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Marlin “Hookman” Bonds

Marlin “Hookman” Bonds

By Dan Kimpel

Marlin “Hookman” Bonds: hanging on the hits

As a well-schooled college graduate with a degree in music performance, St. Louis native Marlin “Hookman” Bonds originally broke into the music business as a trumpet player. What has happened since has redefined him as a hit songwriter/producer, a mentor of emerging talent and a musical entrepreneur in the making.

Based in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Bonds has penned songs for Twista (“Birthday”), Bow Wow (“Big Girls”), and Swizz Beatz (“Money in the Bank”), hits that have put him squarely on the musical map. Unquestionably, Bonds has an ability to craft entire songs from top to bottom, and visualize expansive productions while still leaving ample creative space for an artist’s signature touches. It is a skill he is now expanding for the Akon-produced girl group, Krave, and two of his own signings: Brooklyn-based pop punk/Latin/R&B artist Heven, and a fellow St. Louis native, 16-year old Goofy Boi.

“I heard Goofy Boi on YouTube, flew to St. Louis to meet him, checked him out, heard what he could do and signed him,” says Bonds. “I decided to launch him online – I put up three YouTube videos with songs I wrote. Within three months Paris Hilton had tweeted about him personally, and we did a product deal – all of this from homemade YouTube videos. He’s in the middle of another huge deal, based on the vision he and I created and the song that we put on a platform for people to see. We have a tremendous amount of action. It’s working, so I am going to continue with the same strategy.”
Despite his emergence as a songwriter/producer, Bonds has not forsaken the trumpet; he played on Q-Tip’s Kamaal/The Abstract and he has toured as a member of Mos Def’s big band. “The reason I’m here is that I play professional trumpet,” says Bonds, “and I still do arrangements on the church scene. Although I still play, I am much more interested in making a living from writing and producing.”

Bonds takes a wide-screen view of his future endeavors. “My goal is to have a brand and an established situation where I’m able to control records from my artists,” he clarifies. “My goals are bigger than just writing songs for projects. I’m into building my own roster where I can executive produce. Whether or not I do the songs, I will still have control of the overall vision.”

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