Marvenis started his career as a major recording artist with Capitol/EMI/Liberty Records. At the same time he signed that deal he was also an original member of the Elektra Records recording artist Starpoint. Marvenis often shares the story of how Starpoint received its first RIAA Certification following their sold-out concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. As if that were not enough, upon his departure from Starpoint, after their famed "Restless Tour," (Object of My Desire) he joined forces with Gregory "Sugar Bear" Elliott, Valentino "Tino" Jackson, William "Ju Ju" House, Edward "Junie" Henderson, Benny "Scootah" Dancy, Michael "Go Go Mike" Taylor, Daryl "Tidy" Hayes and signed a major record deal with Virgin Records under the group name E.U. (Experience Unlimited).
Famed movie producer/director/writer/actor Spike Lee featured the group in his Sony-Tristar motion picture (School Daze) after discovering the band at Washington, D.C.'s "9:30 Club." The group's single, "Da Butt," peaked at the #1 position on the Billboard Hot Hip/R&B Singles Charts. Marvenis co-wrote, played all the instruments on, sang all background vocals and some lead, and produced the #4 Billboard/# 2 R&R top hit "Taste of Your Love."
Here's what Marvenis had to say about his departure from Starpoint:
"I can remember calling Ky (Adeyemo) and telling him to watch MTV because we were releasing our followup single to our #1 smash hit "Da Butt," Buck Wild, "live" from Daytona Beach during Spring Break that year. I also told him that we were nominated for a Grammy for "best single by a group or duo," we were up for a "Soul Train Award" for "best new artist," and we were also on our way to do the "Arsenio Hall Show" and play my hit song "Taste of Your Love" on it"
Heather Cohen, Esq.:
There are a lot of artists who contact me and ask for your advice on how to get a record deal. Do you have any advice for them today?
"The main advice I give artists these days is to decide whether or not music is going to be something they stick with for life. After they determine that it becomes easier to construct a plan of action. Here's why: Many artists are under the impression that once they reach a certain age it's too late for them to be taken seriously... That's simply not true in today's new digital based world. When's the last time you heard of anyone not loving a song because they found out the artist was older than 30? Never! You either like something you hear or you don't. Now, with that in mind, if you start adding things like images and video clips, and then the public sours after they are exposed to those things, that's quite another story."
"Music is similar to major sports in that it requires training, devotion, it's extremely competitive, and it often requires a substantial investment to be made by someone or some entity. In the case of athletes there are schools that invest in them and then, ultimately, the major leagues invest in them... It's no different in music. You first have to refine your craft, create a product, expose that product to the right executives or to the public, and then an if you are considered to be worthy, an offer is made to retain your services."
Heather Cohen, Esq.:
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from aspiring artists is this "How much does it cost to work with Marvenis?"
"The answer to that question is simple: It's always best for the potential client to let me know what their budget is limited to.
If you know anything about the music business the answer to the question of "How much does it cost?" could be any number an individual or company chooses to come up with. Obviously, in any business, the more you have to fund your project the more choices await you. However, for the sake of those artists without major funding behind their efforts, online projects start at $500.00. Even at the level of an online project costing $500.00 an aspiring artist with a smartphone or a computer could have a single out on iTunes within 2-weeks.
Heather Cohen, Esq.:
So many times artists will say things like "If you like how I sound so much why won't you pay for my demo?"
"My feeling is this... I might ask the artists "when you go to your doctor or perhaps an attorney... do you expect to have to compensate them for their time? If they answer "yes" I let them know that it's no different with music professionals"
Marvenis had this to say:
"I remember Toni [Braxton] calling the keyboardist of the Epic Records band Maniquin [Stanley Jones], who also used to tour with Toni, when we [E.U.] were performing on the Arsenio Hall Show"...and Stanley Jones said that Toni said "I'm glad to see someone finally made it from our town" When I spoke with her after the show I said "Toni... it's just not your time yet" We went on that year to receive a Grammy nomination for "best new single by a group or duo"...we didn't win... but we won the SOUL TRAIN AWARD for "best new artist"...We were on top of the world that year. The video for our song "Taste of Your Love," which I felt was "weak," stayed at the #1 position on BET for 11-weeks...and I also did something else that same year that I consider to be of historic proportion: I changed 1 clause in a contract meant to be a "work for hire" for the former guitarist of my group called MARZ (Make it Right) ... Bill Pettaway...
Back when Bill was producing Kevin Liles' rap group "The Numarx," I added a clause to Bill's horrible contract which basically said that if the songs "Rhyme So Def" or "Girl You Know It's True" ever became hits anywhere in the world Bill Pettaway's music publishing company would control a major share of the music publishing rights. The song ended up being the "rock/pop song of the year" (that same year), I ended up owning a piece of the rights as well... "Girl You Know It's True" (Milli Vanilli) has sold tens of millions... What a great year that was for Bill [Pettaway] Ky [Adeyemo], and I... That led to me placing the song "Bring It Back" on the RIAA Certified Platinum record "Love Child" with Latin Superstars Sweet Sensation and a whole bunch of record labels hiring me to produce major artists...
Here's what people don't know:
Had it not been for the success of "Milli Vanilli" "The Braxtons" would never have gotten signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis during that period. If you know anything about Toni Braxton's story then you know that it was when she and her sisters were dropped from Arista that LaFace Records elected to sign only she from the group. They're okay now since they have been enjoying some TV success with their Reality Show on WE TV...
Here's the funny thing about Clive Davis and I:
The first time I ever spoke with Clive Davis was when world famous musicians Dennis Chambers (drummer), Rodney "Skeets" Curtis(bassist), Greg Jackson (ZAPP), and I were all recruited to move to Atlanta to join famed R&B Icons Funkadelic... Clive Davis called our manager, the late John Searles' house one day, and I answered the phone... When he said "tell your manager Clive Davis called please" I was in shock... After that I looked at the notes right by the phone and it had the deal budget on it... The first number I saw was $300,000.00.
The first day that Dennis Chambers and I arrived Atlanta Bootsy Collins, the leader of "Bootsy's Rubber Band," threw a party for us... I remember Grady, Razor Sharp, Ray Davis, Fuzzy, and all these beautiful girls welcoming us to Atlanta that night. What did Dennis Chambers and I do? We aksed where the equipment was and directly went downstairs to the basement to play music and left the partying to everyone else upstairs... In fact, even after all these years, I still have those very recordings Dennis Chambers and I created that very night...