Bridging hip-hop and classical training: alumnus shares his violin skills with the world

Bridging hip-hop and classical training: alumnus shares his violin skills with the world

Bridging hip-hop and classical training: alumnus shares his violin skills with the world

Marvill Martin Photo by Foster K. White

Marvill Martin – Photo by Foster K. White

Marvill Martin has found his stride as a much sought-after hip-hop violinist who has captured the hearts of thousands on social media. He is also a songwriter and composer, sharing his talent in live performances and recordings.

The 2017 architecture graduate began playing the violin at eight years old. Martin’s fusion sound of classical training and hip-hop appreciation has caused a viral stir and created a demand at weddings, concerts and events. His broad repertoire includes songs by Bill Withers, Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and the Fugees.

Martin has produced songs for Interscope Records and has performed live with numerous RCA Records recording artists. He has performed in venues such as The Howard Theatre, Lincoln Theatre and Hard Rock Café. Martin has also been featured on radio, Fox 5 News, in The Washington Post, Blavity and Essence. He is a member of the band, Kontrolled Khaos, and gained his first movie credit in BET’s  2019 film, “Angrily Ever After,” where he plays the violin on the street.

“I would describe my sound as the bridge between the elegant and classical aesthetics of the violin and the uncensored gritty sound of hip-hop,” Martin said. “I call it ‘chilled violin’— a mix of relaxing elevator jazz breakbeats with the violin.”

Known by his industry name, “Marvillous Beats,” Martin was born in the Bronx. As a child, he followed his older sister to private violin lessons and quickly excelled. In high school, Martin produced music from his family’s basement and played in the orchestra, sitting as first-chair violinist. He also played in the All-County and All-City orchestras–with the group performing once at Carnegie Hall.

Martin then moved on to sports, until his girlfriend gifted him with a new violin.

“I didn’t play a single note for five years,” he said. “I picked it up again, and here I am today.”

Martin has made it a priority to share his musical gift at schools and other places where he can inspire youth.

“I love to see the kids’ eyes light up and hear parents say that their child wants to play the violin,” he said. “They often ask how to get started, so I introduce potential students to my peer network.”

Martin completed his associate degree in business administration management from Westchester Community College in New York, before attending UDC.

“I was researching universities with good architecture programs in the D.C. area, and I liked the University’s vibe,” he said. “I’m glad I went to UDC. It was the perfect combination of practical and theoretical training.”

Martin’s big break as a violinist came in 2017 when a bodyguard for a well-known rapper liked his sound and connected them, which led to him performing at a sold-out live show at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I went from playing on the street almost every day to earning a professional salary and booking events as a violinist,” he said. “When I graduated from UDC, I decided that I would pursue music full time because I want people to feel my passion for music. I want people to feel inspired.”

For more information and to hear his music, please click here.

Photo by Heather & Rob Wedding Photography
Photo by @WholeHeartedStudios
Photo by Trene Forbes
Photo: Marv - Maryland Chamber Of Commerce