On Land of CanAan the Daytona, FL born musician – who currently splits his time between Antwerp, NYC, and London – drew inspiration from love and longing and by reading the autobiography My Bondage My Freedom, by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. “Land Of CanAan stems from an upbringing in America’s Deep South. It was while reading the Douglass’ autobiography that Toliver would come across the refrain found on the albums opening title track. “There was a line in there about the slaves singing, ‘Oh CanAan, Sweet CanAan, I am bound to the land of Canaan…'” recalls Toliver.
Watch the live video for “Control”
Marques Toliver & The Sometimes – “Control” (live at Miloco Studios)
While Toliver seemed to burst onto the scenes in the UK with an arresting performance on Later With Jools Holland, and a declaration from Adele as her “new favourite artist,” his story begins many years ago in Florida. It was there he began his training in classical violinist at the age of 10, and would later enroll in music school. Frustrated with academia however, and keen to throw him-self into the real world of music making. Toliver took a leap of faith and traveled to New York City. Through busking in subways and working as a freelance musician, he was noticed by and quickly made friends with fellow artists. Soon enough he found himself playing live and on records for the likes of Holly Miranda, Grizzly Bear, and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.
Not content to sit still, he would again throw caution to the wind and move to London, where after winning over that city’s musical landscape in similar fashion, he signed to Bella Union and released his well-received debut EP Butterflies Are Not Free. Following world wide tours in support of the EP, he would begin work on the mixtape Studying For My Ph. D, a cornucopia of music, speech, loops, and news reports from the London Riots. Toliver described the project as “my way to apply my skills as arranger and beat maker.” Through the mixtape he would also delve in to some of the themes and ideas that would eventually influence his full-length debut Land of CanAan, a work brimming with his own unique R&B and Classical music influences. “I take my own route,” he says of his adventurous life to date. All in all, Land of CanAan is where R&B meets Classical Music.
Land of CanAan will be released May 14th via Bella Union. Stay tuned for further Spring and Summer North American tour dates TBA.