Words by Mr Tom M Ford
The idea of dropping out of school to busk on the streets doesn't necessarily inspire notions of success. However, it was with these humble beginnings that 25-year-old Mr Marques Toliver nurtured his truly unique classical-urban sound.
Born in Florida, Mr Toliver had classical influences ingrained in him at an early age. "It was the foundation of my technique", attending music school from 11 and going on to study it at university. After dropping out, he began playing on the streets - where he would earn up to $80 in three hours. "I hung out with my friends who were still at school so I had to make an income. Then I went to New York, which led to me touring across the US with my violin. And then Jools Holland came along..."
A showcase for the world's best musical talent, the hugely popular British show Later... With Jools Holland was recommended to feature Mr Toliver by the little-known songstress Adele in 2010, despite the fact that he was without a record deal. With just his honey-smooth vocals and some frantic violin strokes, he shone under the spotlight.
Currently signed to Bella Union and continuing an international tour which stops everywhere from Vancouver to Sydney, things are on the up for the musician. "I've been on the road for about six months on and off, and on tour with Lianne La Havas across Europe and the UK. The new album, out early 2013, is a throwback to the late 1960s. The sound is very involving - it represents me."
With a growing fan base and a developing sense of style - "Recently I've been looking at a more retro vibe - like old French singers" - Mr Toliver can expect the Bohemian anonymity that launched him to transform into more mainstream recognition and album sales. Watch our video above for an exclusive performance of "Magic Look".