Marquette King has conquered in 2023. Making moves in both the worlds of athletics and music, the punter and artist led the Arlington Renegades to an XFL Championship and released a soulful music video for his song, “Sweet Tea,” all before summer ended. With big plans to still to come, King took some time to open up about forthcoming music, how football prepared him as an artist and more.
Let’s take a step back! Can you break down the creation of the song, “Sweet Tea?”
I'm a huge fan of pop and I like a little bit of country and hip-hop. I came up listening to that. But I mostly came up listening to pop and hip-hop because of my parents. Especially because my mom wouldn’t let me or my sister listen to hip-hop with a lot of cursing, so we instead listened to NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, LFO, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. In high school and college, I listened to a lot more hip-hop, especially with going to an HBCU. As I started getting more into that music, I found a way to just mash all those genres together and that's how I got my sound.
I knew the track was done once it felt like a full song. I'm a simple person, so I don't nitpick at my songs that much unless I really feel like something is that bad! But I also have some good ears around me.
My cousin was the one who created the chorus for the song. Once he created the chorus for the song and we were laughing about it, I heard this beat and I felt like it would go really well with the chorus he created because it has a country, hip-hop vibe to it. And that’s my vibe –– country, hip-hop, pop and rock. It started as a song being made on a porch during COVID to a song that's making some noise now.
Phoenix, where you are based, has a vibrant local music scene. Do you find any inspiration from the community/city?
The music scene in Phoenix is a little interesting. I'm not gonna lie about that one. But I do find a lot of inspiration out here. There are a lot of peaceful places out here as far as nature and the scenery. Nearby in Sedona, I can go to these beautiful resorts, just chill there, look at the scenery, and come up with some ideas, some stories, things to write and sounds to just mesh together and create a track. There’s a lot of inspiration that comes from here. I really feel like the desert brings a lot of peace.
You’ve previously said music was an important outlet during your time in the NFL. How does music impact your life when you’re out of season?
Music impacts me as it gives me something to do. Once I’ve found something that motivates me, I stick to it. And I try my best to just be the best version of myself when doing that. I'm always super excited about doing music. It gives me something to look forward to, something to try to excel in, plus it's therapeutic. It's one of my favorite things to focus on and do during my off time.
Are there any skills that you gained as a football player that have been essential to your work as an artist?
As a football player, you're taught to work really hard and put a lot of work in. It’s a different kind of hard work, though, when it comes to music. With football, you’re constantly working out, physically exerting yourself and exerting your energy into everything. With music, it’s a different kind of exhausting. You get more mentally tired because you're squeezing your brain like a lemon, squeezing all your creativity out. But it gives me that drive to want to be the best. I take that and bring it into the music world, and it's going to pay off eventually!
You’ve released a number of singles. Do you have plans for an album?
My plan is to drop an album at the beginning of next year. I'm super excited about it. I came up with the name for it: KS 107. It's going to be really interesting, and I’ll get more in-depth with that in the future, but I'm super excited about it! I feel like it will display the wide range of music I can create. Also, shout out to the team. I’ve got some really good people working around me and putting me in a position that I've never been in.
As you continue making music, what do you hope to offer listeners?
I hope to offer my listeners an experience. I want them to be able to click their Marquette King station, and I want them to just be able to cruise. My goal with creating these songs that take from the different genres of music that I'm inspired by (pop, country and hip-hop) is to make music where my listeners don't get too tired… want to create a fun, good vibey experience filled with authenticity.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Alex D. Rogers