song, from a writer producer, and we love the song But we have to make it us, right? We got to make it fit us

We got to put the violins, we've got to change certain lyrics One Step was one of those songs We loved the song, but we really had to make it ours You know, we put the piano in the middle of it We just really had to make it us, you know what I mean? So it all depends

But at the end of the day, if the feeling– if the feeling and the vibe is what drives it And if it goes whatever direction, we follow KEV MARCUS: Yeah, I mean ultimately, we trying to create an emotional response of some sort from everybody when you finish listening to the song You know, so one thing that I've learned lately, where before I felt like we were– we used to try to make songs And sometimes they'll come from thin air Now I try to, like, I try to like focus it more

Like almost as if you're a stylist And you're about to style somebody, and you give them a style board And they be like, OK, well, these are certain things You know, maybe we going to do layers We're going to do this, that and that

Because otherwise, we're at a point creatively where we could play anything on the violin Like we really could just anything at all So sometimes we try to focus it, so it's like, you know, have playlist Thank God for Shazam Shazam is like, I can find things

And I'm like, oh, I like this progression Or I like the tempo of this And then we come up with something else, based on that But now it's– I find that it's easier for me to come up with things when I'm inspired by something, compared to just like, I'm going to sit down and make a song, you know what I mean? I'd rather have a few things on the board, and be like, all right, these are the things I'm focusing on when creating this at this moment And to me, it makes it easier, as any creative individual, to kind of come up with something when you're like, you almost have, like, a style board, so to speak

MYYA JONES: Thank you for your questions Before you all play, anything you want to add before we end? KEV MARCUS: Well, first of all, thank you guys for this opportunity This is absolutely dope, just be able to come over here, you know, on a day off, and be able to rock with you guys This is amazing to be able to do it You know, the reason why we're here is the foundation

So you know, definitely go, BlackViolinFoundationorg We're looking for applicants You know, sponsors, donors, volunteers Everybody, anyone that wants to help out with this mission

And then of course, this amazing album, Take the Stairs that– it really feels about like hope And it's– we're going to play you like three songs from the album right now, just to kind of give you guys a vibe of where we're going for But it's about hope And it's the kind of album that, if I ask you what kind of music do you listen to, you say, I listen to everything Well, perfect

Because this album is everything It's just like funk, you know, jazz, R&B, hip hop, rock It's got elements of all of it But they all connect and they speak to each other, even though it's multi-genre, I guess So "Take the Stairs" is out now

Go get it, and support Black Violin Foundation network WIL B: True, true [APPLAUSE] MYYA JONES: Thank you KEV MARCUS: All right MYYA JONES: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, please welcome, Black Violin [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 2: Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to think about your dreams– WIL B: Next song is called "Dreamer

" SPEAKER 2: Because I'm in a room full of dreams Think about your dream right now I want you to think about it WIL B: Put your hands together like this Come on

[SINGING "DREAMER"] SPEAKER 2: See, some times we can't say, I can do that WIL B: Do we have any dreamers in the building? If you're a dreamer, make some noise That's right I got big dreams SPEAKER 2: That dream that you're holding in your mind, that it's possible

Let's say that together– can we say, it's possible WIL B: [SINGING "DREAMER"] [APPLAUSE] I need everybody to stand up for this last song, if you don't mind It's the last one [MUSIC PLAYING] That was awkward, but I get you I want you all to clap your hands like this, come one

[CLAP HANDS] Come on, guys We see you guys in the back, come on [SINGING "WE CAN DO ANYTHING"] Thank you guys so much for being here Appreciate the love Once again, we are Black Violin

Thank you to Google Thank you, Maya Take the stairs, baby SPEAKER 3: Black Violin WIL B: Thank you guys so much for being here

Thank you, Google, Maya Thank you for making this all happen We love you all, we appreciate it [APPLAUSE]

Source: Youtube

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