Confidence reigns king for Marcus King

Frontman of The Marcus King Band speaks on his love for music, performance, and confidence from his career.




Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

The rock, blues, and soul group The Marcus King Band is coming to the Englert Theatre on Thursday. After spending more than half his life on the stage, the band’s front man Marcus King is ready to give the crowd what it wants.

King performed for the first time when he was eight years old at his family-run church. King said he views music as his life; however, he has struggled with the confidence needed for performing on stage throughout his life.

“I’ve heard the term ‘introverted extrovert.’ I think that sums me up pretty good,” King said. “It’s a different persona that, if you’re a closed-off person, you have to take on this different persona when you’re onstage to kind of protect yourself a bit.”

King grew up with music playing a key role in his life. His father and his grandfather showed him many influential artists, such as Aretha Franklin, Merle Haggard, and Otis Redding.

When hearing songs from King’s band or his upcoming first solo album, El Dorado, listeners will encounter something that sounds both nostalgic yet innovative. King now offers a fresh take on a vintage sound with his music.

But since the creation of The Marcus King Band, King has found his new role as front man all about attitude and a level of confidence that always drew him to music.

“What I was drawn to as a kid were people who would go onstage and really handle a crowd and a room,” King said. “I just could never imagine having that kind of confidence, but later finding out a lot of that confidence stemmed from complete stage fright and just going out there and doing it to show it that it’s not going to control you, but the other way around.”

King started playing professionally at an early age with many of his biggest life lessons coming from club shows at 15 and 16 years old. These early experiences have stuck with the now 23 year-old artist.

“I take a lot of that club scene mentality into the shows now,” King said. “You have got to be able to work that crowd and read the room and give them what they want to hear, while at the same time trying to follow an agenda, so that’s why my set list are guidelines.”

Related: Emily Wolfe talks her journey to the stage, becoming friends with her songs, and rock in 2019

Even with his natural shyness and closed off behavior, King has a deep love for doing the opposite onstage, and he said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s just what makes me feel good. It’s therapy for me,” King said. “It’s all I really know, and all I really know how to express myself. It’s just a feeling that you chase. It’s a kind of adrenaline that I don’t think any drug could quite replicate the feeling you get from putting music in the air like that.”

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