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Interview with Marshall Charloff of Purple Xperience who will be performing at the Arcada Theatre New Year’s Eve

Marshall Will Be Performing with Purple Xperience on New Year’s Eve at the Arcada Theatre

Fox Valley Magazine: You grew up in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis. How did you first become involved in music and did his heavy influence on the music scene there shape you as musician?

Marshall: I set out to learn music after attending a Jr high talent show, where I witnessed my female classmates screaming with adoration at the band that was performing…I pretty much decided right then and there that I was going to do that! It was an epic time to be an aspiring musician in Minnesota. Lipps Inc’s Funkytown, from Minnesota, was #1 on the charts and Prince was beginning to stake his claim as the dominator of all things funk and the Minneapolis Sound.

Fox Valley Magazine: What lead to you to form Purple Xperience with Matt Fink, (Dr. Fink) keyboardist of Prince and The Revolution?

Marshall: I was fortunate to have known Matt for many years prior to forming PX with him. We worked together in the studio on various 94 East recordings and we were put together in early 2011 to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame benefit concert. It was there that we discussed the project, and later that same year we had our first show in California.

Fox Valley Magazine: When did you first meet Prince?

Marshall: I first met Prince when I was 18. I was introduced to Prince in front of his recording studio/rehearsal warehouse, by his first cousin, Frank. Frank and I were in a band together and he took me to meet his cousin. This was the first of many times that I had the opportunity to
meet him.

Fox Valley Magazine: Could you share one of your best personal experiences with him.

Marshall: The first meeting was pretty special. I asked P for his autograph and his reply was that he didn’t give autographs…but he’d give one to me. He said “Where’s your pen/paper?” I replied with “I don’t have either”. He said “That’s too bad!” But then he waited for about 5 minutes in the parking lot while I went and hunted down pen and paper. After he signed the autograph with “Love God- Prince”, he personally invited Frank and me into the warehouse to watch the rest of band rehearsal. The story goes on for days but you’ll have to catch me for part II of the interview for all that!

Fox Valley Magazine: How did you feel and react after hearing the news of Prince’s passing on April 21st , 2016? Too many emotions all happening at once to accurately describe them to you.

Marshall: Prince was a living legend and was almost transcendent while he was here. As a teacher, he left us all with a wealth of material that will take us a lifetime to fully appreciate and process. While I was mostly in shock, there was still a part of me that felt at peace. He was a master and will be celebrated and revered for generations to come.

Fox Valley Magazine: The following night on April 22nd, 2016 you were scheduled to perform at the Arcada Theatre. You ultimately did decide to go ahead with the show. Why did you and could you take us back to that night.

Marshall: I had falsely assumed that the concert was going to be cancelled. I had no intentions of performing as Prince 24 hours after his passing. I called Matt “Dr” Fink to check on him and offer my condolences, as well as discuss the logistics of cancelling the show. It was then that I learned that Matt was overwhelmed with the media that had camped out on his lawn, but that he wanted to go ahead and honor the scheduled performance in St. Charles. I told Matt that I couldn’t do it, and that it felt wrong. It was Matt’s contention that people needed this show to process and to grieve, and that we now had a great responsibility to honor the performance. I basically agreed to do it because Matt needed me to, but I agreed under duress. However, once I took the stage, I was overwhelmed with emotions. The audience was feeding me so much love and healing energy, that it just felt right…and that feeling continues today.

Fox Valley Magazine: You’re also the only Prince Tribute endorsed by Prince’s Estate which is quite an honor.

Marshall: I honestly can’t say if we are the “Only” that are licensed and authorized directly by the Prince Estate, as well as by the publisher of the music catalogue, but we are certainly in very elite company to boast both. The Estate wants to set a standard of musical excellence, as represented by the artist himself. Remember, we started this show in 2011 with Prince’s understanding. He told us that he wanted it to be about the music and not about the imagery,costuming, affected impersonation etc. Unfortunately, since Prince passed, there have been hundreds of tribute bands coming out of the woodwork, and their qualifications aren’t always about musicianship. If you are a Prince tribute artist and you aren’t a player…maybe you should’t be honoring the greatest MUSICIAN of our generation. Don’t just hold an unplugged guitar in your hand and put on a Purple coat, please and thank you! 🙂

Fox Valley Magazine: You have written a song with Prince’s sister Sharon Nelson called ColOURs. How did this collaboration come about?

