SKII: I’m speaking to Marcus Labon a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia. Tell me a little about yourself. What else do you do?
Marcus: Well, I am a singer, songwriter, actor, and a model. I also do Hip Hop. I’m into anything that has to deal with the arts.
SKII: Where were you born and raised?
Marcus: I was born in Detroit. Michigan, but I was raised in Savannah GA for most of my life. I was raised like an Army brat kid. But, neither of my parents were in the military. We’ve also travelled to Baltimore, MD, Ohio, and Atlanta GA.
SKII: What schools have you attended?
Marcus: I have a full scholarship to Morehouse College. Dr. Bill Cosby, presented it to me! My high school was in Delaware. My grandma became very sick. I left school to help my mom with my grandma. While helping my grandmother with my mom, I lucked up and auditioned for American Idol! And, I appeared in season thirteen (which concluded earlier this year).
Currently, I am pursuing my music career in Philadelphia. I’ve been working on new projects. Doing photo shoots. Anything pertaining to getting my career off the ground. I have some projects coming out in June. I’m just waiting for it to drop.
SKII: Before American Idol, tell me some of the venues you performed in?
Marcus: I’m a PK – Preachers Kid. Before American Idol, everything was on a small scale. I’ve performed at churches. Shirley Ceasar’s church. Bishop Paris Mortin’s church. Mainly churches, and small venues.
SKII: How did you get to audition for American Idol?
Marcus: With a close friend of mine, George Lovett, he sings, also. He said, “I think this would be a good thing for us.” He said, “Let’s go. Let’s go!” At first, I didn’t take him seriously. The night we were supposed to leave to go there, I didn’t want to go. He told me to come on. Let’s go. I literally had to get dressed, pack some of my clothes and leave on the road with no money. I mean, we didn’t have gas money! We finally got there and to my surprise, we actually made it through the first round. They’d called me back for another audition. The second audition in front of the other producers. It was a four months process. I made it through! The third audition was with the executive producers. The fourth one was with the celebrity judges where we met Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban. It was season thirteen (last season), that I had participated in. It was so exciting! I’d made it to Hollywood! We participated with lots of music. There was a lot of great people I’d met, while in Hollywood. I had a lot of positive vibes. We wound up going to Philadelphia after the auditions in Hollywood. We didn’t make it. George went back to Georgia to finish up his schooling.
SKII: Great story. So, you’re a preacher’s kid. Who’s the preacher in your family? Mom or dad?
Marcus: My dad is. His name is Pastor Derrick Johnson. They call him Pastor D. My father’s church’s name is Joshua Hardwood It’s located in Wilmington, Delaware. My dad is a really cool guy. He is best friends with Dr. Bill Cosby. So, Dr. Cosby had my dad preaching all over. My dad is a singer. He inspired me to sing, as well. I started singing at three years of age. I sang for many years. I really didn’t take it seriously until I was about fifteen years old, though. I’ve participated at talent shows and other things like that. I grew to love singing in front of a crowd. My mom, Cheryl Labon, is still married to my dad. My mom actually modeled for Dark & Lovely, the hair color company, years ago. That was part of my motivation to start modeling. I modeled for Urban Outfitters for two years. I have three sisters. One of my younger sisters, Is pursuing modeling. I am helping her in setting up photo shoots. My other two sisters, Destiny and Ashley, and my two younger brothers Dwayne and Donovan, and there are two older brothers, too. Their names are, Sean and Demico. There are a lot of us!
SKII: What’s your aspirations in life?
Marcus: My goal is to win a Grammy! My main goal is to pursue music. I started off with modeling and then pursued singing. Everything ties into each other. Music is the forefront of everything. I act as well. Now-a-days, you have to have a lot of talents. I model, sing, and act. I consider myself to be a triple threat. In the industry, you have to do a lot of things. But, my main focus today, is music. I do modeling for magazines on the side. Promoting clothes for different distribution companies, but my main focus as of today, is vocal music. Singing.
SKII: Have you performed at other venues after American Idol?
Marcus: Actually after that season ended, I opened for Jasmine Sullivan. I opened for Kindred Soul, Tiana Taylor, and 112. A lot of great people. The venues I performed at is Warm Daddy’s. I love performing there. They have great food. I love their chicken. Their audience is phenomenal! It’s a great place to perform. Everything else has been like, block parties for the city, the Mayor, etcetera.
SKII: Who inspired you to become a singer?
Marcus: When I was three years old, my grandfather – Jim Lebon, would make me get up in front of the church, and sing. He was a Pastor, as well. I would always sing “Ode the Blood of Jesus”. He would make me sing that every Sunday. That’s where it started. Once I moved with my father, my father instilled some things into me, because he knew me better than I actually knew myself. My father taught me the song, “I Believe I Can Fly”. After, I mastered that song, my father continued to push me into singing other difficult songs. He would allow me to perform in front of the church. From there, I began to grow a deeper love for music, and singing. So, you can send kudos to my Grandfather and my father for pushing me and inspiring me to sing.
SKII: Where do you see yourself in a year from now?
Marcus: I’m going to give you a five year span. I am working on an EP right now. Just to introduce who I am as an artist. After the EP drops, there will be a CD. It’s kind of difficult to say, right now. I have to wait to see how people react to my music. I can say, no matter what, I am not going to give up. So, within those five years, I plan to have many great hits and a major recording label to have picked me up!
SKII: What would you say to someone who is trying to get into the business, like you?
Marcus: I would say, “Follow your heart. Choose the right people to surround yourself with. Choose people who’re going to work with you and support you. When it comes to dealing with managers, producers, record labels, just make sure that they are there for you. Look to see if they really care about you and want to push you further, into the industry. They are there to make the right decisions for you! That is why you have them as your manager, producer, or record label. Make sure they have an insight about the industry. So, keep that person close to you.”
SKII: What would you tell a younger you? I know you’re only twenty-five, but was every step you took, the right step?
Marcus: I’m still young. I don’t know. Every mistake I have made and every experience I’ve been involved with, I must appreciate. That’s what’s gotten me to where I am, right now. I don’t think I would tell a younger me to do anything differently. I think, everything I’ve done, just led me to doing more positive and bigger things. So, I would just have to say, to keep following your dreams and that every step, or misstep will lead you to better things.
SKII: What’s next?
Marcus: I would really like to go the BET Awards Show! It’s coming up soon. So, I’m trying to go out there with some people. That’s my next biggest thing. I am supposed to be opening-up for a female artist. I can’t really reveal her name, but it’s a well known female artist that’s coming to Philadelphia, soon. That’s my next big thing, and there will be more to follow. So, stay tuned!