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Marcel

Marcel (Birth name: Andre Marcel Wilson / Name change: Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele) is an American singer, arranger, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. In 1998, his debut album ‘The Diary of Marcel’ was released on his own label Bombay Recording Company. It was promoted with the singles “I Like It”, “A Need to Please”, “Maybe Tomorrow”, and “Strawberry Saturday”. It was a refreshing take on “old-school” R&B, reminiscent of Tevin Campbell and Rahsaan Patterson. He toured the local circuit and became a true contender on the independent scene.

After 3 years of working on the follow-up to ‘The Diary of Marcel,’ with a new look and new sound, Marcel was back rockin’ blonde hair twists and bringing Afrofuturism to the mainstream with his sophomore album ‘Spice : The Alternative Hip-Hop Experience.’

Marcel’s style fused elements of rap, R&B, “old-school” and futuristic funk. His sound has been compared to Macy Gray, Maxwell, Prince and Meshell Ndegeocello. The song “Come Over (feat. Tori Fixx)” displays Marcel’s diversity in the hip-hop/R&B genre. “Let The Funk Flow” is layered with futuristic funk, while “Picture Show” offers an “old-school” vibe that makes you feel all sexy inside. The album was promoted with the singles “Spice”, “Set Your Body Free”, “Blame It On The Cocktail”, and “Picture Show”. Collectively, Marcel put together an outstanding album that was creative, musically stimulating and vibrant.

Accolades: “Spice” received radio airplay worldwide, including bay area’s own KMEL 106.1, LIVE 105.3, KALX 90.7, KBMB 103.5, KISS 98.1, KUSF 90.3, KSJS 90.5, and KSFM 102.5. The album’s cd packaging was featured on the cover of Disc Makers magazine (2001-2002 Factory-Direct-Catalog) and the company’s promotional advertisements.

With the success of his debut album ‘The Diary of Marcel’ and his second offering ‘Spice: The Alternative Hip-Hop Experience,’ Marcel received internet distribution with The Orchard, was nominated for the “Just Plain Folks 2002 Internet Awards”, and the ‘Spice’ album was added to a Japanese Cable Network Station for a television program.

In 2003, Marcel was ready to save the world with his third offering ‘Uptown : 2025 A.D.’ Without the blonde hair twists from the ‘Spice’ era, Marcel changed his image and was now a space warrior. His mission was to find love and trust and to bring back those elements to a planet in search of utopia. However, along his journey through space and time, he encountered many loves and sexual encounters, but would be confused by the cosmic showers of both love and trust...issues from a past life, known as the reflection. Marcel surrendered his soul, and upon him faith was bestowed, where a rebirth of freedom aroused within. The album was promoted with the singles “Mother Earth”, “I’ve Got To Know...(feat. N’CoCo)”, “Hazy Dayz”, and “In Her Eyez”. This album is the first collaboration between Marcel and author, pianist, and composer Jon O’Bergh.

With the success of ‘Uptown : 2025 A.D.’, Marcel went back into the studio to remix his favorite tracks. ‘Uptown : 2025 E.P. The Remixes’ was the fruit of his labor and marked as his fourth release. The album was promoted with the singles “You’re The Love of My Life (2025 Mix)”, “Pretty Baby (Galaxy Mix)”, and “I’ve Got To Know (Cosmic Mix)”. The E.P. also featured a new track “All My Love...The Truth Pt. 2).

‘Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2’ is his fifth and final release recording as Marcel. Along with the release was a world tour promoting all of his material from 1998 to the present in select cities and countries. Inspired by Prince and Meshell Ndegeocello with a very funk influenced sound, Marcel feels that this project was his funkiest album to date! If you enjoyed Prince’s albums Dirty Mind, Sign O’ The Times, and LoveSexy, then this album is for you! The album was promoted with the singles “Secret Weapon”, “Cosmopolitan”, “Body Electric”, “Music / Afterparty”, “Got 2 Get Up”, and “You Blow My Mind : Frequency” with the latter featuring rapper Jarrod. Tracks from the album received radio airplay worldwide, including in Australia and garnered accolades in the country.

After the passing of his grandmother in December 2003, he legally changed his birth name from “Andre Marcel Wilson” to “Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele” in 2004 to reflect more of an African heritage. Also, in changing his name, he wanted to depart from the Prince influenced sound to a more self-defined sound to honor his grandmother. Thus, “Cyber Jazz” and the Pearl Jazz Recording Label was born. After the release of the ‘Secret Weapon’ album, he formed the jazz/funk/fusion band Gemini Soul and began recording as Ajamu Akinyele. He would not return to the Prince influenced sound until the release of his 2012 album ‘The Potomac Syndrome’ as Andre Akinyele.

The song “The Secret Weapon,” powerful in itself, is where he announces he is now “Ajamu Akinyele.” Marcel declared, “When your life begins to come in full circle, you take on a new life force that represents a new beginning within.”

As Marcel, his entire catalog can be purchased right here at CD Baby, so look for the following titles:

The Diary of Marcel (1998)

Spice : The Alternative Hip-Hop Experience (2001)

Uptown : 2025 A.D. (2003)

Uptown : 2025 E.P. (2004)

Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2 (2004) [His last recording as Marcel]


Fun Facts:

Birth name: Andre Marcel Wilson

Name change: Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele

Born: June 21, 1972; San Pablo, California (Richmond/Hilltop/El Sobrante Area)

Origin: San Francisco Bay Area

Alma mater: Foothill College (AA); University of Maryland (BA, MA)

Genres: Funk, R&B, Soul, Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Alternative, Rock, Fusion, Dance, Electronic

Occupation(s): Author, Entrepreneur, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Software & Game Developer

Instruments: Bass, Guitar, Drums, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Percussion

Labels: Bombay Recording Co.

Associated Acts: Jon O’Bergh, Tori Fixx, Jarrod

As Marcel, he recorded under numerous names including Michael Angelo (in 1989 releasing a single titled “Brina Brown” in Europe) and Ajamu Akinyele as a jazz artist. His last recording under the moniker Marcel was 2004’s ‘Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2.’ He was also the bandleader of the jazz/funk/fusion band Gemini Soul. He now records as Andre Akinyele.

As Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele, he has developed other ventures, including his Orange River enterprise that consists of a record label, book publishing company, and film studio. He produced albums for Jon O’Bergh. Andre is the bandleader, guitarist, bassist, and lead singer of the rock group Looking for Lester, working under the pseudonym Rebellion and producing the album under the name Messiah Superstar. He is also the lead singer, drum programmer, and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush, also working under the pseudonym Chambliss Charlie. He co-authored the book ‘Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello.’ Aside from music, he is also the owner of Akinyele Design Firm, which focuses on graphic design and visual arts. Also, he is the owner of Ajamu, a gaming and software development company. He authored the tech book ‘So, What’s the Big Deal About Scrum? A Methodology Handbook for Developers.’ In addition to holding an Associate’s of Arts degree in Music Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, he also holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology (IT): Software Engineering.

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