R&B’s Modern Renaissance—Q Marsden

todayJanuary 31, 2023 164 10 5

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By Adrianna Elias 

Music Journalist 

I love Q. This is me begging you to listen to Q more often and tune into his new album.

Q Marsden, a South Florida artist, creates music that sounds wise beyond his years. His music, being reminiscent of that of 80s R&B and soul, creates a new, forward-thinking, dreamy, and alternative R&B for the next generation of listeners. Raised by Jamaican immigrant parents, Q was brought up in the world of music.

Steven “Lenky” Marsden, his father, is a well-known figure in the dancehall and reggae scenes, having created the legendary “Diwali Riddim,” sampled by Rihanna (“Pon De Replay”) and Sean Paul (“Get Busy”) for numerous Billboard hits. It’s fitting that his father has a writing credit on “Take Me Where Your Heart Is,” the lead single from his major label debut, The Shave Experiment EP. Music has always been a part of his daily life, and by his adolescence, he was programming beats on his mother’s Triton keyboard.

Q’s single “Today” as seen on my iPhone. Photo by: Adrianna Elias


The debut of his EP, The Shave Experiment, is when I caught wind of him. I heard “It Won’t Get Ya” when I was letting music shuffle on YouTube during the pandemic. I was on a huge Childish Gambino kick coming off the high of what I thought was going to be Gambino’s last album. “It Won’t Get Ya” sounds like something that could come straight from Gambino’s Awaken, My Love. So, what becomes a rabbit hole of shuffling through songs that turns into “Oh my god, is this an alias for Gambino?” “Who is Q?” I continued to dabble in the world of Q, throwing his songs on playlists, but I lost sight of him until early November last year, after the release of his song “Today.” The song takes on the long 80s intro of cold electronic keyboard and falsetto vocals and talks about his struggle with anxiety and self-hatred, taking on a more hopeful tone towards the end. A very vulnerable and intimate performance of the song at the Soul Train Awards had viewers searching for all things Q. Everyone in the official music video for the song says he sounds like a cross between Maxwell and Lenny Kravitz, which I completely agree with. The live version of the song—dare I say—adds a missing piece to the song. Seeing Q get into the song and exercise his vocal powerhouse was transcendent and necessary for diving into his discography and the sound of his latest album, which has yet to be officially named.

I, as well as many others, are anticipating a tour to go along with the rollout of his third studio album. He’s already dropped three singles for the album at this point: “TODAY,” “STEREO DRIVER” and “LUV (I KNOW I WANT THIS FOR REAL).” Friday morning, Q went live on Instagram to promote “LUV (I KNOW I WANT THIS FOR REAL)” and was asked about the tour and the release date of the album. He said he would go on tour soon and that the album cover was a placeholder until the release of the full album. There is no confirmed date for the album’s release other than “soon.” With an unforgettable sound, Q makes music for the kids who grew up on their parents’ late 80s and early 90s R&B and crave that same sound in a modern context.




Written by: Jordan Young

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