You know him as a key member of IMX (formally Immature), as one of the stars of the hit television series “Sister, Sister” and for his credits on albums by hit-makers such as B2K and Destiny’s Child. Now, with the release of his first T.U.G. Entertainment solo album, a singer, songwriter and producer. “It’s not too ‘left’ from what I’ve done before with IMX,” he says. The difference is that this album is more about my own personal feelings and situations I’ve been in.” The lead off single, the lilting groove-flavored “Clubbin” produced by R. Kelly is a prime example.
With strong cuts like “Walk Away” and “The Grass Is Greener,” MH displays Marques’ vocal maturity and he admits that working on his first solo project was a real learning experience. “My manager Chris Stokes has been my mentor since I first started out in this business and when we were preparing to do the album, we agreed that it should be an opportunity for me to show my strength as a singer” Marques says. “Then, producers like R. Kelly and Kenny Whitehead really pushed me vocally and I’m happy they did. Tunes like the acoustically-flavored “Alone” and the upbeat cut “I Like That” which features rapper Mila J, allow the multi-talented performer to shine musically. “This is the first time I’ve worked with producers like Kenny (of the Whitehead Brothers) and Troy Taylor,” says Marques, one of the hit-making four-man writing and production team known as Platinum Status. “It was challenging but that’s what I enjoyed about it.”
Stating clearly that “I’m stepping out to do something on my own but I’m still a part of IMX,” Marques reflects that the decision to start a solo project began to take form when he was working with fellow group members Romeo and LDB on IMX’s self-titled 2001 album. “It all fell into place and I told Chris (Stokes) that I wanted to show the world what we could do. He asked me if I was absolutely sure and I told him I was positive, I was ready to do this.” After speaking with Interscope executives Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair, Marques began working on his much-anticipated solo project prior to hitting the road with the “Scream 2” tour (which featured IMX, B2K and Lil Bow Wow) in July 2002. “I did a few songs when we had a break in Atlanta and as soon as the tour stopped in October, I went right back into the studio to finish the record…”
In between times, Marques was busy with other members of Platinum Status completing work on B2K’s sophomore album, Pandemonium! His involvement with the group pre-dates the release of their 2001 debut album since two members; Omarion and J-Boog are related to him: Omarion is his younger brother while J-Boog is his cousin. As COO of The Ultimate Group, Inc. management team, Marques has been actively working with B2K for the past few years, passing on the invaluable experience he’s gained through his years with Immature/IMX.
A young ‘vet’ in the music industry, Marques got his first taste of fame when Immature hit the charts in 1992 with “Tear It Up” from the soundtrack of the movie “Bebe’s Kids.” The L.A. trio’s Virgin Records debut On Our Worst Behavior created an immediate stir among young record buyers. But it was the 1994 MCA follow-up Playtime, featuring the Top 5 pop and R&B hit gold single “Never Lie” and a second gold single, “Constantly” that took Immature into the mainstream marketplace. Subsequent MCA albums (1995’s We Got It and 1997’s The Journey) kept the group in the forefront, and with a name change to IMX, reflecting the groups coming-of-age and creative growth, the team released Introducing IMX in 1999.
Marques, who cites Michael Jackson as his primary musical influence and considers Boyz II Men as the most impactful group he’d heard growing up, started developing his own skills as a writer: Immature’s The Journey contained his song “Alone,” a song written in the wake of his mother’s passing. After forming the production team Platinum Status with the other two members of IMX, Jerome “Romeo” Jones, Kelton “LDB” Kessee and Tony Scott, Marques got further opportunities to reveal his burgeoning talents. Marques showcased his songwriting and producing talents by working with Platinum Status on Destiny’s Child impressive 1999 album The Writing’s On The Wall and on IMX’s 2001 self-titled New Line Records release. “Writing has become like a second passion for me,” says Marques. “I never thought it would develop this way but I’ve always used reality-based situations and real life subjects as the basis for the songs I write.”
Known to fans all over the world as ‘Batman’, (a nickname he got “from fooling around at a radio station and putting Batman underwear on my head!”), Marques Houston is a multi-faceted young entertainer – who also enjoys wide popularity for his recurrent role on the WB television series “Sister, Sister” which is currently in nationwide syndication. Marques has taken his writing and producing abilities to a new level with the release of MH. “My aim has always been to make a difference in someone’s life, and my greatest joy has always been knowing that a song I wrote or sung touched someone else. I felt really passionate about making this record and now I want everyone to feel it!”