Theon-Marcel Phokeerdoss is a jack of all trades. A British singer, songwriter, and illustrator, he was born in London and spent his childhood there, prior to moving to Ghana; the place where his roots lie. 18 years ago, he resided back in London for good, pursuing his several creative ventures here.
With him always deriving influence from fantastical narratives, action and superheroes, he accumulated inspiration from this imagery and expressed interest in becoming somewhat of a hero himself, which is reflected in the name “Fantastic Mr Marcel”. “It was during this time I began to express myself in a way that established my individuality and my signature style as an artist,” Phokeerdoss says. It’s a handy thing to know this, as upon receiving the email with his name in, I thought it was some kind of eccentric, regressing CBeebies-inspired artist. Immaturity is not handy.
Having mainly listened to R&B, soul and indie music whilst growing up, this is certainly prominent in his music when it comes to the lyrical side, though the instrumentals could be interpreted as clinical-sounding, almost. The track’s intro begins with a series of repetitive, even twinkling beats. After not too long, it sounds as if a faint gong is being hit in the background, before bringing this to the foreground of the piece and reaching an instrumental climax before the punchy lyrics are eased in.
As the beats spiral, and the gongs heighten before swiftly halting, Phokeerdoss’ vocals pour in; consisting of a cocktail of rawness, clarity and a hint of tranquillity, even. “The night’s gold, I’m ice cold,” his voice pours through, and it’s refreshing to hear the stripped-back nature of it. As opposed to being immediately plunged into an abyss of rapidly progressing lyrics which convey little meaning, he takes his time.
That’s until you get midway through, of course, which is when these soulful, melancholy little utters are replaced with littering of suggestive imperatives. It’s a transformation from timid to tumultuous, as he cranks it up a few notches, and shifts from a soulful display to an element of slightly more hardcore R&B.
“Let me get close to ya,” he belts out, with a confidence that is so prominent that it boosts the provocativeness by about a million percent. But somehow, it works. It’s typical of the genre and it’s certainly typical of Fantastic Mr Marcel. It’s a plethora of refreshing sass, with a dash of the typical and expected risqué-ness.
And then, all of a sudden, the sass winds down and we’re left with the remaining few beats of the track; followed by a concluding grunt which wraps together the track with a brash bow. It’s an initially meek track which wholeheartedly shifts into an R&B infused piece of pure zest.