Marcus Paul James
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Marcus Paul James

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF | AFTRA

New York City, New York, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo R&B Singer/Songwriter




"Celeb-worthy “RENT” Artist Launches New Single"

Let’s get together and pat Marcus Paul James on the back. You may recognize this gorgeous mug from “Rent” or “In the Heights”, and that’s cool and all, but today, we want you to set your eyes on his voice. He’s headed toward new goals and we’re so proud of him for his ambition. Droppin’ a new single called “Love Letter” (just in time for Valentines Day NEXT GEN lovebirds), Marcus would like you to get in on the vibes.

His new sound brings back “REAL” melody. You know the kind that’s been sorta lost in the music we hear today. And today you hear it FIRST in NEXT GEN. He’s supplying a soulful voice that’s reminiscent of both Luther Vandross and John Legend (oooh dreamy), with music echoing from the BEST in R&B/Soul and Pop.

This poetic, poignant musician will hit your emotions in every which way you want him to.

Learn more about this hottie at

Hit up “Love Letter” NOW at our fave, CD Baby. - Next Gen Insider

"Breakout Magazine"

Marcus Paul James comes to Breakout Magazine from our listing at Out of the plethera of music received, Marcus' music was able to break the barrier and rise to the top of the music heap. Upon listening to Marcus sing, you'll notice that he's a bit fresh and old school at the same time. Evoking memories of my favorite singer Luther Vandross, Marcus' soulful delivery and style is one that I wish would return in droves to the music scene. I called Marcus, who was braving out the sub freezing weather of the East Coast, from the comfort of my 80 degree weather home in Southern California (LOL Marcus, don't hate!)

When did you first discover your talent:
I don't know if I discovered it as much as I just realized that it was something. I've always sang, I grew up in church, my family started the church. I went to boarding school in PA, cause it was safer. That's where I got into learning about music and everything was just what felt good.

Who were you're early influences?
My dad was a DJ, so when he left , my mother got all of his albums. So I grew up with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and a lot of females, a lot of Aretha, a lot of Whitney, which is why I can't do something and not feel it.

Do you write your own music?
Yes, "Love letter" is original. I have a new CD coming out next month and it's all me.


What is it that you like to write about? What is it that you think about as far as writing?
I think about the interesting parts of life... we all feel mad and sad, that's all common, but I'm always interested in how we get there and what we do at the exact moment it hits. That's interesting to me. Things we don't talk about, like the awkward moments where we are caught in between. What is the obvious? and then what is just right of the obvious? That's what I think about.

Yea, I understand that, I think I have the same approach to writing, along the lines of songs that are more of a relatable subject. Not just words that are generic fluff, but words that when people hear, they think the song is talking to them. To me that's what creates classics, they may not necessarily be hits but they are songs that will stand the test of time.

Yea, I understand how an album flow goes and what you need. One of the reason I miss albums is because of the B side stuff. There are some people who throw those away and there are some people who put thought and creativity into them, they may not be the hit but it still means something and those are always important to find. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

You also do Broadway? Who'd you play in Rent? I'm thinking Benny.
I actually played them all. I started off as Tom Collins on the road, then they moved me to Broadway and I was the Christmas caroler, the one who sings the Seasons of Love solo, and I understudied Benny and Tom Collins then eventually took over for them every now and then.

How were you able to separate the different styles of singing for Broadway and R&B?
I think it's really funny, it wasn't till I started doing background gigs for real artists that I realized there was a difference. To me, music is music and I wasn't doing My Fair lady, I was doing Rent, so I didn't have to pretend to do anything. My sound will never be a legit broadway sound, I wasn't born that way.

What can someone expect from a live performance?
It's such a good time, cause I don't like quietness. I want you to come in and have a good time. I try to run the gambit, I try to surprise you. I want an experience. When I watch a show, I want to just sit back and be taken care of. So that's what I think about when I plan my shows.

What's your favorite cover to sing?
I got a new one. I do a mash-up of Apologize by One Republic and Grenade by Bruno Mars. It works really well, the audience really likes it.

I'm curious to hear that, sounds like a good mix.

What do you want people to a take away from listening to your music?
I think the overall theme of my writing is that there is no real answer, no right or wrong way to feel, no goals, no red tape to run through. I have a song that's called "Practical Magic" that I end my shows with. It ends with everything we're going through, everything we understand, somethings don't work out but we want them to, this is what I wish for, but you know what, ultimately we got to let it go and live. So if people were to walk away from my show thinking what did they learn, I would hope it would be that.

