Denitia and Sene

denitia and sene pose for a portrait.
© Chris Owyoung / Red Bull Content Pool

Rapper Brian ‘Sene’ Marc on the tracks that shaped his life.

When rapper Brian ‘Sene’ Marc met Texan singer-songwriter Denitia Odigie at Brooklyn hangout The Clubhouse, sparks of the smart and sexy, blissed-out electro-soul variety flew. The partnership has taken Sene beyond the hip-hop scene and back to the popular grab-bag he was listening to in his youth.

Following their appearance at August’s Red Bull Sound Select showcase in Brooklyn with The Internet, Denitia and Sene released their debut album, His & Hers, on Monday. Here Sene talks about the songs that helped bring to where he is today...

The first piece of music to stop me in my tracks was…

“Joe Cocker’s Woodstock rendition of The Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends. You know, The Wonder Years theme song. I definitely got down with a little Wonder Years, but I saw the Woodstock tape before I knew the show. The big impact was the way Joe Cocker performed it. He looked out of his mind. I asked my dad why he looked like that and he responded, ‘drugs, you’ll understand when you’re older’.”

The first track that made me want to make music myself was…

“Let It Be by The Beatles. I was in the living room of our one-bedroom apartment and it came on the radio. It’s two decades older than me, and my parents were kids when it dropped, but it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I think the melody and Paul’s voice were kind of hypnotic to a three or four-year-old. I became obsessed with that song and it led me to my first songwriting experience, at my grandmother’s house. I wanted to write something that made me feel that nicely.”

The soundtrack to my first romance was…

“Probably I Only Have Eyes For You, The Flamingos’ ’59 version. Because when I was young I was a sucker for love! Did I ever use music to win girls over as a teenager? Yes, unfortunately music was a… bonding tool, if you will.”

The track responsible for my best mosh-pit moment was…

“Biggie’s Gimme The Loot used to get a jeep-full of friends really gassed up when I was with older kids growing up. I was hanging with some real dope graffiti crews at the time. They were getting cars and I was just getting out of junior high. We would take turns popping in our cassettes. If the kid had a CD player he was balling. It kind of ruined me forever because I still feel like I can’t give a mix the green light until I’ve blasted it in a car.”

My ultimate Friday night anthem is…

“I like to do a ’90s playlist at The Clubhouse [the Brooklyn studio and community space where Denetia and Sene first met] with guilty pleasures like Wayne Wonder’s No Letting Go and Ghetto Superstar. I’m not one to be embarrassed about those songs that get you hype when they should be making you laugh. No Letting Go is a funny choice, but when people put a catchy melody over that Meters clap sample [from The Handclapping Song] it’s usually hitting the charts. In a hundred years someone will be looping those claps! I think the ’90s sound is cool because people ran so many opposite ways musically that you were always getting hit with something dope that sounded different than your last favorite song.”

My comedown classic is…

“Oasis, Wonderwall. I didn’t know who sang that song until a couple of years ago but it cuts right to the point. The singer doesn’t have a good voice and further than that I’ve only heard bad things about him, but man is that a groove.”