badly music: From Dreamer to Do-er

Marshall Hearne dropped out of school to make music. Here's his story.


During the pandemic, most people have been scrambling to get creative, apply to jobs, and get back to unfinished projects. Marshall Hearne, also known as badly music, decided to go the opposite route.


Marshall went to Texas A&M for two years before he dropped out. He did all sorts of things before music–tutoring, school, working as a line cook. Once a TikTok he made about his songs blew up, Marshall quit his job and made the choice to pursue music.


One of the coolest things about Marshall’s early beginnings in music is that he is self-taught and self-trained on his guitar and his equipment. It was during his freshman year at Texas A&M that he realized he had an interest in music, but didn’t have any equipment to move forward other than his guitar. On the spring semester of that same year, he got a job as a line cook working 60 hours a week to save up for the music equipment he needed. Once he perfected his craft and got a sense for his tone and style, Marshall, as a lot of young creatives are doing, turned to TikTok to share his work.


“I set out to make the two songs in a week, and I did a lot of it on LiveStream. So, now not only did I make this commitment to myself, but to all these people who have been watching me do it. So, it was one of those things where you have to do it and you know you’re going to do it,” said Marshall.

Since TikTok began to gain a ton of popularity in 2019, we have seen the influence this social media app can have on the rest of the world. From surviving President Trump’s call to be banned, to launching the career of popular creators like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, TikTok has centered itself at the top of internet culture. And when it comes to the music industry, TikTok has been influencing the top charts on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. It makes sense that artists gravitate towards the platform to gain exposure. Throughout Marshall’s up and coming music career he has faced some challenges, but the biggest one so far, and one he believes every creative must conquer at the moment, is how to successfully market his music.



“Exposure a lot of the time is luck. We should be in this for the music, especially when starting out, but marketing will always be the hardest part because you can make the best song ever, but there’s so much music nowadays,” said Marshall.


He now has a steady following on TikTok with over 120,000 followers and 2 million likes across all of his videos. Marshall also reached two million streams on Spotify with one of the songs he shared through the app. Along with the help of TikTok, the support from his parents has made it easier for Marshall to solely focus on his music career.


“I was lucky enough for them to say ‘okay you can stay at home for a year, rent free’ and so I was able to have a job and use all that money on my music,” said Marshall.

From our conversation, I can tell that Marshall is an artist that absolutely loves his craft. His goal is to make music that will make people feel something. The way he speaks about his goals and dreams is a testament to the passion he holds for everything he creates, which runs deeper than any desire for fame.



“If people feel something from what you’re making then it can help them in some shape of form. That’s the goal,” said Marshall.

Working 60 hours a week to pay for equipment, dropping out of college, and quitting his job was all a risk that came with pursuing his career in music full-time.


“At a certain point in time, you have to go from being a dreamer to a do-er because I used to fantasize all the time in class about doing music and would be looking up things about music, but I wasn’t even working on music. I was just spending all my time dreaming about it. I think that’s an easy habit to get stuck in,” said Marshall.


Whether you’ve seen Marshall’s cool videos on his @badlymusic account or you’re just discovering him, I can assure you that his music will hit deep. It’s impossible not to love and admire the work of an artist that truly does what he does for the passion of it.

This story appeared on the October 2020 issue of Mud Magazine, which you can purchase here. You can follow Marshall on TikTok and also check out his Spotify page.

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