Marques stars as "Kevin Barnes" on UPN's new comedy series "Cuts." His most noteable TV appearances include "Sister, Sister", "A Different World", "Family Matters", "The Parent Hood", "All That" and "Cousin Skeeter." He can currently be seen starring in the feature film "Fat Albert." Most recently, Houston starred in "You Got Served," "House Party III," "Down to the Last Minute" and "Good Burger." He also lent his voice to the animated film "BeBe Kids." A singer, songwriter and producer, his music career took off in 1992 as a member of the trio Immature with their hit single, "Tear it Up," from the movie soundtrack "Bebe's Kids." In 1994, Immature released their debut album, "On Our Worst Behavior," and followed it up with "Playtime is Over," "We Got It" and "The Journey." In 1999, the group then changed their name to IMx and released "Introducing IMx" and followed that with "IMx" in 2001. Houston released his first solo album "MH," in 2003. In addition to performing, Houston wrote and produced several songs for Destiny's Child's "The Writing on the Wall," as well as produced albums for the R&B group B2K. Marques was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, and he resides in Los Angeles.
Meet Marques Houston
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!”
Reel Talk With Marques Houston
On a visit to BET to talk about his new UPN sitcom “Cuts” we surprised singer Marques Houston with a few minutes of “Reel Talk.” Check out what Marques had to say below and make sure you check out his new TV show, “Cuts,” on UPN.
Fan Frenzy as a teenager is one thing, but as you get older that frenzy becomes more of a respect thing. Do you miss the frenzy at all?
Houston: I still get it [the frenzy], so it is cool. It depends on the kind of environment I am in. If I am around a lot of teenagers I get it but when I am with my people or adults I don’t get it as much. It is really balanced, and it’s good when I do. I love the frenzy. It is not as big as it use to be but with more respect you get album sales and longevity. Being a teen idol can be there but then it passes. One minute they are screaming for you and the next minute they are not. Respect and longevity is more important to survive.
People sometimes tend to criticize the shows on UPN. Do you see that criticism as a challenge to overcome with “Cuts?”
Houston: When you’re being positive, people are always trying to criticize you. UPN is keeping a lot of Black shows on the air and giving a lot of people jobs. I have nothing against UPN. They keep me working, and it is going to be a great show and, hopefully, the show will raise the bar and broaden some horizons.
Since you started in show business at such an early age, do you feel like you missed out on any part of your childhood?
Houston: I was always around the right people. Chris always took us to have fun; we went to the movie. The only thing different with us is we were doing a job, and we were not in school. We had private tutors, but we still went out to the movies, had fun, talked on the phone with our friends and all of that.
Do you feel like you were spoiled since you had access to so much in your earlier years?
Houston: Yeah a little bit. I am used to getting my way, but as a man that is what you have to do to overcome when you grow up in the business. When you become a man you have responsibilities and have to do things for yourself. That is the biggest part of my life that has matured. I have accepted the responsibilities of being a man.