The anticipation was high prior to the release of Bay Area singer-songwriter Marc E. Bassy’s debut album, Gossip Columns (Oct. 13). His platinum breakthrough single, “You & Me” featuring G-Eazy, increased the buzz around the Republic Records crooner and his piano skills. But, the heartthrob’s recent singles “Plot Twist” and its remix with his labelmate, Hailee Steinfeld, made it clear Bassy was no one-hit wonder.
Still, the release of Gossip Columns will merely serve as his superstardom commencement. Bassy is enthusiastic about co-headlining the next chapter of his nationwide journey: The Bebe & Bassy Tour 2017. Alongside the sultry singer, Bebe Rexha, he’ll showcase the song-crafting from his beloved, Groovy People EP, and beyond. “I chose this album title [Gossip Columns] because these tracks are essentially sensationalized stories from my personal life, experience and observation,” Bassy explained to Billboard. “I have always dug into these stories as sources for inspiration, and being based in the muck and mire of Los Angeles, a tabloid-ish picture is what I have painted within this album,” the singer continued.
His introductory mainstream poetic, Gossip Columns, was cosigned by ascending artists, KYLE, Kehlani, YG, Bobby Brackins and more. Billboard had the pleasure of pressing play with R&B’s opinionated newcomer. This is everything you need to know.
Billboard: Your debut album Gossip Columns shows your evolution from Only The Poets Mixtape and East Hollywood. What did you learn from this experience?
Bassy: I learned that patience is a virtue. At the end of the day, all you can do is put your best foot forward, and worry about the quality of your music. I found that making an album is really just a collaborative process. And you have to trust the people that you work with.
I played in bands growing up, so even as a solo artist, you always have a band. They might not be making the music with you, but, it might be your manager, or your producer, or the people on the business side. An album is sort of a testament to your whole crew.
How has your creative process developed after the success of your song “You & Me,” featuring G- Eazy?
My creative process has pretty much always been the same. I just let the sounds come to me, and do my best to see them through. It’s always been like that, you know? We made “You & Me,” and that did well for us. Still, we did not make that song with the intent of “this is going to be a single.” We put the same amount of effort and care into all the music. The rest is up to the people.
What was it like working with Kehlani and YG on this project? Can you share a favorite memory with them?
They’re both just really good people. I like making music with dope artists. My experience with Kehlani was very special, because we started working together very early on in our careers. She is such an extreme, extreme talent, and beauty.
Anytime you’re around Kehlani, you get the warm fuzzies. [Laughs] Like, you’re in the presence of greatness. And, [the same goes for] YG, only in a completely different way. He is a fucking West Coast superstar. I was really lucky to have both of them on the album.
Will there be a visual to accompany the “Plot Twist – Remix (Bonus)?”
I think there will be a video. Hailee Steinfeld is filming a movie right now. So, it was hard. And, I am on the Bebe and Bassy Tour. So we will have to get our schedules together. But, I think we are gonna whip up something for the people at some point.
How was your studio experience with Hailee Steinfeld?
I mean, Hailee, in my short time working with her was confident and professional. She liked the song, and I wanted her to be on the remix. Hailee agreed, which was awesome for me. With her being an actress, she can listen to a song and feel the tension of it. Hailee gets the vibe of the music and just kills it. She recorded it in three takes. She is greatness!
Did you enjoy candidly filming a shower version of “Plot Twist”?
Oh, yeah! That actually was really awesome. I want to do [YouTube videos] like that more, and more. I create music for the sole purpose of singing it to people. So, anytime I get to show fans how I am in a live setting and be me, I’m happy. That was in my house with my friends. Anytime I get to bring people into my little world, where music comes from, that same [way] — it feels the most authentic. I love doing that.
R&B songs more frequently have female artists detailing how their energy isn’t mutually reciprocated in a relationship. On your single, “Til I Get Found,” it was reversed. What did you learn from that experience?
All my music is based off real-life experiences. I guess, sometimes people have a tendency to hold onto things for too long. Sometimes the best therapy is really cutting the cord. And as hard as it is to do, we all need to do it [in relationships] at some point. It is like ripping the band-aid off. You don’t want to do the slow tearing process — that rips your skin away. You just want that strong break.
So, that is what “Til I Get Found” is about. You know? “If you love me, baby, cut me off!” Especially for people like myself, artists. We romanticize and carry things out forever. It [feels] rough to cut someone out of your life. But, sometimes, it is necessary for personal growth. You are either in or you are out!
What do you want your fans to know about you?
I want my fans to understand that my music comes from a really personal place. I am not apart of any particular wave. And, because I am not a part of any particular wave, I am not a hypebeast. I just make authentically good music. I think that gets overlooked [in mainstream] sometimes. You know, because they don’t fucking talk about me on Pitchfork, and in The FADER. I’m not really in that world. I work outside of any clique or subculture. It’s my own thing.
And I have always been that way, a fucking anomaly. There is no one like me. And, I do not say that to be cocky. Sometimes it makes it harder [to connect]. But, I really do appreciate the fans that I have, that have been holding me down. You know, allowing me to have an interview with Billboard, tour all around the country in a fat, beautiful tour bus. They sing my songs and I want my fans to know that I appreciate it.
What is it like now that you are on your fat, beautiful tour bus and you are touring the country?
It’s giving back season. Creating an album, if you’re doing it the right way, and creating a show… is an offering to your people. I want my offering to be heartfelt and real. So, I punch people in the gut.
What is next for Marc E. Bassy?
We are going to do this U.S. tour. And then my team is going to visit Europe, in December. We will be in 11 different European cities, for the first time. My band will be playing in small intimate venues. It is really Gossip Columns season. We will be pushing the album everywhere.
Hopefully, we will make our late night TV debut through this album cycle, which I am excited for. I am not going to stop making music and putting out content. Also, I’ve been really getting back into poetry. And I want to incorporate that [in my shows] more. I am really pushing people to dig in, artistically. Even as fans! I don’t want to make just surface-level shit. I want people to be able to peel back the layers of what I do.
Fans should dig up more of my meaning [and into] themselves. That is really what makes music fun — seeing how far you can push the envelope, and seeing how far you can take your art. If I was fucking 16, I would be Lil Pump. But, I am grown, and I have been making music for a long time. It is my duty to keep exploring and keep honoring all the great music that influenced me.