Are you seeking a label deal or are you trying to stay independent?
I'm trying to stay independent for as long as I can, till it becomes overwhelming. I've been on Broadway for like 7 1/2 years, but as many of my broadway musicians understand, it's almost impossible to do music AND Broadway at the same time because it requires so much of you. I just ended "In the Heights" 3 weeks ago and I didn't take another gig. I take this as my moment to switch sides and do more music.

Who do you want to work with? Who are your dream artists and producers?
I would love to do a song with Brandy and Rodney Jerkins.

What is it about Brandy that you love?
I love the way they work together with their vocal parts and their writing. It's just so Polyphonic and I love it. It's so thought out and everything is on purpose.

What is your opinion on the current state of the music industry?
I feel like it's in flux.

Be sure to check out Marcus Paul James newest CD which will be out next month. For further information on where you can catch Marcus live please visit his website at - Delious Kennedy

"New Single: “Romancipation Day” By: Marcus Paul James"

Check out the pipes on this guy! Marcus Paul James has a voice that fellow vocalists (like myself) envy, I mean for real; he would be a tough act to follow. If you feel you may have heard his mesmerizing voice before, it’s a good possibility. MPJ has done a variety of song features and even some Broadway work. His newest single “Romancipation Day” as heard below is sure to stick with you throughout your day, so when you wonder about that “spring in your step”; you can thank MPJ. - Rob Smattix

"Fr.U.N.T. Music Interviews: Marcus Paul James -“Meet The Man Behind The Voice”"

Rob Smittix: So when I first introduced myself to you, I said “nice to meet the man behind the voice” and you said “please, the pleasure is mine”. I do appreciate your modesty but I wonder, do you realize that you have an exceptionally amazing voice?

Marcus Paul James: HAHAH… Well all I know is no one has told me to shut up yet. So I guess I’m doing something right lol.

Speaking of amazing voices, have you ever considered trying out for a show like The Voice? And how do you feel about shows like this, that put talented singers up against each other in a competition?

No, I have not considered trying out for the voice, it’s too weird. Though I have had a few friends on the show. Everyone is sooooo good that really you’re waiting for someone to mess up more so than do something amazing. Plus, they are worn out, rehearsed out, sung out, and then have to do the live show. It just sounds like a setup, and it makes me nervous knowing the journey. I do like the singing competition shows though, but less for the competition and more for the exposure of different voices to the public. It is a good alternative to the studio-sponsored-generic pop music that is out there. I imagine 8 out of 10 music stars would never make it through one competition, they are so amazingly hard.

So how did it all begin? When and where was it that you started singing and what made you decide to pursue a career in the music business?

I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I grew up singing in my church choir in Brooklyn, both the children choir and the adult choir. It wasn’t until high school when it was time for colleges did I ever really think about music as a career. It was always so second nature to me. College is where I really settled into the fact that singing and performing was all I ever really want to do, and if someone will pay me to do it…even better.

I feel that the most cliché interview question that can ever be asked of a musician is “what are your influences?” So rather than asking the same ol’ question, I am curious to know about artists that may have inspired you that people may be surprised to learn about.

It’s funny you ask that cause I am a lover of music and always have been, and my love has never been subject to race, style, language or anything. Some of my surprise influences are Bjork, Gladys Knight, Sarah Bareilles. And of course, I am influenced by classic music theater as well, back when Frank Sinatra and Ella would sing show tunes.

I pride myself in doing my homework on artists before I do an interview and with you I came across some interesting tidbits. I understand that you’ve done some work on Broadway, I also saw that you dance and act, care to elaborate?

Ha Yes, I have worked on Broadway for over 10 years in shows like Tony and Pulitzer prize winner “RENT”, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony award-winning “In The Heights”, Berry Gordy’s “Motown: the Musical” and more. I do a fair bit of sing/dancing/acting, was most recently a small feature in the movie “Collateral Beauty” with Will Smith and Hellen Mirren. I love it, it makes me crazy and keeps me sane lol. I love performing which is why I guess sometimes my writing is so full of feeling, I’m not really shy in that department.

So what’s next for you? What do you wish to accomplish in this lifetime while you still have the chance?

