10 AUG

Picture yourself onstage in front of a sold-out arena, performing one of your newest songs alongside some of hip-hop’s best. Now picture yourself doing that all summer long. Amazing, right? That’s exactly what Marc E. Bassy has been doing the past few months. Touring alongside G-Eazy, Logic, YG and Yo Gotti, Bassy has been performing his songs night after night to sold-out crowds from the West Coast to the East. But sold-out performances don’t keep the same question from coming up: “Who is Marc E. Bassy?” Clearly he has talent. And he puts on one heck of a show. But where did he come from? Where is he going? And what makes him so different from any other artist who is out now?

Before Bassy went by Marc E. Bassy, he was in a five-year relationship with his band, 2AM Club, and went by the name Marc Griffin. And before social media created stars, 2AM Club found themselves gaining exposure by playing at open mics and local bars, and posting their music to YouTube. What many would consider to be small strides helped 2AM Club make it as far as getting a deal with RCA. The band had millions YouTube views for their hit single “Worry About You,” a loyal, growing fan base and a bright future ahead of them, but their journey took another route. The band dissolved and RCA dropped them from the label. At the same time, Bassy was breaking up with his longtime girlfriend. It was one hell of a time period in Bassy’s life, but the changes helped him transition into the next chapter. And everything he learned while with 2AM Club gave him the upper hand for what was to come next.

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“I kind of think of my time with 2AM Club as, like, my college. Being around such great musicians, I kind of just picked up how to arrange music, how to play chord progressions and how to record backup vocals.” Those musical skills came in handy later on in Bassy’s career, but not before he found himself writing songs for artists like Chris Brown, Sean Kingston, Wiz Khalifa and more. Writing for music’s top artists was enough for Bassy at the time, but others around him felt as if his voice needed to be heard as well. Slowly, Marc Griffin became Marc E. Bassy.

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The evolution of Marc Griffin to Marc E. Bassy wasn’t difficult for Bassy since he had already gone through the steps of becoming a known artist. This time around, though, it was just him, so he was going to put out the sound that represented exactly who he was. The lack of fear shoved Bassy in a direction that resulted in the release of his singles “Andy Griffith,” “Jazzy” and “Chemical High.” The introduction to Marc E. Bassy was well received, but his 2014 release, Only the Poets, Vol. 1, really showed everyone what Bassy was willing to do for his music.

“When I did Only the Poets, that was like renegade recording. I would be on a session and writing for somebody else, then I'd pay an engineer a hundred bucks to let me stay after the session was done and record my own vocals. So I'd have sessions from all over L.A., different studios, and I'd try to pull them all together.”

“Very ambitious” is how Bassy describes Only the Poets, Vol. 1, and it surely was—but in a positive way. The 10-track project contained features from Kehlani, Iamsu!, NhTChippass and Skizzy Mars, all artists well known now. Bassy saw something in all of them that others hadn’t yet and vice versa. The mutual love brought fans the hit tracks “Lock It Up” and “Relapse.” And it also brought listeners a flow that wasn’t quite appreciated yet: that Bay sound that we all love so much now. Hailing from San Francisco, that Bay sound was always in Bassy, and he made sure to make that apparent on Only the Poets, Vol. 1. The love for his city was something Bassy had in common with artists like G-Eazy, and the mutual admiration brought them together in the studio. The two set their sights on releasing some amazing music, and they dropped the tracks “Friend Zone” and “Show Me” off Bassy’s EP, East Hollywood. And East Hollywood was exactly what was needed to catapult Bassy’s career.

The release of East Hollywood developed a whole new perspective on Bassy’s artistry, and it caught the attention of the Roots’ Questlove. Questlove asked Bassy to perform at the Roots Picnic festival. Soon after, Bassy found himself opening up for Kehlani on her West Coast tour. Not only was the nine-track EP being supported by other artists, but fans couldn’t get enough of it. The EP reached over 1 million plays on SoundCloud. “Some Things Never Change,” “Show Me” and “4AM” could be heard pretty often. But the track “That’s Love”—originally written for Ty Dolla $ign—was the ultimate romance tune.

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“Ty, that's probably one of my favorite singers ever. I was always listening to him, and I learned a lot just from listening to him and his music. Our song together, ‘That's Love,’ I wrote that for him thinking he was going to sing it. When I sang it to him, he's like, ‘You gotta pull this off, man, you should stay on that. I'll just put a verse on there.’”

East Hollywood was everywhere and labels were catching on. Soon after, Marc E. Bassy was officially signed to Republic Records, and the label re-released East Hollywood in December 2015. “They didn't sign me because they wanted to mold me into something; they signed me because of what I already have going on and what my vision for myself is.”

The second introduction to the EP only boosted Bassy’s support, and a month later Bassy was on G-Eazy’s “When It’s Dark Out” tour. The two were performing G-Eazy’s track “Some Kind of Drug” and their past singles, side by side onstage in front of thousands and thousands of fans. But touring, a fresh record deal and a recent EP weren’t really slowing Bassy down. Unlike other artists, Bassy took all these aspects as a reason to work even harder—no vacation. So he began putting together the final touches on his next EP, Groovy People. In between, Bassy caught himself jumping from tour to tour (he was recently on G-Eazy’s Endless Summer tour) and seamlessly building a relationship with his fans like no other. “What makes me most happy is when I get letters from fans telling me that I inspire them to follow their dreams.”

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Bassy is proof that things come back around full circle—that what you put out definitely comes back to you. Completely baring himself on his newest project, Groovy People, Bassy is bringing listeners that much closer to who he is. And Groovy People isn’t the endpoint. Bassy is currently working on his album, which is due to be released at the end of the year. Similar to Groovy People, East Hollywood and all the music that Bassy has put out, he will be wholeheartedly involved in all the production, songwriting and visuals. It’s somewhat of a one-man-band type of deal when it comes to Bassy. But it isn’t unexpected at this point.

“I think people can tell I’ve been doing this for a long time. I slept on everybody's couches, and I just never even thought of anything else. I think people can see that and realize how fulfilled and happy they can be when they just go for theirs. I’ve never been that type of cat that's like, ‘I need a nice this or that.’ I was just always like, ‘As long as I’m doing music every day, everything will work out.”

So now ask yourself: Who the fuck is Marc. E Bassy? You may realize you had the answers all along. This was just a small reminder.

Stream Marc E. Bassy’s EP Groovy People here.

RESPECT. Founder: Jonathan Rheingold

Photographer: Mac Shoop

Senior Editor: Jasmina Cuevas

Photos Copyright MUSINART LLC