Marlon Wilson—aka Arlo Maverick—has been performing with two of his cousins since their elementary school days. They formed urban group Politic Live, the first local hip hop band to take the stage at Peg City Holla, Canadian Music Week and JunoFest. They are the first Edmonton urban musicians to have a video charting on MTV and Much Music.
During the production of their debut album, Notoriety, released in 2003, Marlon founded Music for Mavericks Entertainment. The label manages, promotes and markets Alberta artists in the urban genre—from reggae to hip-hop and everything in between.
Being a small company means not having the resources to hire people for specific jobs. “You have to assume every role that’s needed.” That’s where Marlon’s marketing diploma from NAIT and his natural ability to sketch CD covers and promotional materials have come in handy.
He seeks out artists who otherwise wouldn’t know how to start marketing themselves. “You hear someone who has a tremendous amount of talent but they don’t have the outlet for it.” Music for Mavericks takes a grassroots approach, aiming to preserve that down-to earth feel.
Marlon has never forgotten the help he received along his journey. “There have been so many people who have seen the passion that I have for music.” He considers it his duty to share his knowledge of the music industry with the next generation of recording and touring artists “…so they don’t have to make the same mistakes that I made.”
For the past 10 years, Marlon has been hosting Urban Hang Suite on CJSR. He organizes the annual Hip Hop for Hunger benefit for Food Bank donations. The event showcases local and national performers. Marlon is a director with Alberta Music Industry Association which provides opportunities to up-and-coming artists. The group offers information sessions and advises on funding resources that can help propel careers to the next level.
The major support in 28-year old Marlon’s life has come from his community-minded mother and grandmother. “It’s within me to try and help others whenever I can,” he says. “I think that if more people actually did that, then we would be in a different