Marcus Miller: The Perfect Balance

Esther Berlanga-Ryan By

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AAJ: How do you see yourself?

MM: I don't know....I think I just try to keep things balanced. I think that is the word I always end up going back to. Between the funk and the jazz; between life and the studio, between harmony and rhythm; between improvisation and arrangement; between the music live and living my life at home. I think for me the most important thing is try to keep things balanced so that you can feel like a complete human being, and take advantage of everything that life has to offer.

AAJ: And how do you want others to see you?

MM: Oh, however it comes to their land. I'm trying. I just hope that the music makes them feel something. I have had people coming to me and saying "I know exactly what you were thinking when you did that song." And what they say is completely wrong; it's not what I was thinking at all. But I am happy that I do the kind of music where you can interpret it anyway that works for you, anyway that is meaningful for you, and not only with my music but with my whole life. I'd like for people to see me in any way that kind of moves them or affects them in a positive way. That's what I would like.

AAJ: What matters to you the most?

MM: Balance. Trying to have my music hit you on an emotional and intellectual and historical and a kind level at the same time. Trying to have my life balanced, where I can still be a musician, a creating musician dedicated to my art, but still be a good father, be a good husband. Not have one aspect of my life take over so hard that destroys all other aspects. I have seen many people do that, and some people would argue that if you have to do something profound, you have to have that thing take over and consume you, and forsake everything else, but for me, I have seen a couple of guys do it the other way. And it made me decide that that's the kind of person I want to be. So you will hear me doing some jazz, scoring movies, being a musical host at concerts and stuff like that; I just want to have it down so that I can enjoy everything that music has to offer and everything that life has to offer.

And then there is gratitude, one of the most important things. Gratitude to be here in this planet. For me personally gratitude to have a family that I love, to be able to do what I love when I am making music. To see daylight today. I think everyday should start with gratitude and then go from there.

Selected Discography

Marcus Miller, A Night in Monte Carlo (Concord, 2011)

S.M.V., Thunder (Heads Up, 2008)

Marcus Miller, Marcus (Concord, 2007)

Marcus Miller, Silver Rain (Koch, 2005)

Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father (J-Records, 2003)

Marcus Miller, Suddenly (Rhino/Wea UK 2002)

Marcus Miller, M2 (Telarc, 2001)

Marcus Miller, Tales (Pra, 1995)

Marcus Miller, The Sun Don't Lie (Pra, 1993)

Luther Vandross, Power of Love (Sony, 1991)

Miles Davis, Tutu (Warner Bros., 1990)

Miles Davis, Amandla (Warner Bros., 1989)

Luther Vandross, Busy Body (Sony, 1983)

Photo Credits

Pages 1-3: Mike Stemberg

Page 4: Chuck Koton

Page 5: Ricard Cugat

Page 6: Hans Speekenbrink

Page 7: Roger Humbert

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