If you haven’t been living under a rock for these past years, then you most likely came across the online music sensation that is singer-songwriter Q. With the blend of a self-producing composer, a charismatic personality and captivating dancing moves on his latest release ‘LUV (I KNOW I WANT THIS FOR REAL)’, Mr. Q has all of the elements you could possibly think of to potentially become the next international superstar.
Most comparable to the likes of a ‘Nostalgia ULTRA’ version of Frank Ocean and massively-turned popular artist Steve Lacy, the self-produced artist has a unique sound that can hardly be described. Although signed to Columbia records, Q mainly keeps to himself and proves to have no interest in the commercial scape and celebrity gossip. However, where did the young singer actually come from and how can his journey thus far be best explained?
As one could imagine, there’s little information on the face of the internet about Q, due to the use of an unsearchable name (which is his government name) making it even less likely for a google search to do the heavy-lifting for you.
Q Steven Marsden (Or Q in short) is a 24 years old Alternative R&B singer from South Florida. Growing up in Broward County, a place famously known for artists such as the late XXXtentation and Ski Mask the Slump God, Q made his first appearance as a YouTuber sharing artistic visuals of himself vibing upon somebody else’s or his own early takes. At this point and time, none of his previous videos can be found except for one from around 3 years ago titled ‘Your Special’ which gives us a glimpse into his previous choice of expression. Also, it is believed that during this period, he mainly operated under a different mysterious name.
That being said, Q actually derives from a musical background, as his father is Jamaican-born reggae legend Steven "Lenky" Marsden, best known for producing ‘Diwali Riddim’ which was sampled by Rihanna for ‘Pon De Replay’ in 2005. It is safe to say that music has always been around the young star in the making. And through the ability to compose and write 70s & 80s-inspired songs completely by himself, Q has followed his father’s footsteps only to build a name of his own.
Although his recent music has taken the dance floor by storm, Q initially focused on acoustic jams with the simple companion of a guitar and soft-drums. This is evident throughout his two EPs ‘Thoughts’ and ‘Forest Green’ which portray a less experimental side to the Broward County based artist. Q then began really stepping out of his comfort zone with ‘The Shave Experiment’ whilst also changing his physical appearance and personal style to a familiar yet different aesthetic to the younger generation.
Taking an obvious nudge at the 70s and its disco movement, Q is able to keep a modern touch through the content of his lyrics. On many occasions, Mr. Marsden makes mention of being exposed to music such as the king of pop Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire as a child. All of this took a sudden turn when Q was introduced to the 2018 South Florida wave and he chose to embark himself into thoughtless rap onto rock-inspired beats. This stage in music was short-lived as the Broward artist began singing and indulging in the alternative R&B realm. Today, the South Florida self-taught vocalist finds the courage to be himself and proudly share his musical universe with the world.
One of Q’s defining characteristics is you never know what to expect from him next. With the combination of unpredictability and pure talent, Lenky’s son has the possibility to make history and go down the music books just like his father. When one takes a serious listen into Q’s short yet versatile music catalogue, its raw vocals and even sonic imperfections makes the experience so much more special.
Q is not a fully-developed artist; however, one still under process. What is unique about him is we get to join the ride and witness his rise to international recognition. Q is also not the one to follow rules from his social presence to the self-composition of most hit songs, which is nowadays unheard of for the majority of signed artists.
It would be foolish to think that Q hasn’t got so much potential and perhaps when he decides to appear on someone’s project, we may finally place him under the same lights as Brent Faiyaz, Steve Lacy and company.