More Music!! I’m really excited to share the EP and also some more little nuggets coming out later this year, Including some holiday stuff. Believe it or not, I would love to just have a massive concert with all of my talented friends and artists. The old concerts like Motown 25 and such were so cool to watch. It reminds us that we may be all individual talents but are in one community that has been forged through time. I would also love to have a sit-down show in Vegas, my mom lives there and I could be near her for a while.

Very cool , well It certainly was a pleasure having this conversation with you today, please promise to keep us updated anytime you put out new music! Thanks again.

Will DO thank you. – MPJ - Rob Smattix

"Marcus Paul James Delivers with “Living in Dreams”"

Rhythm and Blues listeners rejoice! You have a new single that delivers a strong entry into the genre in Marcus Paul James’ “Living in Dreams”. The single is from his EP Paper Hearts and if the rest of the EP is like this single it will be a beautiful addition to your music collections. Marcus has that powerful lower range voice that resonates through the whole single. The instrumentals with the single lend a heaviness to the single that takes the listener on a complete journey. Take some time and enjoy Marcus Paul James’ “Living in Dreams” through SoundCloud – Richard: - Richard Brookman

"PREMIERE | Marcus Paul James smolders with new song "Paper Hearts""

"Find a new way, love a new way, live a new way," advises the singer-songwriter.

When Marcus Paul James opens his mouth, he'll be damn sure to make you feel something. On his new single "Paper Hearts," he caresses the lyrics, slowing building it up piece-by-piece--it simmers before he let's it boil completely. The precision of his phrasing and the delicate dance he does with the organ-laden arrangement, due in large part to his upbringing in the church, are artful and exhilarating. "I want more than a minute, more than right now, more like years, less like hours," he surmises on the hook, which opens the flood gates to his clear Luther Vandross and Sam Cooke influences. His voice, for lack of a better word, sparkles underneath the glowing, starry-eyed production. "I feel like we are always in a constant state of figuring life out," James tells Popdust about the song, premiering exclusively today.

"I've been burned, left, saved, walked out on, walked in on, and went through many things that would make one want to give up hope," he continues, rather candid in his speech, "but I haven't. Find a new way, love a new way, live a new way. Anything that will elicit a different outcome from what we have seen and experienced. This tune is about passion."

There are reasons why he has mastered his art so adeptly. His experience includes performance roles in such Broadway shows as Motown the Musical, Rent and In the Heights and the live TV event, The Wiz Live!. There is an obvious theatricality to his approach, but that is also entrenched in the fibers of soul and gospel music, tapping into that heightened sense of reality for the cold, hard truth about pain, love and loss. "Paper hearts always get burned," he opens and closes the song, a profound declaration about the scars he wears proudly on his skin. "Hope and miles never seem to learn," he later admits. "The closed ones never get hurt. How can you and me pretend to be the master key when love controls the door? We've got to be more."

Marcus Paul James

As the vibrating organ kicks in on the bridge, James aims for the stratosphere and knocks it out of the park. His voice becomes raw and earthy, seemingly detaching from his bodily form and soaring among the angels above. As they say, he takes the listener to church and gives them an essential sermon on his truth: through the struggles and heartache, he has learned who he truly is.

"Paper Hearts" follows his debut EP, 2009's Electrik Love, and the full-length follow-up, Meant to Be (in 2012). He has also issued a sequence of singles over the past few years; those include: "Living in Dreams" and "Romancipation Day."

In an interview with For Us Not Them, he explained how his entire career began, really. "I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I grew up singing in my church choir in Brooklyn, both the children choir and the adult choir. It wasn't until high school when it was time for colleges did I ever really think about music as a career," he said. "It was always so second nature to me. College is where I really settled into the fact that singing and performing was all I ever really want to do, and if someone will pay me to do it…even better."

He added, "I am a lover of music and always have been, and my love has never been subject to race, style, language or anything. Some of my surprise influences are Bjork, Gladys Knight, Sarah Bareilles. And of course, I am influenced by classic music theater as well, back when Frank Sinatra and Ella would sing show tunes."

James is expected to release a new EP later this year. Details are forthcoming. - Jason Scott

"Marcus Paul James Prepares To Wow With The Release Of His New EP, “Paper Hearts”!"

Broadway Star Marcus Paul James wows with his new single “Paper Hearts” in preparation for the release of the full EP on June 16th. The single is an epic melding of personal story, rich production, and of course Marcus’ soul-drenched voice. His overall R&B/pop sound is reminiscent of John Legend, Miguel, and One Republic and is “sure to make you feel something,” according to Popdust. And, let me tell you, it sure does.

