This report originally published at defense.gov.
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait —
Even with increased workloads and long hours, deployments are a great way to work on one’s self. One soldier viewed his time on deployment as a chance to hone his craft.
Army Spc. Marqueze McGee, a motor transport operator deployed here with the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Alpha Company, 106th Brigade Support Battalion, is an amateur music producer with dreams of a career in the music industry.
“I’m a military guy — an 88M [a motor transport operator] — I also produce beats,” McGee said.
A native of Hollandale, Mississippi, McGee said he has been creating music since his early teens.
McGee’s interest in music started in middle school.
“I started taking it serious about two years ago,” he said.
For the Tougaloo College student, inspiration comes from various places.
“Sometimes a melody, I hear in my head and I play it out on the keyboard and go from there,” McGee said.
He has no formal musical training, but is still able to play melodies on his synthesizer.
“I actually don’t have any training. I play the piano by ear,” McGee said.
He works tirelessly on his off time to produce music.
“I try to make at least five beats a day,” McGee said.
Though an artist himself, he said he is focused on his customer.
“I try to think of the artist first,” McGee said. “I don’t even name my beats, I name them ‘Untitled,’ then a number. I don’t want to influence their song, just inspire it.”
But every artist has influences, and McGee is no different.
“[Some of my] influences [are] Big K.R.I.T., he’s a Mississippi guy,” he said. “Atlanta artists and producers, some New York like Nas and Jay-Z, those type of guys. I am a big ’90s fan.”
Though just starting out on his professional career, McGee said he has sold more than a hundred beats and has a dream list of artists to one day work with.
“My dream artists to work with are Starlito and Don Trip, they are based out of Tennessee,” he said. “They are mostly underground, but I feel if I reach their level, I’ll make a big accomplishment to myself and reach the goals I wanted.”
This deployment has given McGee not only the time work on his music, but also the money to invest in new equipment.
“I am actually waiting on a new keyboard to get here right now,” he said, noting that his current equipment is nearly worn out.
Once his deployment is complete, McGee will return to his home in Jackson, Mississippi, to complete his degree and continue to pursue his dream of a career in the music industry.
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