Unboxed Vol. 43: JaRon Marshall Is Bringing Futuristic Vibes To Soul Music

The acclaimed keyboardist talks about his music roots in Louisiana, working with the Black Pumas, and his latest solo project.

JaRon Marshall is a multi-talented musician whose artistry knows no bounds. Born in Loreauville, Louisiana, he describes his sound as “the marriage between funk, jazz, R&B, neo-soul, and hip-hop,” and his dexterous keyboard playing has garnered him international acclaim.

Since 2019, Marshall has been the keyboardist for the Black Pumas, a psychedelic soul/rock band that has earned seven Grammy nominations and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best live performers in music today.

As a solo act, he’s released several diverse projects showing his fearlessness as an artist by refusing to allow labels to define his musicianship.

Already a highly-regarded musician, Marshall is a renowned DJ playing for audiences throughout Texas and beyond. 

After discovering music early on, Marshall knew it would be his lifelong passion.

“I grew up going to church in South Louisiana and it was a university, a daycare, and everything else. I remember being there more than school or at least the same amount,” he told “Then I started performing live when I was 11 or 12, every week.  I remember being nervous the first few times. But when the nerves went away, it just became second nature to perform in any capacity.”

“When I look back, I realize that music was always around. Whether it was gospel, jazz, or the blues, there was always music going on with family, “he added. “We would have DJs at our house after church on Sunday, and I would say that was the biggest thing growing up in Louisiana that influenced me to be a musician.” 

Along with his surroundings, Marshall grew up in a musical family that encouraged him to cultivate his gifts.

“My dad would write songs when he was younger, but the one big influence was my aunt, a gospel singer,” Marshall said. “She recorded albums and performed concerts. Also, I had a great-grandfather who was a well-known musician. I didn't know him, but I heard the stories.”

Marshall's unique playing style was also influenced by some of the all-time great piano players he studied closely.

“My biggest contemporary influence is Robert Glasper, for sure. I heard the Robert Glasper Experiment around 2011 when I graduated high school, and it got me into mixing jazz and hip-hop. Also, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, and Horace Silver, who was the first guy I studied.”

After honing his craft for several years, when Marshall relocated from Louisiana to Austin, Texas, a hub for burgeoning creatives, his music career took off.

“I was that guy behind closed doors practicing scales, classical music, and jazz because I wanted to get everything right. People would always tell me “Dude, you gotta move to a bigger city. You got to move to New Orleans or somewhere.’ Eventually,  me and my life partner Victoria moved there in 2016.”

“Moving to a bigger city with that infrastructure was great for my career. I think that a lot of people have their gripes with every city but I feel like every city has a special kernel that’s worth exploring and Austin was that for me,” he continued. “I got to see so much growth just by the sheer numbers game alone. There were more musicians, more venues, and more opportunities. I got to play in a bigger sandbox.”

After a few years of making Austin his new home, Marshall would connect with the Black Pumas, which would be a life-changing encounter.

Unboxed Vol. #38: Black Pumas Are On a Mission To Redefine Soul Music

“In early 2019, I landed in Adrian Quesada’s studio, and I started doing session work on a couple of albums for my homies who would call me to play keys on their records. I met him there in a working capacity for the first time and we just hit it off,” he recalled.

“The main thing about the whole band and the whole enterprise, it’s just natural,” he continued. “We started making beats together and I would go to his home studio three days a week. One of those beats actually became “Mrs. Postman,” which is on the Chronicles of a Diamond album.”

The chemistry that was created during those studio sessions led to Marshal being invited to join the band.

“Eric [Burton] wrote some songs to some of my beats and we had that song even before I  played a show with them. A few months into the year, we got into the studio and that was my first time working with both Eric and Adrian on a few other songs,” he said. “Maybe a week or later in April 2019, they asked me if I could fill in for a festival they were playing in Texas and I’ve been performing with them ever since.”

From a session player to being a part of one of the most eclectic and acclaimed groups working today, Marshall said that the connection was organic since he first met his bandmates who are now in demand across the globe.

In addition to his work with the Black Pumas, Marshall is currently working on another solo project, for which he’s looking forward to expressing the full gamut of his artistic ingenuity. So far as a solo artist, he’s released The Gold Tape Vol. 1-3 in 2020 and earth sounds in 2023.

“I always wanted to do certain things and to explore certain types of music,” Marshall said. “When it comes to my music, it being instrumental in quality, I think it lends itself to be more cinematic. I have cinematic aspirations to score films.”

On his latest project Discotheques 001, he is taking his sound into another dimension with dance floor vibes of the future.

“Gemini” is a loosey on my mixtape rapper vibe just to get a couple of songs out there along with “Sunseekers.” I dropped that right before I went to Europe with my own project. So there’s little inklings of futuristic sounds to come for sure,” he said.

Whether he’s playing with the Black Pumas, working on his solo projects, or DJing, Marshall wants his work as an artist to be an inspiration to others.

“My goal is to inspire others, but I feel like you inspire others when you live in your inspiration,” Marshall explained. “Whenever you’re not afraid to unlock your inner child, it's not about thinking about what someone will think about it. It's just about being genuine.

“I feel like my process is just being a fan of music and listening to as much music as possible and as many genres,” he continued. “And living a musical life where music is all around me.”

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