Memphian Marshall Mulherin will be taking his talents to Paris, France, this fall as a member of the Red Bull Music Academy. Out of over 4,500 applicants, Mulherin was one of the 61 candidates chosen for the 12-day program that offers workshops, lectures, studio time, and much more to what Red Bull considers the next wave of young, influential musicians.
Since forming Mulherin at Loyola University in New Orleans, twin brothers Marshall and Parker Mulherin have earned a loyal following, been compared to Drake and the Weeknd, and performed regional shows in addition to playing at Loyola. We caught up with Marshall to learn more about his project, what he plans to take away from the Red Bull Music Academy, and how it felt to learn his brother Parker (the other half of Mulherin) wouldn't be making the trip.
Flyer: How did you and your brother get into making music in Memphis?
We were born and raised in Memphis, and we went to Snowden for elementary and middle school and Central for high school. Ever since third grade, I wanted to be on the drum line, and I started playing snare drum once middle school came around. In high school, my brother and I were both drum captains on the drum line, but we hadn't really been singing.
It wasn't until we got to Loyola that we got interested in singing together. We had never sung in front of anyone until we got to college, and around our second year at Loyola, we started making beats and singing.
How would you describe the type of music you make?
The guy who wrote the bio for our Red Bull thing really captured it best. He called us "a downbeat pop and R&B-infused duo from Tennessee." Our harmonies are inspired by the Beatles instead of something like the Beach Boys, but the production definitely pulls from the darker side of R&B, similar to Drake, Frank Ocean, and the Weeknd. I'm starting to get into D'Angelo, the low-end, darker, and more brooding stuff. But I'm not always sad. I can make some happy stuff too.
How did you find out about the Red Bull Music Academy?
I found out about it from one of my friends at school who is a producer and just a really talented musician. I knew that Red Bull does a lot of music events, sporting events, and all of that stuff, but I wasn't too familiar with the academy. I also knew Amahl Abdul-Khaliq, a New Orleans rep for the Red Bull Music Academy. He encouraged me to apply, but he didn't have anything to do with the decision to accept me.
So the Red Bull Academy only chose you to go, even though this project is a duo with your twin brother. How did that work? Was your brother jealous?
That's just a rule that they have. If they invite a band to work at the academy, they don't want six people representing a band; they only want one. They want to benefit as many different artists and groups as possible, so they can only take one person per project. He's going to apply again next year, and he might apply for this thing they have called bass camp. They strongly suggested that he apply again next year, but it was very bittersweet to find out that I was going and he wasn't.
What do you hope to get out of your time spent at the Red Bull Academy?
The ultimate goal is to not have a real job in a few years. I've already gotten some good solid connections with some of the people who are going to the academy, but I want to build more connections and become a better producer and a better writer. There are so many different types of people attending, and all these different people from all of these different places, so I just want to soak it all in.
I'm also really excited about being in Paris. I took French class in college, so I'm hoping to get to try some out.
At the same time, I'm just excited to see what kind of music I'm going to make during or after this experience. It is satisfying to see your play numbers go up and your fan base go up, but to me the most satisfying thing is surprising yourself with something you've made. That's the main goal.
Could you see yourself going solo after the Red Bull Music Academy experience?
I'm not really considering a solo career right now. Mulherin is a very collaborative thing that we are doing together. Making art is something that connects us more, and we haven't experienced anything like that before. There aren't any solo plans for either of us; we are trying to build a career out of Mulherin at this point.
What does Mulherin have planned for the future?
We were planning on releasing an EP this summer, and we'll be making more music and releasing singles. We haven't really considered a full-length yet. We want to start with singles and wait to do an LP that really captures what we do. When that happens, it will probably be a 10-song deal.
Other than that, we have a lot of shows coming up over the school year, because our whole live band goes to school with us. In the summertime, everyone goes back to New Jersey, Boston, Memphis, or wherever.