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19 November 2012

U Got the Look: An Interview With Mr. Marcus Scott

This is Part I in a four-part series of interviews with the Beautiful Nights Creative Team:

  Beautiful Nights fans can now meet the man behind the “face” of the group's Facebook page.
  That's how Marcus Scott, 35, of Chicago, refers to his position on the creative team responsible for “A Beautiful Night,” the group's inaugural Prince party being held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Nov. 24 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4107 S. King Dr., in Chicago, that will feature DJ Maurice Ice Culpepper and Dancers/Singers Maya and Nandy McClean, better known as the Twinz, as special guests.
  The foursome launched their Facebook fan page last month –which has now has more than 700 members-- and includes Bemaji Tillman, Alexis Wofford and LaQuita Sanders, all of Chicago.
  Scott, who has a background in sales, said that the team designated him the “face,” or official spokesperson of the group, because he has facial profile, which, to many is remarkably similar to Prince's, that people respond to, in person and on his frequent Facebook posts.
  He said he has been an avid Prince fan since 1992, when, as a teenager, he heard the Symbol album for the first time (although he cited Sign o' the Times as his favorite album) and the first concert he attended was at the United Center in Chicago and he “hasn't missed a beat since,” traveling across the United States and abroad --including Montreal, Brussels and London-- to see the legend in concert.
  In the ensuing years, he has become a major fixture in the Prince Community, including being a regular attendee at the now defunct Sunday-night Prince parties at Berlin nightclub in Chicago and briefly taking over as the party promoter after the original promoter left) and is familiar to Prince fans from around the world.
Scott agreed to a telephone interview for the launch of “Dyes Got the Answers 2 Ur ?s,” where he discussed his favorite associated Prince act, meeting other Prince fans and how “A Beautiful Night” came to be:

  ?: How did you become involved with “ A Beautiful Night”?
  MS: When Prince came to Chicago [for a three-night residency at the United Center that started Sept. 24] and I threw a house party and everybody came from all over including Tuna from Tokyo. I'm very popular and I appreciate the fact that people show me so much love. It was flooded with people.
  There is nothing like a good Prince party, but, there's nothing like a good Prince house party... Plastic cups and everything. I always said I would rather go to a Prince party than throw a Prince party, because the better time people are having, the more work on the person throwing the party...
  I said if I throw a Prince party, it has to be different than any other party. (Tillman) said it was a nice touch to have Robin Power [a former Prince protegee who co-starred in the 1990 film Graffitti Bridge with Prince who attended Scott's September party].
(Tillman) approached me about having (regular) Prince parties, he brought in (Sanders) and I brought in (Wofford).
  I wanted the first party to be New Year's Eve with Sheila E., (Tillman) wanted it to be with Tamar [a singer who was featured prominently on Prince's album 3121 and who also recorded an unreleased solo album produced by Prince, both in 2006] Thanksgiving weekend.
  Tamar fell through and luckily the Twinz jumped on board real fast. I wanted somebody currently working with Prince, that would be a good look. Things (are) going very fast. I know it's going to be a bumpy ride, so I'm wearing two seat belts! (Laughing)
  We're not going to have it every month, because I don't want people to get burnt out.
The [Harold Washington] cultural center is like our Paisley Park in Chicago. It's for the community...and it's for the arts.
  We wanted to touch on people that have been apart of [Prince's] life, it's all about Prince, but, we kind of want to branch out. Once we have the party and people start posting pictures I think the page will take off.
  Beautiful Nights is incorporated. It will be a business. I'm the talker, I'm the salesperson. I've been in sales for 8 years, once I talk to you, I got you. Some people want to see what you're working with and you have to kind of show them...So, each party... is going to pay for itself. We're not really taking a profit. The price is going to fluctuate depending on whether the protegee is a special guest or they're performing."



  ?: What will make “A Beautiful Night” unique compared to other Prince parties you've been to in the past?
  MS: [B]ringing in the protegees and the live band at the end [Tillman's band, House of Twang, will hold a live jam session toward the end of the party]. This is going to be cool, because some of the protegees are musicians, who's to say that they won't sit in with the band? I think Mr. Man, Mr. (Prince) Nelson, is going to like that. (Tillman) had albums out, he used to record. I actually did background vocals on some of his albums.
  ?: What area of expertise will do you bring to the Beautiful Nights team?
  MS: I'm the face of the party, I'm the people pleaser (laughing), Mr. Excitement. I don't want to use (the word) mascot. I'm the one that finds the protegees because I've met them over the years and they trip out how much I look like the person they used to work for.
  ?: What would you say about detractors who may accuse you of using your resemblance to Prince to push the Beautiful Nights parties?
  MS: I look the way I look and I like Prince. I'm not using anything. I think it's a good gimmick, but, that's not the reason why (I'm doing this). If it's something you enjoy doing and people love it, let's go with the love. It's more (other) people that be tripping than I do. It's them, it's not me.
  ?: You can tell a lot about a Prince fan by who their favorite protegee/associated act is, who is yours and why?
  MS: "I would have to say The Time, because they are very consistent. Even with trying to get the original band together and going to The Original 7ven [during their reunion album and short-lived reunion tour in 2011, because the group was not granted permission to use the name “The Time” for the venture]. They're still relevant... they still get down."
  ?: What is the most unique piece of Prince memorabilia that you own or have owned in the past?
  MS: The picture discs [Vinyl LPs that have pictures on the entire disc, instead of the standard record labels]. You don't see them around anymore, they are not an every day item that you see. This isn't something you can say 'I'm going to the record store (to get)'. The records stores don't really exist anymore.
   ?: What do you envision for the next year for the “Beautiful Nights” team? What do you hope to accomplish?
  MS: Hopefully we have... many successful parties and a couple them of them (will be) overseas. I'm looking at it like a brand. Or (for) “A Beautiful Night” to become an official Prince party. I think that would be a good look... To have Prince kind of mess with us and say “not bad, not bad at all” and eventually do “A Beautiful Night at Paisley Park” and be like 'Special Guest: Prince.' (Laughing)
  ?: What is your personal message for fans on the Beautiful Nights fan page?
  MS: 1Love. 1Goodtime.

Tickets are still available online at ticketweb.com

Stay beautiful, Kristi

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Lead photo courtesy of Marcus Scott.

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