Marshall: Yes, I had learned that Sharon was saying very nice things about me on Twitter and was a fan of our show. Ron Long, who is our bassist in the group, and who used to be in a band with Sharon’s (and Prince’s) father, John Nelson, gave me Sharon’s number so I could thank her for the support and invite her to the next Minneapolis show. Sharon accepted my invite, came to the show, and afterwards, she invited me to her home to discuss collaborations. She proceeded to tell me about how her father and brother both received fully conceived melodies in their sleep and would wake up and record them into a tape player to work on later. She shared with me that since her brother’s passing, she has now started to get strong melodies in her sleep but needed me to be the vessel to materialize these melodies into song format and to produce them in my style, of which she was a fan. The song will be included on my upcoming LP entitled “Marshall Charloff, Unperfect”, but it is also available now in limited release on streaming sites, itunes and Marshallcharloff.com

Fox Valley Magazine: I’m sure you get asked this a lot but what are your favorite Prince songs that you like to perform?

Marshall: I love performing solo on the piano where I can do impromptu sing-a-longs with my audience. That’s when I get to learn just how many actual fans are in the room vs. the casual fan that only wants to hear the radio hits. But, I must say that I love performing Purple Rain because of how much it means to everyone. It’s become an anthem and I get to lead the healing 🙂

Fox Valley Magazine: Well we are all looking forward to your show at The Arcada Theatre on New Year’s Eve. Will you be performing any of your own songs?

Marshall: On Jan 31st 2020, I am releasing 2 Chords , the first single off of the new album. I may work that into the show, or do a bit of Colours during my solo piano medley. Many people have my first album Marsha11 Eleven and come to our shows wearing T-shirts that THEY MADE for my songs. There is definitely a rapidly-growing demand for my original songs at these shows. But, thus far, it’s been a challenge to find the proper balance to offer fans of my original and my tribute work. However, the plan is to change that in 2020 and do Marshall original shows either separately, or as VIP opening shows for PX. Stay tuned for that:)

For Tickets Go to: http://www.arcadalive.com/event/purple-xperience/

The Purple Xperience is a five-piece group hailing from Prince’s birthplace, Minneapolis, MN. They have been touring around the country since it’s inception in 2011 by Dr. Fink and front-man Marshall Charloff – bringing the greatest and most authentic production of Prince and The Revolution in the world to audiences of all generations. Since 2011 Purple Xperience has
entertained well over 300 thousand fans and has shared the bill with The Time, Cameo, Fetty Wap, Gin Blossoms, Atlanta Rhythm section, and Cheap Trick.

Lead singer, Marshall Charloff, not only styles the magic of Prince’s talent in an uncannily unmatched fashion with his appearance, vocal imitation, and multi-instrumental capacity on guitar and piano, but Marshall performs nationwide fronting world-class symphonies in most major cities in the US and Canada. Recently, Marshall Charloff teamed up with the famous jazzman Marcus Anderson (New Power Generation, 3rd Eye Girl sax player) in Raleigh, NC to
perform with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.

Marshall recorded with Prince on the album 94 East, (where Marshall plays both, keyboards and bass guitar and Prince is on lead vocals). Pepe Willie, who discovered Marshall, was also responsible for getting Prince’s career up and running. In 2009, Marshall teamed up with Doctor Fink from Prince and the Revolution and Pepe Willie from the band 94 East to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame benefit concert (On the same bill were Cheap Trick, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and the Georgia Satellites).

Marshall Charloff is a celebrated producer and recording artist. He produced, wrote and recorded for the Multi-Platinum and Grammy award winning Commodores. Produced, Wrote and recorded for Hall of Fame Inductee Little Anthony (Little Anthony and the Imperials). His skills paved the way for Marshmallow Fields: a 1990s production team consisting of Marshall,
Grammy winner John Fields (The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and Switchfoot), and Steven “Funkytown” Greenberg and their single charted on the Billboard Top 100 dance charts and is still in rotation amongst DJs around the country. Marshall is also an inductee in the Mid America Music Hall Of Fame as a member of the band Westside.

Marshall Charloff’s band, Purple Xperience, hosts a number of world-class players, including: Tracey Blake on Lead guitar (played with New Power generation, Sons of Almighty featuring members of NPG, Tracey Blake Project, Westside: inducted in the Midwest hall of fame), Ron Long on Bass guitar (played with Christina Aguilera, The Backstreet Boys, 98°, also recorded
with John L, Larry Blackman of Cameo, and Spike Lee), Ron Caron on Drums (played with the Rembrandts, Tina and the B sides, The Melismatics). Cory Eischen on Keys (played with New Power Generation, Prince’s protégé group: Mazarati, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner and Dan Wilson from Semisonic).

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