Weston’s soul music man-Marvin Muoneké

Welcome to the Humans of Weston, for the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of the creative humans we have found around our beautiful town of Weston…

Today, meet Marvin:

Hi Marvin,

Welcome to Humans of Weston. We are delighted to have you here, so let’s get to know you better…

Firstly tell us a bit about yourself in a sentence or two..

My name is Marvin Muoneké and I am a jazz singer-songwriter and musician based on the lovely Weston Hillside. You may have heard or seen me on The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent.

How would you describe your music?  

I don’t know, to be honest. I could describe it as classy, but in the end it’s just good music that is accessible to everyone – no matter what your age or preference of ‘genre’.

Marvin performing ‘Medley Time With Marvin’ from home

Was music a deliberate career choice?  

I wouldn’t say it was deliberate, but now I look back on it, it was most definitely meant to be. I knew that I wanted to be in the arts, ever since I was a child and it really helped that I had a musical background. 

I began singing at the age of 6 in my Church’s youth choir, but my voice broke quite significantly at the age of 10 and I thought that nobody would appreciate a deeper singing voice, so I turned to playing the piano in my school’s jazz band. At the age of 16 I gave my first solo vocal performance. This was shortly after discovering the world of vocal jazz, which was spearheaded by greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

What does your music say about you?  

My music sums me up as ‘the young man with the old soul’, which happens to be the name of my first album. My music strives to excite people, inspire them and fill them with joy, like a warm hug at the end of the day – combining both traditional and modern vibes, to create music that is appealing to all ages.

What brought you to Weston?

Though I was born and raised in London’s East End, I do have a connection with the West Country as my maternal grandfather, Jim Beckles worked a lot of the time in Devon and Cornwall as a professional singer. I first moved to Weston at the age of 18 to study Popular Music and Professional Music Performance and Production at University Centre Weston.

How has Weston been a part of your creativity?

Weston is the town where my career began to reach higher levels. Thanks to the people I met and worked with at uni, I have had the honour of recording at some of the most important studios in the world, including Real World Studios in Box and Abbey Road in London. The gigs I did during my time in uni brought me to the forefront of Weston’s music scene and I soon was able to make long-lasting friendships with other artists in Weston and the surrounding areas as well.

Paying homage to his home – Marvin’s video for his 8th single Wandering In Weston

Where are your favourite places in Weston to seek out inspiration? 

There is so much of Weston for us to cherish and enjoy, you just have to get out there and look for yourself. My favourite places for inspiration are the Weston Woods, the Seafront, Uphill and Sand Bay. They are all so lovely on a breezy, sunny day.

Has anyone in Weston supported or influenced you? 

A lot of my support comes from my Church family at St. Paul’s, which I’m extremely grateful for (especially during the pandemic). Another great supporter in my career is my bassist Jim Pullen, a fantastic musician who has worked with so many legends from Kenny Baker to Tokio Myers. 

Dennis DeMille – my friend, fellow Rat Packer and phenomenal singer in his own right, has been a driving force in advising me in the steps needed to become a pro musician. He and his wife Tina have always welcomed me in their home and if we’re not working on music, we’re either listening to it or just chilling out. 

My tutor and dear friend, Paul Raymond saw potential in me from the moment he first heard me sing and endeavoured to create opportunities for me to elevate my career. He introduced me to the Boulevard Big Band, who I still sing with to this day and he also recommended that I put myself forward to audition for The Voice when two of their scouts were on campus searching for new talent – had I not done that, I probably would not be answering these questions now. 

Everything happens for a reason.

Marvin with friend and fellow Rat Packer Dennis DeMille during the Britain’s got talent 2018 semi-final.

What advice would you give to young musicians in the town?

My advice to young musicians who are up and coming in Weston is:

1. Be true to yourself. Do not allow anyone to try and change you. By all means, welcome criticism and advice for improvement, but you make the final call on what you want for your sound, style and career.

2. Do your homework. Practice every chance you can and do your research. Research and study your musical heroes. not just their music, but their back story and the way they connect with their audiences. In addition to YouTube: biopics, documentaries, live footage and books are all great resources to get you inspired.

What are you working on at the moment, or what is next?

My new album came out on April 9th. It is called ‘Lockdown Hootenanny’ because it’s exactly that. It was primarily a live session that I recorded during the second lockdown last year at White Noise Studios in Locking. A third album has been finalised and awaits release later on in the year. I have started planning the fourth album, which will be a mixture of standards and original songs.


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