Q&A: Dom Marcell, Wall Street investment banker turned pop-R&B artist


Source: Dom Marcell

Dom Marcell is now officially a recording artist, best known for his pop-R&B hits “D.T.K.”and “Thats Whats Up.”

Emily Chaiet, Reporter

Dom Marcell (JD/MBA ’16) has always had a passion for music, but his life led him down a different path. Stuck in corporate America, Marcell was left dreaming of a job in the music industry — he wrote songs while working as an investment banker and recording music while pursuing a joint JD/MBA degree at Northwestern. But what started out as a hobby eventually became his career when his music garnered attention from people in the industry. A few years later, Marcell is officially a recording artist, best known for his pop-R&B hits “D.T.K.” and “Thats Whats Up.”

The Daily’s conversation with Marcell, lightly condensed and edited for clarity, follows.

The Daily: What initially sparked your interest in pursuing music?

Marcell: I always loved to sing and perform since I was three years old, so I did a lot of talent shows a lot of events and theatrical productions. I also sang in the church choir and did talent shows in high school. Then I pursued singing concurrently to my undergraduate studies at USC. I would perform at different USC events and at clubs and parties. I came at a crossroad because it was difficult as a 17-year-old to try to make it as an artist. I was a little more risk-averse. I needed to make money, so I went to corporate America. But I kept thinking about music I kept dreaming about it. I just needed to bite the bullet and just go ahead and exit and pursue music full time.

The Daily: What made you leave the corporate life?

Marcell: My passion for music was stronger than my passion for my job. With my job, it was a lot of hours and as you know, as an investment banker, you’re going to expect those hours. But I think what was difficult for me was, I kept thinking about music. It kept consuming my thoughts throughout the day. I wanted to give music one more shot.

The Daily: Do you think your corporate training aided your success in the music industry?

Marcell: Corporate as well as educational training definitely added value. As an investment banker, you’re helping the client look at the bigger picture, how to position themselves in the marketplace and how to grow their business. I applied those lessons to how I position myself because I really have to set myself up against other artists.

The Daily: Which of your songs means the most to you?

Marcell: I have a song called “Dreams” and it’s just really encouraging people to not have any regrets and to go for something because we only live once. The message I’ve been propagating for the past two years is you never know when you can leave this Earth. My mom passed away and my sister passed away at young ages. So I was like, why not pursue my passion while I’m here because I’m older than when my sister was when she passed away. That song is really just saying, we only have a short time.

The Daily: What advice do you have for people who want to pursue their dreams?

Marcell: You have to deal with a lot of obstacles, so you have to make sure that it’s really something that you want to pursue long term. Make sure that you are getting a lot of feedback from people who are objective. I would also say, to continue to educate yourself about whatever industry you’re looking to go into and understand what’s going on in the market because that’s going to help you from a long term perspective.

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Twitter: @emilychaiet