Austin | April 10, 2023
Meet: Resident DJ JaRon Marshall from Black Pumas
Meet JaRon Marshall, Austin-based DJ-in-residence at Austin Proper, and the keyboardist for local psychedelic soul band Black Pumas. JaRon has been playing the keys for the Black Pumas since 2018 and more recently has released his own solo projects.
Get to know more about JaRon Marshall and his substantial presence in the music scene–and be sure to stop by The Peacock on Fridays all summer long to catch one of his DJ sets on the terrace.
- Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the music industry.
I started piano at 11 and I started making beats around 14. Around 18 I started to take it more seriously by dedicating all of my time to it, changing my major to music, and figuring out how to make a living off of it. I worked my way up in Lafayette, LA before moving to Austin where I got the opportunity to work on a bigger scale.
- What was the role of music like in the early years of your life?
I was constantly surrounded by music growing up. I grew up in a big family, so there would always be gatherings with music playing, and being danced to. Early on, I was exposed to the greats like Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, and Otis Redding while staying on top of new music. It was the best of both worlds.
- When and why did you move to Austin?
I moved here in November 2016. My girlfriend and I were looking to move out of Lafayette and Austin ranked highly on the list because of the music opportunities and the fact that it was a growing city. We moved here and I hit the ground running, doing solo sets around town and then playing keyboards for an official SXSW act by March of 2017.
- How has Austin influenced your music style and sound?
I would say that my biggest musical influence in Austin has come from the people I’ve met here. Working with so many people and covering a wide array of genres has only strengthened my relationship with music. Austin does have a chill, natural vibe that parallels the type of music I make, so I’m sure there’s a connection there, too.
- Can you share what your creative process looks like and what inspires you?
Listening to music is what inspires me to make more music. Whether it’s something new I just found, a classic, or even something that I made myself, I usually listen to music until I feel the need to create. Inspiration usually comes in the form of a prompt like, “let’s make a house beat” or “what if I sampled that?” or “let’s remix this old beat I made”…
- How did you land becoming the keyboardist for Black Pumas? What have you learned from collaborating with other artists?
In late 2018, I did some work at Adrian’s studio, Electric Deluxe. Even though I met the guys in early 2018, I hadn’t worked with either of them before then. At the top of 2019 I started working with Adrian a ton, mostly making beats together. Around spring that year they needed another keyboardist and I naturally filled in and have been with them ever since. I enjoy working with other artists because you learn to get in where you fit in; whether that’s playing live, working in the studio, or curating music, it’s important to listen and know your surroundings.
- Describe the feeling of Black Pumas being nominated for several Grammy Awards. What has that experience meant to you?
Reaching these heights with my bandmates has been the joy of a lifetime. It’s been life-affirming, life-changing, and so many other inspiring things. Taking myself out of the equation, it couldn’t have happened to better people. I’m just happy to play my part.
- What has been the most rewarding part of your career thus far?
The most rewarding part of my journey so far is being able to travel the world. The experiences I’ve had were once some of my wildest dreams. It’s so cool to not only see the world, but to touch other people’s lives while doing it. It feels great when people enjoy what you have to give.
- Tell us about your DJ residency at Austin Proper and what to expect during your sets.
I’m excited to be at Austin Proper as the resident DJ. We’re working to create experiences around my weekly sets by giving the patrons an opportunity to experience different moods and styles of music.
- Can you share any details on any current or upcoming projects you are excited about?
I have something special happening this summer that I can’t wait to announce. Keep your eyes and ears open — a lot more music will be released soon.
Just in time for poolside listening and summer gatherings, stream the newest Proper playlist from Austin DJ-in-residence JaRon Marshall — solo artist and Black Pumas keyboardist.