Welcome back to Heart and Soul Magazine Bradd. We are intrigued by the connection you have with Sam Cooke, his message and his music. What initially drew you to his music and how old were you?
My grandparents introduced me to the music of Sam Cooke when I was a child. They would always play Sam Cooke and The Soulstirrers but I never knew who I was listening to, it was just the musical ambience of their house. I was an adult when I realized whose music I had been listening to!
Are any of your original compositions inspired or influenced by Sam Cooke? if so which ones and how?
My more recent original compositions have been influenced by Sam Cooke, songs such as The Thrill is Gone and No War. Not so much stylistically but content wise. I determined a few years ago I wanted my original content shows to have the same impact on people as my Sam Cooke shows and that required me to write songs that spoke to more than just romantic love.
Even though Sam Cooke’s career ended tragically and prematurely, his catalogue contains so may great songs. Which songs of Sam Cooke do you include in your tribute/salute shows to him and why?
I’ve been paying tribute to Sam Cooke since 2009. The show has evolved over the years. It orginally started as a one hour show where I performed like 5 or 6 songs of his and 5 or 6 songs of my own. It was an attempt to show the similarities in his musical journey and my own.
Later the show became all about Sam Cooke. It was a one-hour show telling his life story through the evolution of his music. I wanted to take the listener on a journey from Sam’s gospel roots to his secular achievements through his awakening as a civil rights activist.
Now, the show is two hours long. I still tell Sam Cooke’s story through hi. Still, Ic, but I take a deeper dive into his influence and contribution to soul music and his motivations for getting involved in the civil rights movement, adding a little more bells and whistles to illustrate the times.
The two-hour set includes:
Twisting the Night Away
Touch the Hem of His Garment
You Send Me
Bring it on Home
Nothing Can Change This Love
Ease My Troubling Mind
Blowing in the Wind
A Change is Gonna Come
Having a Party
What would you like people to know about Sam Cooke that learned from your own research that is not often spoken about or not spoken about enough
I want people to know everything good about Sam Cooke. His legacy and contributions to music, soul music, and the business of music are pioneering. Without him, there is no soul music; there is no Motown, no Bad Boy so forth, and so on. A Change is Gonna Come was the soundtrack for the Civil Rights Movement, and his evolution from vain pop star to social justice activist and everything in between is inspiring. It should be celebrated the same way we do, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Muhammed Ali, and Jim Brown.
What were your thoughts of the Netflix Sam Cooke documentary of 2019 and the “Night in Miami” from last year?
The Netflix documentary “The Two Killings of Sam Cooke” was very well done and informative for those who may not have known much about him. I am very familar with his story and it is one of the main reasons I do this show, to keep his legacy alive. As time passes, if we do not continue to share his story his contributions to the world will unfortunately fade like many of our greats.
I loved “One Night In Miami.” I’m not sure those events or personality characterizations were true to life or made for TV, but getting insight into what their personalities and their possible relationships with one another could have been was amazing and humanized these bigger-than-life icons. I hope they tell more of these stories similar to what they are doing with “Godfather of Harlem.”
The Music of Sam Cooke starring Bradd Marquis A Change is Gonna Come
2022 Tour Dates:
January 8, 2022 – Modesto, California
Gallo Center for the Arts
1000 I Street, Modesto, CA 95354
Showtime: 7:30 pm
January 15, 2022 – Longview, TX
LeTourneau University Belcher Center
2100 S. Mobberly Ave, Longview TX 75602
Showtime: 7 pm
January 20, 2022 – Lake Wales, FL (2 one hour gigs same day)
Lake Ashton Community Development District
4141 Ashton Club Drive, Lake Wales, FL 33859
Showtimes: 5 pm and 8 pm
January 21, 2022 – Lake Worth, FL
Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College
4200 Congress Ave, MS #62
Lake Worth, FL 33461
Showtime: 8 pm
February 5, 2022 – Flint, Michigan
Flint Cultural Center Corporation Inc/ Capital Theatre
140 East 2nd St., Flint, MI 48502
Showtime: 8 pm
February 11, 2022 – Wayne, NJ
Shea Center For Performing Arts
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470
Showtime: 8 PM