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Tonee Marino: “Hard work can get you anywhere you want to go”

I wish someone told me that making music really isn’t what you put the most work into the music industry. It’s really all about self-promotion, and building important relationships. Other than that, I basically knew what I was getting into when I started. As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had […]

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I wish someone told me that making music really isn’t what you put the most work into the music industry. It’s really all about self-promotion, and building important relationships. Other than that, I basically knew what I was getting into when I started.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tonee Marino, a Long Island-based rapper, songwriter, and music producer. He puts out new music monthly and has a brand new collaboration with Billboard Double Platinum rapper, Zay Hilfiger (Listen Here). He has over 8 million views and 320k followers and is known for hits “So Sad” and “Juice,”. His other music can be found on all music platforms and his youtube. He is currently starring in the new Amazon mini-series, Next Big Thing NYC — released July 2nd. Catch up with his new releases, “Lady’s Man” and “Disconnected” and get exclusive details about his journey on Next Big Thing NYC.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank you! I grew up as a regular kid in Long Island New York. Before I started making music, I loved playing basketball, soccer, I did MMA until I reached black belt and I was always in the high honor roll in school. I’ve modeled in a few pageants and I won first place in one when I was 3 years old. I have a loving family, and we were very close all throughout my life, we still are. I learned from my family that hard work can get you anywhere you want to go in life.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I don’t have a specific story, however, I’ve always had a love and passion for music even before I started creating it. That is initially what made me want to take it a step further and make it my career. I grew up listening to artists like Michael Jackson, Drake, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, and more. Music was, and still is, what gets me through my days — I do everything while listening to music.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One interesting story is how I did 3 shows in one day. I had 2 scheduled performances for this day, then I got a call the night before the shows asking if I could come to a school in the Bronx to do another performance that morning. I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity, so I told them I would be there. I started out my day performing at the school in the Bronx with the Youth Empowerment Show. After that, I headed to a club in New York City, performed there, then drove to Queens where my last show of the night would be. My last show was at the Knockdown Center, for the Living To Inspire Festival. All of the shows were amazing, and I wasn’t tired at all! It was a great day with many memorable moments.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I haven’t really made any funny mistakes thankfully, but advice to anyone who has made a mistake in their craft — don’t let it bother you. Learn from it, and learn how you can get better at what you do so you won’t repeat that mistake.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am currently putting out a new song “Friends” on September 25. It’s an R&B record, and something different for my fans to listen to. I also have a Music video to my song “4 More” that will drop on Youtube between late October and early November. I am also starring in an Amazon Prime TV series called “Next Big Thing” that will be dropping in October.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is important in today’s culture because all parts of society are talented in many different ways. Diversity is a staple in this generation. When you combine all groups of diverse people, the results are infinite, and great things can happen.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I wish someone told me that making music really isn’t what you put the most work into the music industry. It’s really all about self-promotion, and building important relationships. Other than that, I basically knew what I was getting into when I started.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I would recommend to always stay creative. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things because you never know what will inspire you to make something different. Also, be consistent. The more consistent you are, the more attention you draw to yourself. Lastly, be patient. Don’t put a time limit on success. Nothing ever happens overnight. Do not give up because you feel like you ran out of time.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I do as much as I can to Inspire people now. I answer all messages questions people have about their life-giving them advice, and many people tell me that my music has positively affected them which is amazing to me. I would go all over the world to inspire the Youth. I’d be more than happy to give kids advice on life, and talk to them about struggles that they go through, so I could recommend solutions. I’d also love to travel to 3rd world countries and support them financially, build schools, or in any other way possible. Those are two dreams of mine in life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The most supportive people are my parents. God has made me fortunate enough to have a very supportive family who loves what I do and encourages me to go harder.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Hard work can get you anywhere you want to go.” It’s a fairly simple quote, but it has definitely applied to my life and many others’. A good work ethic is what will get you to success. Talent and no work will get you close, but someone can outwork a naturally talented person and get farther than them.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d like to have lunch with Drake and just learn. He’s my biggest musical inspiration and I’d love to meet him.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow me on Instagram, Youtube and any other social media by my handle: Toneemarino. My music is available on all platforms, give it a listen. Thank you!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success .

Thank you, same to you.

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