By: Beth Casteel
Sitting in the slightly crowded restaurant, the chaotic mixture of casual conversations and a playlist of the top 40 songs combined to create a laid-back atmosphere for the students who were dining in the Student Center’s Chili’s.
The commotion of people coming in and out set a lively tone in the room. Sitting at one of the tables outside of the main room, Marcel Dear, a senior majoring in psychology with a knack for hip-hop, patiently awaited to be interviewed.
After starting the interview, he began to talk about his life up until this point and where he plans on going once graduating from Cleveland State University.
“It’s funny because I grew up listening to jazz and R&B, but my parents tried to shield me from rap and hip-hop. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old where I got hip to an artist called Ice Cube and I started listening to [artists like him],” Dear said. “That’s when I just started writing, trying to see if I could do this because I knew I was cool at poetry [but I wanted] to see if I could put it into song.”
After learning how to rhyme and putting his own rhyme schemes together, Dear took his talents to the stage barely a year later.
Nervous could not even begin to describe how he was feeling. Yet, after taking the stage that first night, he realized that performing was what he wanted to do.
Fast forward a couple of years later, he’s worked tirelessly to perfect his craft, which paid off in the form of his first real-deal show when he was 19, where he opened for Tech N9ne and Steve Stone. After that show, Dear started to become more serious when it came to making music.
It was his will to succeed that has brought him to where he is now. He’s currently in the process of creating his own mixtape, “No More Parties on West 6th,” and his first album, “Things Have Changed.” In addition to working on his music, he’s touring, and he has a few out-of-state shows coming up.
While hip-hop has been a primary focus for him, it isn’t the only thing he plans on doing once he’s finished with school.
As of right now, he is working towards a major in psychology with a minor in music. After he graduates, Dear plans on putting to use his psychology degree in more ways than one.
On top of blending some of the theories and topics he’s learned from psychology and putting them into songs, he also wants to put his major towards helping people. To do so, he plans on creating his own counseling practice across the country and in Cleveland to help people with problems they may be having.
“I just love helping people, it’s become a knack for me. Helping people, making sure that they get back on their feet,” Dear said. “I believe that everybody deserves a second chance at life.”
While the primary focuses in his life is music and school, he does take the time to focus on other aspects of his life. Not only does he draw inspiration from looking at art and watching horror films, he enjoys acting.
He hasn’t tried out for anything yet, but Dear says getting involved with acting has helped him with his stage presence. By taking him out of his comfort zone, he easily interacts with the crowd more.
One of the biggest things he enjoys doing is charitable work and giving back to the community, whether that be making donations or helping with food banks. He also helps coach the students back at his old school in wrestling practice.
His pride in the community is taken on the road with him as he tries to stay as involved as he can with the Cleveland music scene.
He also recruits people that he meets who want to make it. Taking the motto “when one of us eats, we all eat,” as a means to keep moving forward, he tries to find people who have the same mentality – never taking excuses or quitting when the going gets tough.
It’s with that mentality that he has become so successful. He remains hopeful that things will continue to grow from this point forward.
“I take it a day at a time. Every day I’m always writing, I’m always listening to different material to find inspiration. I sometimes look around and see the inspiration that I need,” Dear said. “I know school is the main priority because I’m graduating next year and then I’ll have more time to get more music out.”