Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Marshall Hugh Is Helping To Change Our World

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Music has the ability to create change, because it is a Universal practice amongst all people. We may not speak the same language or share the same ideals but once the bass hits your chest….We are able to understand each other and feel one another.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marshall Hugh.

Meet Marshall Hugh, the charismatic frontman of Marshall Law Band. With his magnetic stage presence and unparalleled vocal prowess, Marshall has become a true legend in Seattle’s music scene. From electrifying performances to groundbreaking projects, he and Marshall Law Band continue to push boundaries and captivate audiences with their incredible talent and heart.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

I have always been an orator, and I’ve always been a leader. Early on my passions for impacting others manifested on the basketball court and on the football field where, on any team I ever played for, I was looked at as one of the leaders. In school I was frequently selected to give speeches at assemblies and was even elected the 8th grade class President. The spotlight never seemed to rattle me, in fact I thrived on it. In high school, I started to find my love for music and freestyling at the lunch table! That spark grew to a flame, and I was quickly writing rhymes in the margins of my Spanish workbooks. I credit my sports background to the disciple and my teacher for pushing me to pursue public speaking.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Wow, a lot comes to mind, but I think the funniest one would be when I was an intern at the local radio station. I was so excited for the opportunity that it teetered on being overzealous. One night I got the great opportunity to be a part of a show called Sunday Night Sound Sessions. This show would invite all of my favorite local and national touring acts on air Sunday nights to talk to them about their latest release or their current tour. They invited me to come and basically be a fly on the wall not knowing that I too, “did music.” After a long night of going up and down the elevator letting in our guests, the end of the show is nearing, and on a commercial break, the two hosts looked at me and asked if I wanted to say a few things on the radio… little did they know I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life, LOL! After a few questions about interning at the station and what types of coffee all of my bosses liked, they asked me if there was anything else I would like to say, I immediately went on to shout out the latest release from my rap duo at the time and enthusiastically blurted out all of our social medias, telling the Sunday Night Sound Session loyal listeners that we were the next big thing out of Seattle. To which the legendary J Moore responded “well, everybody has to have a dream” and I wasn’t invited back on to be their helper for the remainder of my internship. That day I learned the valuable lesson of patience in the music industry: you don’t always have to be the loudest in the room. Sometimes just playing your role and allowing opportunities to come naturally will result in longevity.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I would advise any young person, looking to get into touring and using your music to positively impact the world around you, to develop a brand that is authentically and fully them! That way, they will be able to bring their true best self to their Fanbase and world consistently. Fans will embrace and identify with who you are and the growth that naturally comes with the years of pursuing a passion.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

In my life, I have been blessed with many mentors, both professional and personal. I have an amazing family, a powerful support system and a well rounded team around me that makes this dream of changing the world through music attainable. However, if I had to pick one person who has had the most profound impact on my journey as a musician, I would have to say the band drummer Matt, a.k.a. “the hospitality.” The hospitality is any lead singer’s dream bandmate — he is super encouraging, dedicated to the team and willing to push me and the rest of the band when we need a little extra motivation. He is the glue to the MLB, and I’m extremely lucky to have a drummer who does and cares SO MUCH.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

We have always strived to use our platform as a way for people to feel loved, accepted and seen. We do this, not only through our lyrics and our instrumentation, but by the type of event we throw in the community as well. In our hometown of Seattle, we host a reoccurring event that is geared, not only towards highlighting the creative community, but bringing resources to charities that provide services for the houseless community. During the winter, we throw an event called the Emerald City Gala where we takeover the historic crocodile venue activating the upstairs, downstairs and attic stages all in the name of raising money and donations for the houseless community and then on Christmas day, we go out as a unit and distribute all of the donations that we received directly to those who need it the most on a day where too often the houseless are forgotten. This year we were able to feed, gift and clothe over 750 people on Christmas Day and we look forward to hitting at least 1,000 in 2023.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

For us, it was important to address the houseless issue with our event because it’s impossible to ignore. If you come to our city, truly everywhere you look, you will see how high cost of living prices mixed with failed government policies has created an environment in which houselessness is truly an epidemic. Our event is just one of many that do their best to combat this issue but we know the work is never ending and hope that one day we can be an example to inspire others to continue to have compassion for all humans.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

As I mentioned over 750 people were direct beneficiaries of the funds and clothing that we were able to raise through The Emerald City Gala. That being said, some of the participants of the Christmas Day GiveBack have also expressed how significant this event has been for them personally. One of the artists who performed at the Gala, named Rick Rated, also came out on Christmas Day dressed as Santa Claus. This was a new addition to our Christmas Day tradition and all of the people who were there appreciated having Santa on the streets with us that day. Rick Rated went on to say the pleasure was all his and it gave his Christmas a purpose than any year prior. And that right there is why we do what we do not just to help those in need but to empower Artists to understand the impact they can have by being themselves and giving what they can.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Overall, I believe if we want creative solutions, we need to invest in resources for creatives. As a society it seems to me that we’ve been looking to have the government / our elected officials fix some of our systemic issues created by the government in the first place. I think that people should intentionally invite creatives into these discussions because we look at the world from a different perspective and that perspective may yield different results.

Ultimately, if the housing needs are not getting better, then we should try something different. Now, does that mean mobile concerts and Christmas Day gifts are a cure all? No, I do not believe that, but I do believe they can help raise morale, bring a human connection to this need and spark discussion for a more permanent solution.

Why do you think music in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?

Music has the ability to create change, because it is a Universal practice amongst all people. We may not speak the same language or share the same ideals but once the bass hits your chest….We are able to understand each other and feel one another.

Music also has a beautiful way of communicating difficult subjects like politics, religion and poverty into palatable digestible pieces for the listener to grow from.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?

Number 1. You are on no one’s timetable, but your own

Number 2. One Superfan is better than 100 fake ones

Number 3. Your music is an extension of your soul, present, protect and project it as such.

Number 4. Music is a business first.

Number 5. Always keep your “Why” at the forefront of any creation

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The movement I would want to bring to the world would be 12 different festivals that included music, art, panels, vendors, and a charity in 12 different parts of the world. I would go to those places for a month throughout the year to work with the local arts community to create a sustainable Year-long impact for the city’s creative economy. We would share ideas that we learned from the other 12 hubs around the world bringing us all closer and connecting through our shared love for music. I believe we have that here in Seattle, now it’s time to spread our wings to duplicate this same energy in London, Hawaii, South America and beyond!

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“The person who thinks they can, and the person who thinks they can’t are both right.”

This quote has been huge for me throughout my life. When followed correctly, it helps to keep the right positive mindset when attempting to do something as lofty as changing the world. If you believe you can do something, you are going to find a reason as to why you need to keep trying. If you doubt yourself, you will find excuses as to why you shouldn’t keep trying.

Thank you for an amazing, thought-provoking interview!

~Marshall Hugh of Marshall Law Band

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Marshall Hugh Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.