Marques Toliver is an R&B singer, but his music is equally anchored around the violin, on which he is classically trained. He says he discovered the instrument on the first day of his fifth-grade music class — and in a way, the violin chose him.
"There were just tons of instruments, and basically you had to run to that seat, with whatever instrument was in there — and that's what instrument you would play for the year," he explains. "I was just flabbergasted by the fact that there were, like, cellos and violas. Up until that point I had only seen them in pictures."
Toliver says he stood agape for so long that by the time he came to, "everyone was in their seats, and the only thing that was left was the violin. So I really had no choice."
Toliver's debut album is called Land of CanAan. He discusses it here with Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin, and performs live in NPR's studios. Click the audio link to hear more.