The Brooklyn-born DJ’s son has been surrounded by music his entire life: from church organ melodies to the albums of Luther Vandross at home. His interest in writing and recording music started at the young age of 13, and he’s only grown since then.

Nowadays he performs on Broadway stages, starring in Tony Award-winning shows like Rent, In the Heights, Motown: The Musical, and the live TV event The Wiz Live! Regarding his singer-songwriter career, he released the collaborative EP “Electrik Love” in 2009 with talented industry figure and producer Akira Shelton. Just one year later, James held the 1st and 3rd spots on UK Soul charts for five consecutive weeks with singles “Wonderful Love” and “Right Now.”

James’ latest endeavor is, as said, his EP Paper Hearts. Judging solely on the single released last month (which you can—and should—check out through one of the links below), the full album is sure to please. He will be celebrating the album’s release at The Rickey in NYC next week. Look forward to it! - Christina Massuci

"Marcus Paul James delivers a Tony worthy performance with Paper Hearts EP [Premiere]"

A quick glance at Marcus Paul James’ resume will give you a preview of how talented he is. It's hard to deny that when he's appeared in Broadway hits like Rent, In The Heights, and Motown The Musical. But this isn’t a site about Broadway musicals, is it? Sadly, no, it’s not! This is a site about music, and unsurprisingly, MPJ is great at that too.
Enter, the Paper Hearts EP. The seven track project is an airy and lush mix of Soul, R&B, and Pop, borrowing the best of each genre and blending them all into something that is exciting and soothing.

By far the coolest aspect of the EP is the sheer diversity across its seven tracks. The title song, “Paper Hearts” feels like it would be at home on a Broadway Musical, while the song immediately following it, “Going Under” boasts a quicker pace, uses much harder instrumentation and almost sounds like a riff off of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” Ya, bet you didn’t see that comparison coming.
The creativity does not stop there, but far be it from me to ruin the surprise and give everything away. What should be noted, however, is the way MPJ attacks each song. Each track feels well thought out, with layers upon layers that give depth but don't overcrowd any one song. It's an awesome thing to listen to and a great intro into the artist if you haven't checked him out before.
Give Marcus Paul James’ latest project, Paper Hearts EP, a listen above, and be sure to stay locked on EARMILK for all things great music.

Read more at - James Schiff


Paper Hearts - EP - June 2017

Paper Hearts (Single) - May 2017

Romancipation Day (Single) - January 2017

Living in Dreams (single) - August 2015

Starlight - The Possibilities - Akira Shelton 2014

Meant To Be LP - January 2012 release

Fire In the Water  -Chicago Heartly Album, November 2011

We Stay (Bonus) - March 2011 Release

Love Letter (Single) - January 2011 Release

Electrik Love EP - 2009

(*Available on Cdbaby, Itunes, Amazon and emusic)



Brooklyn native Marcus Paul James (MPJ) was born to a Baptist family and Panamanian DJ, raised in the church and singing in the choir loft as soon as he could stand. Yet at home, was surrounded by the timeless voices of Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Teddy P and other R&B greats. Truly shaping his love for R&B, soul, gospel and tender ballads. MPJ has been writing music and creating harmonies since he was a young boy and continued throughout his college years at Penn State University. He ended up writing for and performing with a 6-man acapella group called PRESSURE. Which became popular enough to move the whole group to the NY area to work.

Shortly after leaving the group and landed his first Broadway show, the Tony Award-winning phenomenon “RENT”, he released his first EP “Electrik Love”. A soulful House album created with jazz prodigy and producer Akira Shelton that made a splash in the European electronic market with the title track getting radio plays and charting on the UK electronic charts. In 2010 he released his first full-length album “Meant To Be” under Silver Towers Productions, in which the title track went on to chart on the UK soul charts. From that album “Wonderful Love” and “Right Now” would go to hold 1st and 3rd on those charts for 5 consecutive weeks. 

MPJ’s music shines as the perfect balance of Soul, R&B, and popular music. A true Singer/Songwriter whose lyrics and music take your heart and ears to places few artist do.  He’s recent releases “Living In Dreams” and “Romancipation Day” from his upcoming EP Paper Hearts, is a true testament to his writing prowess.

Band Members