Newbie Marques Houston fans are most likely eager to see him on film. Those who used to crush on him when he was “Batman” from Immature are probably yearning for more music. And that’s what he’s delivering with his latest album, Famous.
The former 1990s boy band star took a hiatus from music in recent years to focus on his acting career and establish Franchise Boys (his own TV/production company). But lately he’s been pulling more balancing acts as an artist, actor and businessman. He’s actively auditioning for and producing movies, and cranking out new music.
M. H.’s recently released video for “Only You” is rapidly amassing YouTube views, and based on the comments for the Marvin-Gaye themed song, making some now grown up ’80s babies very happy. EBONY.com caught up with M. H. for a quick chat about his moves as a businessman, making Famous, and how his new material takes fans back to his roots.
EBONY: You’ve been quiet on the music front. What have you been up to?
Marques Houston: I took a break from the music industry to pursue my career in acting and executive producing. I started a film and television company. I executive produced and produced four films over the course of the last few years, and it’s been going really well for me. But I had to switch gears back to music, because my fans on Instagram and Twitter kept hitting me up like, “You gotta come with some new music, we miss you.”
So I don’t ever want to disappoint my fans, and I know it sounds cliché, but I really got back in the studio because of my fans. And bringing you up to speed, we got the new single out called “Only You,” and I got the new album, so things are happening. I also have a movie for the Up network scheduled to be released in August called The Love Letter, with myself, Jackée Harry and Keshia Knight Pulliam. So I’m just trying to stay busy.
EBONY: Is your goal to become a movie mogul along the lines of Tyler Perry or Will Packer?
MH: Tyler Perry and Will Packer are definitely doing their things as far as film, but I look up to Will Smith and Jamie Foxx. These are the guys that I follow and try to model my career after because they come from music. I try to follow that pattern because Jamie Foxx is successful at both and Will Smith as well, so I would like to be successful at both just like these guys. And Tyrese too. That’s like my big brother and he does both. So guys that come from music like myself are the guys that I look up to.
EBONY: What’s the concept behind Famous?
MH: God has blessed me with a successful long-lasting career, and he’s blessed me with the opportunity to do so much and be known for so many things—like You Got Served, Fat Albert and my music. There’s so many people that know me from Sister, Sister but don't know that I was in Immature, or they only followed my solo career. And some people just know You Got Served. So there’s so many things I’ve been blessed to be a part of, and that’s why I felt like the title was appropriate for this album.
EBONY: You seem like a good candidate for a reality TV show. Is that already in the works?
MH: I’m not opposed to it. I’m not rushing to try to get my own show. I’ve had a couple of offers that I turned down because it wasn’t the time. But you never know what could happen. Maybe one day.
EBONY: You’d be able to control it since you have your own production company.
MH: I’m very selective with things that I do, and I’m a very private person. As much as people think that because I’m an artist I like the camera, I actually don’t like having cameras around me all the time. I don’t know how I’d deal with that, because I’m not the person that likes to be in front of the camera all the time. I know it seems weird, but the times that I’ve put myself in front of the camera are the times that I like being in front of it. Other than that, I like keeping my personal side personal and my business side business. Me and my girl—our lives are very private.
EBONY: Speaking of your girlfriend, a longtime fan of yours asked via Twitter if there were wedding bells in your near future.
MH: You never know. But it’s too early to tell.
EBONY: Another asked if you were still cool and in touch with your Immature/IMX bandmates, and what your current relationship was like with them.
MH: Of course! Romeo, Jerome Jones, actually runs the film and television company with me. And Kelton, LDB, does his thing. But we’re in touch. The important thing for our relationship is, we were friends first. We’re always gonna be friends no matter what we do as far as business; the friendship is always gonna be there. We’re always together. We always hang out. We’re still cool.
EBONY: As someone who survived the curse of the child star, what would your 30-year-old-self tell yourself as a teenager and young adult about the industry?
MH: I’ve been blessed with an outstanding career and I wouldn’t change a thing. But I would definitely give the advice to make sure to stay humble and keep God first. That would be my advice to anybody new coming up, and to myself at a young age.
Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting B-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.