Marcell & the Truth was founded in 1997 after Marcell Russell joined a funk-rock band started by William Bagwell, aka, “Bags”. Bags ended the band shortly after Marcell joined, but felt Marcell had tons of potential, vocally and lyrically. Bags told Marcell that he had the chance to be the next “legend” in music. Bags would inspire Marcell to start his own band. Marcell saw the challenges of building a band after a few months and quit. But, the music kept calling him and he couldn’t stay away. He called Bags back up and asked if they could restart the band. Bags challenged Marcell for quitting the first time and Marcell swore he would never quit again. And there begins the recruiting, training, and developing the sound of M&TT for the next 4-5 years. Bags & Marcell didn’t get super far with their songs until Marcell ran into Charles Bennett & Gerald Richardson, September 1999, in the cafeteria of Morgan State University. Marcell learned they were church musicians and their church was around the corner from campus. He convinced them to go immediately so he could hear them play. After 10 minutes, Marcell called Bags to come hear these two 19 year-old cousins. Bags begin to play his guitar and Marcell started singing with them and it was amazing. When the four of these guys got together songs would flow like water. Although their chemistry was great, they would watch countless musicians and singers come and go for years, but it was clear, these four made up the “sound” called M&TT… Read more
After 18 years in the game, Marcell’s inspiration and musical big brother, Bags, decided to resign in 2008. Marcell was forced again to reinvent himself, the sound, and the band. But, it didn’t take long for two fresh faces to fit right in, Austin Caughlin & Michael Mackey. Austin came in the summer of 2006 as a fill-in but he over time has become a clear factor in the newest chapter of M&TT. The concern was could Austin be as funky as Bags. Austin filled Bags shoes musically within a short period and stood out with a few new tunes of his own. Since 2006, there was still a need for a keyboard player that thought as the rest of the team, and in the summer of 2008, Michael Mackey, Marcell’s cousin, walked into practice full of ideas with a humble demeanor. It seems since Austin & Mike have joined M&TT, the songwriting has doubled.
M&TT Recording History The band recorded 4x before their first album “Hopes Too High” dropped. It seemed for years no one wanted to pick up the band and the request was often the same, “…we just want Marcell”, but Marcell had a vision of the sound and type of music he wanted to bring to the public. Marcell, “I tried working with other producers, but it was a certain sound I wanted and I needed real instruments to create it. I was told repeatedly – NO ONE will sign a “BLACK BAND!” Marcell’s stubborn desire cost him a handful of record deals and quite a bit of ridicule, but the bands fan base continues to grow. The shows bring out those 18 to 60 years of age, and so often have sold out facilities. M&TT have rocked arenas, clubs, lounges, festivals, etc…So many would tell the band, “I’m surprised you guys are not signed yet, you should be huge in the business”. The demand for the band over the years forced Marcell to learn how to market, promote, and manage himself and the band. It has never been his desire to wear many hats but he has wore them without a moment’s hesitation. “I want to be on a major label. I don’t have an issue with having a mass appeal, WE WANT IT!…but I don’t want to just mimic trends. I want to be around for 20 years plus. I want to become a classic. I don’t feel I can do that just trying to be trendy. I don’t just want money, I want to become timeless, and so do the guys, so we all have jobs and write the music we believe in. Sure, we’ve been paying a price but it seems as if it’s starting to pay off”, Marcell. They continue to write at least 30-60 new songs a year. Gradually, the offers of finding a home (label) for M&TT are coming in. M&TT looks forward to one day signing a deal that will work for everyone. “There are some great labels that really work hard for their artists out there. We are waiting for it to be a clear fit which one is for us. This business is difficult on your own but we won’t cheat our fans with lazy music. We know it’s a matter of time”, Marcell.
01 – M&TT – Hopes Too High (Hopes Too High, 2006)
02 – M&TT – Greatest Love (Symbols, 2009)
03 – M&TT – Symbols (Symbols, 2009) (Snippet)
04 – M&TT – Can”t Wait (Symbols, 2009)
Background music during the interview:
M&TT – Breathe Love, M&TT – Never Leave You Lonely, M&TT – Your Eyes, M&TT – Come Home To You, M&TT – Time Stops, M&TT – They Don”t Know, M&TT – Sending You Away, M&TT – Evil Woman, M&TT – Maybe I”m Not Your Man, M&TT – Lost In The Moment, M&TT – Somewhere In Between