LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Inside the Mercury Ballroom on a June summer night, Louisville’s newest sensation Marzz waits in anticipation to give fans a show.
As music fills the streets of South Fourth Street, crowds begin lining up with tickets in hand, ready to see the return of the up and coming R&B singer at the Ballroom.
“I feel it’s the atmosphere is what makes it so different,” they said.
Marzz, who is signed to Keep Cool/RCA Records, is back at the venue for a second time where others like fellow Louisvillians Bryson Tiller and Jack Harlow have also graced the stage.
“I just wanted to connect and vibe with y'all, this is my home,” they said.
This night, it’s different. It’s the first time since releasing their full-length album “Love Letters” to fans – Martians as they call them, across the country.
“Baby, that’s my heartbeat. Got me looking – going crazy,” they said.
The journey to Marzz started in Louisville for Laria McCormick, a Fairdale High School graduate. The humble beginnings put the singer on the path to reaching for the stars.
They started singing in church from an early age where their mother and grandmother were both heavily involved in church leadership.
“Since I was a kid, I grew up in church. Singing in the children's choir, I feel like that had a lot influence too. Literally being a pk (preacher's kid), my aunties and them always had me singing solo in the choir, I used to hate it cuz it’s like literally all eyes on me,” Marzz said.
Marzz said their sound and gender identity, which is non-binary, moved them away from the church and toward the R&B billboard charts.
Marzz prefers the pronouns "they, their and them" – not “she.”
“I feel like in the church there was a lot of judgmental people. You know what I’m saying, it’s kind of weird to transition from that, but it felt good to transition into a place where I felt welcome – where I knew that ain’t nobody going to judge me,” they said.
Drawing from personal experiences of hardship and heartache, Marzz poured out feelings on pages of notebooks – each with different colors – that would eventually become the inspiration for their debut release.
“I feel like really didn’t start getting into song writing in my music until I was like 11. You know what I’m saying, that’s when my mom and dad was going through a divorce. I kind of just went to notebooks. You know, just expressing myself, I wasn’t a real verbal kid growing up. I have different color notebooks that I write in,” they said.
It wasn’t until an Instagram post, standing out from the typical scrolling, that garnered the attention of super producer Timbaland. The stars began aligning for the young artist.
“Usually, I get like 300 views but then the day that I posted it this Jhené Aiko freestyle I believe. I had went in my phone, I woke up, and I see my phone kept going off – what's going on with my phone and I look on my Instagram -- I seen Timbaland repost it and I was like hold up – I was like hold up I started screaming, I was crying. I was like is this really him?” they said.
The social media post, plus their connection with Timbaland and several recordings in tow, landed them in front of RCA Records.
The songs of love and heartache would be released as a six-track EP that would take on a deeper meaning.
“Just me exploring, you know, figuring out self, loving myself, and understanding who I am as a person, you know what I’m saying.”
The standout single, “Countless Times,” dives right into their world.
The Mercury Ballroom would seem as far away as the moon, where Marzz was headed.
They captured national attention performing during the Soul Train Awards on the BET Amplified stage, receiving kudos from the likes of JaRule.
From that moment, Marzz skyrocketed into the stratosphere. They have been named a "Future Five Artist" by SiriusXM and Billboard magazine’s "R&B Rookie Artist" in April.
“It was a super humbling moment for me. I was like dang, ‘this is so incredible’, you know what I’m saying? I was like, speechless, I was like they really mess with me. I appreciate all the love cuz what else can I say other than thank you for hearing me,” they said.
The young artist’s career is coming at a time when the tide is changing in the music industry. Social media is playing a huge role in how hits are determined.
Their meaningful melodic vibe is separating them from the rest, pushing the realm of R&B music beyond its limits.
“I think I’m outside the box, like I don’t think that I make just R&B music. I make everything, like, it don’t matter what it is. I don’t even know if it’s got a name to it. The genre or the type of – whatever the beat or wherever the beat is taking me, that’s where I go,” they said.
Music and the way hits are made might be changing, but it’s not about topping the charts for the young artist.
“I ain’t gon' lie I don’t think I would be this far—you know what I mean? I still have so much more to go but I’m super grateful to be where I am at,” they said.
It’s the emotions of break-up and finding new love that gives Marzz and their Martians a world of their own.
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Marzz plays a game of round robin with the WHAS11 News team.