A blog series featuring Kuumba Lynx
AS I AM Creatives
Feature: Marshan “Shan Tha Mac” Hall (@shanthamac_)
Interviewer: Ava Jackson
AS I AM is a new initiative for 18+ supporting opportunities that further a participant’s professional and artistic development. This blog series will highlight members of the AS I AM collective.
In this interview, we talk to Marshan, 21, an AS I AM Core Creative and musical mastermind. Marshan has been a member of Kuumba Lynx since he was about 9 years old. He holds a plethora of creative skills, including acting, songwriting, emceeing, photography, sound production, fashion designing, and playing a variety of instruments. With the debut of his highly anticipated body of work “Euphoria” the Mixtape, Marshan is back in the studio this time creating access and knowledge for the youth of Kuumba Lynx to learn about music production and vocal control.
What was your inspiration for “Euphoria”?
My Inspiration For Euphoria came from when I first thought of the concept of knowing a happiness so powerful that nothing could ruin it. My Concept Changed Last Year After my last relationship which turned it from an all good to a crescendo of music ranging from sad to happy, happy to sad, I mixed a blend of feelings to create a 24 Track Mixtape (no one is capable of releasing that much music with this much confidence at least not any local rapper) but that’s what sets me apart. I’m Literally Getting Free Through my music and Kuumba Lynx.
What’s different about this body of work from your others?
I think the fact that it’s 24 songs that aren’t all about the same thing, the fact that I’ve done more singing on this project, and I’ve finally found ways to incorporate my rapping skills into my singing skills and show case both.
Why did you choose to release “Euphoria”? on Valentines Day?
I Chose Valentines Day Because That’s When Everyone’s mostly in their feelings and Are all over the place with them. I figured different people could relate to different tracks on the tape for different reasons.
How would you describe the AS I AM program?
I just feel like the program is something that everybody who has the chance to do should do. It will benefit your artistry and your life actually more deeper than your craft, it benefits your life financially, gives you those connections that you will need to succeed later on in life.
What does it mean to you to be selected into the program?
It’s actually great, I had no idea what it was until they told me I was one [laughing]. I’ve been around all these years and I’m just like ‘ok what is this?’ and now that I know it’s like wow…I’m humbled, grateful.
What are some of your AS I AM professional goals?
I stressed to my mentors that I wanted to release a mixtape by February 14th and so far that’s looking pretty good. Another goal was for my students to produce enough music to be able to perform any time and I’m pretty sure we went overboard. Pretty much every goal I set for AS I AM I’ve covered so it’s to the point that I have to fill out a new goal sheet.
What are some artistic goals you are trying to achieve? You mentioned that you want to drop some music by February 14th.
Hopefully I’ll gather more resources so that I won’t have to go through anybody to book shows or um set myself up for these type of events so I can perform and educate other people. Basically, if I can find my own way to give back to the people, to give back, then yeah.
Tell me about your experience so far in the AS I AM?
Well the training is very strenuous [laughing] and it’s not necessarily hard it’s just a lot to take in. It’s kind of like stuff you already know but it’s worded to you in a different way for kids like I have to assume someone is being harassed and then we’ll do a workshop on what to do versus what I would do in my head, it’s like completely different. It’s their way of saying it’s the right way, so it’s good. So I like it, it’s great.
How was your Cuba experience?
It was a lot to take in, a lot of what everybody should gain, a lot of life lessons learned. Kind of like changed the gradient of my music.
So that was the most inspiring, what has been the most challenging in working towards your goals?
Well the most challenging part would be like dealing with those students who don’t know what they quite wanna do yet, so they linger around and get nothing done because they are actually sitting and figuring out whether they want to be in my space or not, so it’s really challenging. So sometimes you wanna be like ‘get the hell outta here!’ [laughing]. But of course I don’t.
What has been most rewarding in having this role in AS I AM?
The most rewarding thing has been being able to just come and create my art freely and then have the youth along for the ride with me…like I can easily show the youth my music and they can be like ‘well I feel like you should do this’ it feels good to see that the youth are really doing what I taught them to do.
What would you say to the next set of AS I AM youth who want to be part of this program? What can they learn from your journey?
What I would say to them is to just be ready for a lot of work. It’s not for everybody, I don’t think…I don’t even know how I made it through [laughing] because every person that I know in As I Am I kind of grew up with except maybe for like one or two, and I know how everyone is. I would advise anybody who is trying to do it just be ready for a ton responsibilities.
Any last comments on your AS I AM experience? Anything you would change?
I kind of like it the way it is. The only thing I would say, which they would disagree with, is that obviously I love performing, if I could perform everyday I would do it but they’re gonna be like no.