Marc E. Bassy Stripped Down for New York City
The hearts of New York beat for Bassy at Gramercy Theatre.
The hearts of New York beat for Bassy at Gramercy Theatre.
“MARC E. BASSY SOLD OUT” beamed from the Gramercy Theatre marquee like a beacon on 23rd Street. Doors opened at 7:00 pm sharp, but at 6:30 pm the line was already around the block. Three girls were standing by the will call booth, and one girl in particular, Jessica, seemed to know Marc. “We’re childhood friends,” she explained of her relationship with the headlining artist, as she introduced herself in line.
The clock turned to 7:00 pm, the doors opened, and fans eagerly flooded into the theatre, claiming front row spaces in anticipation for the night’s musical rendezvous. Watching the chaos ensue from afar, conversations commence among a plethora of the night’s attendees who happened to be Bassy’s long-time friends from the Bay Area, where he’s from.
“The Bay Area has majorly influenced my musical style, mostly because it allows for a very eclectic sound,” Bassy explained in the green room following his performance. “There, you don’t look to anywhere else to feel like you made it.” The overwhelming sense of hometown camaraderie permeated through Bassy’s friends as pre-show banter continued, evidently proving the Bay Area’s innate power present in both the artist’s music and relationships.
Conversations ceased as blaring cheers and alternating colored lights welcomed up-and-coming R&B vocalist Xavier White to the stage. Performing a mixture of dance-inducing original songs, including “Love Questions” and “Take It All the Way,” and impeccable covers of legendary hip-hop tracks, Xavier commanded the music hall’s attention as he bounded between modern iterations of electronic music. “Xavier is really talented,” Bassy reflected after the show. “He’s really, really good.” As the New York-based artist closed his set, audience members found themselves freshly-amped, a splendid segue to the night’s preceding performers: Gianni & Kyle.
Maryland-bred singer-songwriting duo Gianni & Kyle are the official openers for Bassy’s North American PMD Tour, and the New York City show especially excited them. “Marc is one of our favorite artists of all time,” Gianni told us. “It's just an honor to even be here with him, to be honest. It's a lot of fun.” The dynamic performers ignited the crowd with fan-favorite singles “pop a pill” and “do u even miss me at all?” and then proceeded to pull out two hilariously constructed bar graphs comparing their musical success to that of hip-hop superstar Drake. After the music-making pair harmonized through the last song in their set, fans went ballistic as they walked off stage, leaving an empty spotlight for the vocalist of the night: Marc E. Bassy.
Bassy finished final preparations before landing in the wings for his call time, but before revealing himself, he made time to complete exactly 70 jumping jacks and 40 push-ups, a pre-show ritual he’s diligently practiced since his early performing days. The stage went dark and his accompanying guitarist electrified the theatre with a powerful solo in prelude to Bassy’s rockstar-like entrance. Deafening screams ricocheted the Gramercy Theatre’s acoustics as Bassy emerged from the dark and began with his opening song: "Supply."
Claiming the set’s initial tone with verified anthems “4am” and “Save Me,” the 32-year-old singer then revealed a shocking surprise with his next song, “Morning”. Bassy invited a day-one fan onto the stage and serenaded her as she swayed and sang the lyrics word-for-word in her chair. Out of nowhere, the long-time follower fronted a confused expression as her apparent boyfriend walked onto the stage and warmly embraced her in front of the crowd. All of a sudden, the audience roared as he got down on one knee, pulled out a glistening diamond ring and asked, “Will you marry me?”. Bassy’s megafan burst into tears and instantly accepted, while the match-making vocalist chimed in, “That’s a big ass rock too, shit.” It was a moment so dreamlike it was hard to believe it was real, but in actuality, this was the fourth proposal to take place on Bassy’s stage.
In transition, Bassy gave a shout out to a special friend before performing his famed single “You & Me” featuring fellow Bay Area native G-Eazy. “I’m dedicating this next song to an old friend. She’s out there in the audience tonight,” Bassy announced. Innocent giggling came from the seated area where Jessica, the aforementioned friend of Bassy’s from outside, was sitting, and she admitted to her friends that the song is, in fact, dedicated to her. As the song progressed, the lyrics revealed it’s true intentions—an ode to a previous love affair with his high school girlfriend.
After Bassy’s cryptic dedication, the skilled vocalist transitioned from one song to the next with a powerful cadence, ultimately revealing a newly-strengthened sense of his own musical identity. That newfound awareness came after he simultaneously announced his departure from his previous record label and the birth of his independently owned company, New Gold Medal Records, in July 2019.
“Somehow you get boxed into this idea [when you’re signed to a label] where you have to appease these people in this building,” he explained. “They have the power now to buy something that's already popping and they’re not going to support you if you’re not already popular.” Putting the pressures of popularity aside, Bassy’s separation allowed for ample sound exploration and the freedom of experimentation. In regard to New Gold Medal Records, Bassy said, “We are completely responsible for our sound now. We are the adults. There's no one to look to, and there's no one to pat us on the back either.” While there may be no higher authority in the studio to affirm Bassy’s impressive vocal control, the crowd certainly made their satisfaction for his new tracks widely known throughout the show.
Bouncing between his older, classic tracks and fresh, new singles, Bassy ended the show with an epic rendition of “Die Hard.” “Good night everyone,” he exclaimed as he walked off, but the crowd wasn’t ready to call it quits. “Encore! Encore! Encore!” echoed across the theatre for minutes on end before Bassy’s signature logo lit up the stage in a lime green hue and the singer ran back out on stage asking, “Should we sing another song?” The band immediately led into Bassy’s encore track “Subway Car,” a satisfactory, final choice for the New York audience. Bassy concluded his final note, his arms rose as the crowd’s cheers grew louder, and the stage lights went out. It was a night to remember, to say the least.
Following the show, Bassy sipped on Hennessy in the green room while speaking on his growing life in the spotlight and the inherent sacrifices that come with that lifestyle. “I wouldn't leave my home and go on tour unless I felt really good about it,” he said. “I sacrifice a lot in my personal life to do this. I would like to have a wife and kids, and that’s just not feasible yet. So when I go on tour, I need to feel like it's worth it. Personally, professionally, in every way.”