West Sussex singer-songwriter Marcus C Dolan has released an anthem sure to make you feel hopeful.“Ready to Believe," a track written, performed, and produced entirely by the artist himself, is a dreamy, keyboard-driven ballad that coaxes the listener into optimism. Virtual orchestration peppers the pre-chorus, building up to a sweeping refrain that echoes the title.
25 years of experience in the music industry has led to Marcus' solo project, which he began in 2017. His releases traverse genres, all observational and semi-autobiographical.
Inspiration from the likes of John Mayer, Bruce Hornsby, and Nick Mulvey are evident in Marcus’ honest lyrics and self-production, all the while maintaining clear commercial appeal.
We sat down with Marcus to discuss his latest release and his impressive career.
FLEX: What was the process like while writing this track? Where did initial inspiration come from?
Marcus C Dolan: It all began with a synth pad of four chords whilst I was playing through some sounds. I found myself humming a melody and recorded it right away so I wouldn’t forget it! I took my time with this one and would regularly leave and come back to it over a few months. As it is just the four chords throughout, I wanted to work with the dynamics, slowly introducing elements and building into a strong punchy feel good chorus. In the later stages of the production, to keep things organic and add dimension, I decided to include strings and brass in the penultimate chorus and then a trumpet melody riding the final chorus. F: You discussed making a big move — did this play a role in the origins of this track?
M: Last year as a family we took a leap of faith leaving London behind in favour of a village in West Sussex. It’s naturally a big scary jump moving to a quieter place (especially in the middle of lockdown) and leaving people, friends and familiar things behind in uncertain times. However, it was exciting to start again and to explore new connections and possibilities. In fact the basic elements of "Ready to Believe" were conceived in the temporary studio I set up very soon after moving and the lyrics followed later. As the song is about new beginnings, goals and self belief, I think the origins of the track were definitely influenced by our move. F: How has your formal music education influenced the way you make music on your own?
M: It has been invaluable. I was interested in making music from an early age, but I was grateful to have the opportunity to study music theory, performance and production at university. Technology, especially with virtual instruments, now means I have incredibly realistic and inspiring sounds at my fingertips, so my formal music education gives me an understanding of how it all slots together musically. F: You’re a long-term producer for other artists. Did you produce this track yourself? If so, what was that like?
M: I produced all the elements of this track myself, so it’s always a real challenge to step back and be objective. It doesn’t help that I am also my own worst critic! To make up for this I played versions to my family and my closest musical collaborators to help me on my way. F: What can we expect from you in the near future?
M: I am planning to perform some solo unplugged gigs in the West Sussex area within the next couple months and will be releasing an EP early next year. I also have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline and hope to form some new musical connections too.
You can listen to "Ready to Believe" across streaming platforms.
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