Interview by Jana Letonja

Marquette King, an American football punter for the Arlington Renegades of the XFL, has built multifaceted careers across sports and music, captivating and inspiring his fans across the globe. This Summer, he released the music video for his track ‘Sweet Tea’. In 2024, Marquette will release his debut album.

Marquette, how did you develop a passion for American football?

I just really enjoyed kicking footballs. Once I figured out football was more than just the kicking position, I got into playing receiver, so I fell into it from start to kicking.

You’re currently playing for the Arlington Renegades and recently led them to victory, securing an XFL Championship title. What do you love the most about football? 

I enjoy the practices, where I can be in my own little space, try to focus and make my craft better. It’s kind of therapeutic when I’m on the field by myself. I’m just doing something that I love, which is kicking. I get a chance to think about everything else that I have going on throughout the week, throughout the day, even music.  

The long time spent on the football field introduced you to the need of expression and release through songwriting, acting and sound. You describe songwriting as an outlet for your mental health. How does pouring your emotions into lyrics help you in this?

It gives you a chance to release how you feel if you’re feeling a certain type of way. I’ve always felt that people can share many similar experiences and go through the same struggles, so I thought it was kind of cool to put myself in a vulnerable position, talking about how I feel or make it sort of interesting to hear with a beat behind.

How did you get introduced to the world of electronic dance music and who is your biggest inspiration in producing your own EDM tracks?

I got into EDM when I went to a party one weekend with some of my teammates at the time. Once I heard it, I was like “This is happy music”. I really enjoyed listening to it and from then on, around 2012, I’ve been inspired by it. One of my biggest inspirations is Calvin Harris. 

You don’t want to just engineer music, but make the audience experience the audible illumination coming through the speakers. What are your goals and vision for your musical career and your sound?

I want to make sure my music has substance to it. I don’t want to make music that is talking about anything too simple. I want to make music about my journeys and things I’ve been through, in a way that it can be followed like a story and people who listen to it can connect through their own experiences.

How do you balance your sports and musical careers?

I can only kick a ball for so long in a day. Practices last three and a half to four hours at times. However, I have so much time because I get a lot of downtime to just chill there. Sometimes I’ll even write a song or listen to beats while I’m at practice because my job description doesn’t really require me to study or learn a lot of plays. It’s just so simple, so I have the time to be creative.

In addition to being an athlete and a musician, you also handmake one-of-a-kind unisex jewelry. What inspired you to start your own jewelry line? Which three words best describe your jewelry?

During Covid was when I really started tapping into that. I like this jewelry that I was making because I can choose my own colors, I can make them match whatever outfit I want them to match. They just look really cool. I’ve always thought the properties are pretty cool too. I’m not somebody that’s super deep into the properties of the beads, but it’s just cool to have and wear. And when people asked me to sell the stuff that I made, I just decided to go for it. Three words that I would describe it with are creative, unique and intimate.

How do you like spending your off-time?

I like to have a nice bottle of wine and listen to music. Sometimes I like people watching too. I also like to travel, going to nice resorts and just hanging out there. I also love video games like ‘Call of Duty: War Zone’, but I’m starting to lean more toward ‘Rocket League’. I’m super simple. 

What can you share with us about your upcoming musical projects and your biggest goals for your career, both on and off the football field?

My biggest goal is to be seen by more people as a legit musician. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I make a bunch of different styles of music, which is super cool because I feel that if you’re going to be an artist, you should be able to diversify your music and make different styles of music, to make your voice fit to different styles. You can’t make your voice fit to every style, but that was the idea. 

As for upcoming projects, I’m dropping a new song called ‘I Can Kick A Ball’ and also have an album coming out in the beginning of 2024.

Photographer ALEX D ROGERS