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Presented by Little Village Foundation

Marcel Smith‘s debut solo album, Everybody Needs Love, marks the belated emergence of a commanding, massively talented vocalist who’s been honing his skills on the gospel circuit for decades. Everybody Needs Love showcases a persuasively soulful voice that’s been burnished through years of high-energy performances.

Everything about Smith shouts church, from his thrilling vocals and mastery of the stage, to his dignified-beyond-his-years offstage demeanor. Marcel grew up studying the work of such gospel quartet legends as Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys, Willie Rogers and Martin Jacox of the Soul Stirrers, and Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds. When he was just 15, quartet gospel veteran Willie Washington heard Marcel do a featured solo in his local church. Impressed, Washington offered him a spot in his new quartet, the WD Gospel Singers. So, at 16, Marcel began singing and playing with a group of gospel veterans. Working with the WDs gave Marcel the opportunity to hone his house-wrecking vocal chops. He found himself performing on programs with many of the genre’s greatest artists, allowing him to soak up the spirit and craft of these gospel giants.

Marcel Smith’s impeccable sense of history is reflected in some of his more inventive choices of material on Everybody Needs Love, e.g. the Sam Cooke chestnut “Keep Moving On,” the timelessly relevant “Poor Man’s Struggle,” the Bobby Womack classic “Harry Hippie” and the gospel standard “This Little Light of Mine.”  Smith doesn’t consider Everybody Needs Love a gospel album so much as he regards it as “inspirational music.” Whatever one calls it, the long-overdue solo debut is a stylistically adventurous collection that showcases Marcel Smith’s transcendent talent, boundless passion, and deep soul fervor.

“I record songs that make people think,” the artist comments. “I want people to be inspired by the songs. These songs are to encourage people that even when things are bad, it’s gonna be alright and not always going to be bad. We are in it together, we have each other to draw from and support.  This is the nature of the album, to allow listeners to reflect on their own lives and see their own center.”