Things looking up for Lloyd Marcus Musician: At 47, a former graphic designer who dreamed of being a musician is beginning to see his dream come true.

June 23, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Three years ago, Lloyd Marcus quit his day job as a graphic designer at WJZ-TV to chase his dream of being a musician. He almost lost his house in Pumphrey, but he kept chasing the dream.

Now, with the release of his second CD, "Hello Baltimore," and a cassette, "Ravens," that he has submitted to the city's NFL team, he says things are looking up.

"I know I have what it takes, but it's just getting that right thing to click," said Marcus, 47, a fedora-wearing troubadour whose style ranges from pop to R&B to country.

The songs, mostly light and cheery, include a ditty titled "Ironman," a tribute to Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, and "Hello Baltimore," which led Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to declare May 4 "Lloyd Marcus Day." After years of rejection by major labels, Marcus has a contract to record a single on Gateway Entertainment, a Nashville-based country label, later this year.

"It's hard to break a talent. It's hard to break a record. It takes a lot of faith, patience, endurance, and if you have a ton of money that helps, too," said Richard Colanzi, Marcus' promoter.

Marcus has shown the faith and patience to overcome obstacles.

The oldest of five, he moved with his family to Pumphrey from the Lafayette housing project in Baltimore when he was 10.

As a boy, he sang in the children's choir at Holy Temple Church of Truth in Baltimore, where his father was an assistant pastor. The Rev. Lloyd E. Marcus, now pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Baltimore, wanted his son to be a gospel singer or a preacher.

Young Marcus had other ideas, however. He won a scholarship to Maryland Institute, College of Art, where he studied graphic design while he wrote music. But he flunked out after two years because of a drinking problem.

Pressure from his father to find a career in the church and friends who thought his music sounded "too white," combined with self-consciousness about a stutter and the pain of a failed first marriage led him to drink, he said.

He served two years in the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., returned to finish his degree and landed the job at WJZ, where he stayed 15 years. Ten years ago, he stopped drinking. And all the while, Marcus kept dreaming of a career as a musician.

When he left the job at WJZ, he couldn't find a gig for a year. The $25,000 he had saved had nearly run out. He and his wife, Mary Parker, maxed out their credit cards and fell behind on the mortgage.

"We were waiting for the auctioneer," said Parker, who manages her husband's career.

Things began to turn around after Marcus began singing for a disc jockey at parties. He developed a stage presence, he said, and began to get more work.

He released his first CD, "Lloyd Marcus, Life && Love," in 1991.

After his mother, Rodell, died two years ago, he and his father -- who can be heard as a background singer on "Little Moire," -- became closer.

"I think he has a great ministry because he puts out a positive message all the time, even though it's secular," said the elder Marcus.

'Ravens'

To hear excerpts of Lloyd Marcus' new CD, "Ravens," call Sundial at (410) 268-7736 and enter the 4-digit code 6115. For other local Sundial numbers, see the Sundial directory on Page 2A.

Pub Date: 6/23/96

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