Written By SNOH AALEGRA & MARCUS SEMAJ
Produced by J.Valle
Who's Marcus Semaj?
Marcus is a gifted writer, talented artist, & everyone's favorite friend. His tone is special & his writing is undeniable. I met Marcus at ZOE church, a community we both call home here in Los Angeles. It must've been fate that aligned us to connect at this particular moment because i was jamming to a Kanye West tune as Marcus was entering the building during worship rehearsal. Kanye is one of Marcus' favorite artists & both hail from the city of Chicago. After hearing Marcus' voice, I knew he was special. His tone & talent is too great to not be heard or known. I wanted to build and help this guy out in anyway I could. "Let's link. Send me some stuff you've written on." Marcus sends me demos he's written over random online beats that have those annoying tags looping every 3 seconds...
"O-M-G BEATS DOT COM *bomb drop* *explosion* *explosion*."
But in the midst of the distracting beat tags, his tone & vibe stood out so much and always made an impression. I'm thinking, people need to know about him, I gotta connect him with a few producers I know in the biz and have him write over quality beats/production.
How does this relate to Snoh's "FOOL FOR YOU"?
...It'll all connect, bare with me.
In November 2016, I started assisting for producer Wayne Miller at Selma Studios in Los Angeles. This is around the same time Marcus & I started connecting. I'd work with Wayne in the mornings & use the space to myself in the evenings. I've always been known as a guitarist throughout my career but learning with Wayne side by side, & meeting other great talents really encouraged me to pick up producing. Also being in various sessions throughout the years, I'd learn something different from each of the producers I've worked with. Marcus and I built a strong foundation during these times late 2016 going into 2017. We spent late hours into the AM at Selma recording ideas, perfecting our craft, talking music & vision. Very grateful for this space.
It's February 2017 & my good friend/producer T-Minus is back in LA. It's been a few years since we last connected. I took a few years off the industry and wasn't really active in session work or connecting with anyone really. I was getting back into the swing of things by now so meeting with Minus again was perfect timing & we picked up right where we left off. I know I had to tell him about Marcus...
"T, you gotta meet my friend Marcus. He sings, He writes. He's dope!" "Bring him through" he replies. That's the cool thing about T, he's open to meeting and collaborating with just about anyone. There's no ego & he isn't stingy with his knowledge. So Marcus comes through and they hit it off. We track some new ideas down, have life convo's, it was a fun session. A few months later, the three of us linked again at a studio in Santa Monica. This is when Marcus & I are introduced to Snoh.
"I met Snoh in a session with J.Valle and T-minus.
We were vibing to some tracks T was playing. Snoh & I just clicked creatively and on our melodic choices etc. Snoh has the best energy, she's the first signed artist who was like 'yo, you're dope. I want you on my album.' We kept in contact after that and set up another session at United (recording studio in Hollywood). We went in and vibed out to some NO. ID tracks and just got a feel for each other. About month or so later, Snoh and I connected with J (at Selma Studios) and did 3 sessions (the 3rd one I couldn't make) but the 2nd session was when we wrote 'Fool For You'. It's always fun working with Snoh.
I'm super grateful for the opportunity!"
Those sessions at Selma with Snoh & Marcus were pretty fun. The first session wasn't necessarily a success. We did one idea but it didn't really fit a vibe. One night, I was at Selma alone and was getting ready to pack up and leave for the night, but I still had my guitar plugged in & started jamming over this progression. I immediately heard & played the exact chords that are on the FFY record. You know you have a good loop going when you could hear it over and over again. I knew it was special. I quickly made a very minimal beat to it, added a percussion loop, a synth lead, bass, and that's it. That was my demo. I text the idea to Snoh. "Dope, i love it!" She replied. I really didn't add much to the production after that demo. It left so much space for Snoh & Marcus to do their thing. We set up a session with Marcus again & they wrote the song. Marcus couldn't make the last session but he wrote part of the 2nd verse while he was at Disneyland with his family & text us his lyrics, lol. We all have great chemistry in the studio & as just people so the song just came together very naturally. Snoh sent our demo to her manager for the thumbs up or down & mentioned how much loved the song. I was like... "Really?" lol. I couldn't believe my vibe was being considered for being part of Snoh's project. Marcus and I would get so hype talking about how dope it was to potentially get a placement with Snoh, and our first ones together at that. Him writing & me producing. Snoh would fill us in on updates with the song throughout the months: "It may make my project!" "Everyone loves it!" "It WILL make the project!" "It's going to be the single!" Mean while i'm still trying to comprehend the fact that we all even did a song together. I'm thinking of those late sessions with Marcus from early last year and how we shared our vision & goals.
What better way to share my first production placement with my bro Marcus' first writing placement. Extremely grateful for my bro T-Minus for connecting us & being such a huge support system & friend. So thankful for Snoh being so cool and open for Marcus and I to be a small part of her musical journey. (prayer hands emoji)
"First of many"