Marques Houston: All The Right Moves

Actors turned singers. singers turned actors. child stars turning childhood success into adulthood success - three things that few people are able to successfully pull off, let alone accomplish all of them within a lifetime. While it took him some time to shake the image of Immature’s Batman and Sister Sister’s Roger between his solo albums and acting appearances, Marques Houston has been able to break the curse that many child stars face.

He enjoyed box office success in 2004 with the hit street dance film You Got Served, and showed the world a completely different side of his personality with his sophomore LP, Naked. Now Marques is preparing for the release of his third solo album, Veteran, in November. We recently spoke with him about his longevity, and the next moves in an already amazing career. Alternatives: You started out pretty young. How does it feel to have grown up in the industry?

Marques: At first it was a little frustrating for me, because being such a young commodity, people get that image stuck in their head and they don't want to let it go. Like Roger, or Batman from Immature, or something like that - they start thinking that I'm younger than I am. At first it was like, “Man, I just wish I could have just came into the industry as a grown man.” But you know you do things and you keep reinventing yourself to change the minds of people out there. That's why I came out with my last album Naked, because I wanted everyone to see that I was an adult now, and I think it worked pretty good.

AHHA: What came first: the acting or the music?

Marques: They both came at the same time. Like when I first met Chris Stokes, I was like eight-years-old in a talent show and he put me in a group. And then right after that, when I had turned nine, he introduced me to my first casting agent, Eileene Knightley and I got the role in Bebe’s Kids - it was a cartoon about these little bad kids. That was my first acting job. And then from there, when I was 12 I did Sister, Sister, so I've been doing the acting and singing simultaneously since I started.

AHHA: Have you had any trouble shaking the image of Roger, the character you played on Sister, Sister?

Marques: All I can say about that, was I was 11 or 12 when I did Roger. It’s hard to be cool when your 12. [laughs] I'm 25 now, and its part of my past. I’ll leave it at that. I think the “Naked” video and album kind of helped get that image out of women's head about Roger.

AHHA: A lot of artists haven't been able to maintain long-lasting, strong relationships with their management, but you and Chris Stokes have been able to really maintain this creative relationship. How does that work out?

Marques: I think because, for one, a lot of times folks feel like their management may not work for them. Chris Stokes is an honest business man, and that's the kind of thing you want in the business. He's been like an older brother to me, he's like my mentor as well. He's taught me everything I know about the business, we're now partners in TUG, we both own the company together. It's a partnership and a friendship more than anything. He taught me a lot, and always wanted me to be a businessman and be smart in my business, so that one day I could run a company with him. It was always a goal of ours to get to certain point and keep fighting for that point. If you’re fighting to reach the same goal and nobody has crooked intentions on both ends, then you’re straight.

AHHA: What’s the difference between Veteran and Naked?

Marques: Well, Naked was more of a concept album. The concept was to show my sexual side, show my sensual side, show my adult side. But this one we didn't, because that one was kind of tailor-made - the songs were like concept songs, anybody could have done that record. But the songs on my new album… not just anybody could have done, because they're all personal - my thoughts and my emotions, my situations.

AHHA: Is there a personal sound you're trying to achieve with this album?

Marques: I think the sound and the texture of my voice has changed a lot. It’s not a set standard sound, like a neo-soul or jazzy, Just regular R&B. I'm trying to bring R&B to where it needs to be. A lot of us are trying to bring R&B back and have our place in this thing we call our industry. It's a mixture of everything.

AHHA: What is the first single?

Marques: It’s called “Favorite Girl.” I got the beautiful Stacey Dash in my video. I know a lot of men are hating me right there for that one. But the video is out and the single is out.

AHHA: Do you have a favorite song on this album?

Marques: Yeah, it's called “Circle.” It's the most personal song to me. The situation of the song is about a relationship between a guy and a girl, not necessarily a boyfriend/girlfriend but just a guy and a girl, it could be a friendship, relationship, whatever this special person is to you, it's a special relationship. You try to get rid of the relationship; you try to shake it, because maybe it didn't work out the way you planned. You keep trying to shake, the more you keep trying to shake it you find something that reminds you of that person. In the song it says, “I got to the stop light, and then I made four rights, and now I'm back where I started and your back in my life.” So whatever you do, that person keeps coming back in your life full circle.

AHHA: You have an upcoming movie with Omarion. What is it about?

Marques: It’s suspenseful, real thrillerish, very… like real gory. It’s one of the movies where when you see what’s happening, you put yourself in that position and it makes you cringe. It was supposed to be [released in] October, but now they're looking at January

AHHA: You Got Served was your first movie working with Omarion and Chris Stokes. Were you guys at all surprised with the success of that movie?

Marques: Very, because we didn't expect it, and everybody else counted us out. We were the underdogs. We opened at Number One on Superbowl Weekend. It was a historical point in all of our careers, because nobody expected that to happen.

AHHA: Since you've already had so much success in the entertainment industry, in different corners of the market, is there anything else that you want to pursue?

Marques: As far as right now, I feel like there's so much to accomplish with my music and acting - that's what I'm really focusing on. I got to win a Grammy first.