Marcel  Smith‘s  debut  solo  album,  Everybody  Needs  Love,  marks  the  belated  emergence  of  a  commanding,  massively  talented  vocalist  who’s  been  honing  his  skills  on  the  gospel  circuit  for  decades.  Everybody  Needs  Loveshowcases  a  persuasively  soulful  voice  that’s  been  burnished  through  years  of  high-energy  performances.

Everything  about  Smith  shouts  church,  from  his  thrilling  vocals  and  mastery  of  the  stage,  to  his  dignified-beyond-his-years  offstage  demeanor.  Marcel  grew  up  studying  the  work  of  such  gospel  quartet  legends  as  Joe  Ligon  of  the  Mighty  Clouds  of  Joy,  Clarence  Fountain  of  the  Blind  Boys,  Willie  Rogers  and  Martin  Jacox  of  the  Soul  Stirrers,  and  Ira  Tucker  of  the  Dixie  Hummingbirds.  When  he  was  just  15,  quartet  gospel  veteran  Willie  Washington  heard  Marcel  do  a  featured  solo  in  his  local  church.  Impressed,  Washington  offered  him  a  spot  in  his  new  quartet,  the  WD  Gospel  Singers.  So,  at  16,  Marcel  began  singing  and  playing  with  a  group  of  gospel  veterans.  Working  with  the  WDs  gave  Marcel  the  opportunity  to  hone  his  house-wrecking  vocal  chops.  He  found  himself  performing  on  programs  with  many  of  the  genre’s  greatest  artists,  allowing  him  to  soak  up  the  spirit  and  craft  of  these  gospel  giants.

Marcel  Smith’s  impeccable  sense  of  history  is  reflected  in  some  of  his  more  inventive  choices  of  material  on  Everybody  Needs  Love,  e.g.  the Sam Cooke chestnut “Keep Moving On,” the timelessly relevant “Poor Man’s Struggle,” the Bobby Womack classic “Harry Hippie” and the gospel standard “This Little Light of Mine.” Smith doesn’t consider Everybody Needs Love a gospel album so much as he regards it as “inspirational music.” Whatever one calls it, the long-overdue solo debut is a stylistically adventurous collection that showcases Marcel Smith’s transcendent talent, boundless passion, and deep soul fervor.”I record songs that make people think,” the artist comments. “I want people to be inspired by the songs. These songs are to encourage people that even when things are bad, it’s gonna be alright and not always going to be bad. We are in it together, we have each other to draw from and support. This is the nature of the album, to allow listeners to reflect on their own lives and see their own center.”